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What were the best new Thanksgiving recipes you tried this year?

Some were posted in the "lessons learned" thread, but I'd love to get a running list of the new dishes you made that will make it onto your regular Thanksgiving rotation.

Mine were:

- BLT tomatoes appetizer: hollowed out cherry tomatoes stuffed with a combination of chopped bacon, iceberg lettuce, scallions and mayo to bind. They were delicious, bite size and had no starch so they didn't fill people up.

- chipotle sweet potatoes: this is the recipe that is so loved on this board. I thought I had mucked it up, but it was devoured and praised, so some version of it will stay on my future menus.

- lemon/sumac/cumin roasted cauliflower: the sumac and lemon really brought a bright, interesting flavour profile to the Thanksgiving plate. Lots of people loved this and asked for the recipe.

- roasted Brussels sprouts with caramelized onions and balsamic: this isn't really "new", but rather a practical reimagining of the brussels sprouts hash dish I usually make. The hash dish is delicious but requires a lot of last-minute work on the stove. I decided to just toss roasted brussels sprouts with a whackload of caramelized onions instead and some aged balsamic. It was so much easier and had a similar flavor profile as the hash did.

- chopped kale salad with pomegranate seeds, pine nuts and fried shallots: I always like to have something fresh and green on the table to help balance the richness of everything else. After looking at endless kale salad recipes, I used a mashup of ideas: I chopped the de-ribbed kale in a food processor, which led to a great texture a bit like a coarse tabouleh and made a super simple vinaigrette of white balsamic, grapeseed oil, salt and pepper. Tossed a bit of verjus in after tasting the whole thing. I think I'd add some fresh lemon juice for a tad more acidity next time. The bright red pomegranate seeds and white pine nuts really stood out against the green kale and made for a very festive-looking bowl. The fried shallots added a great savoury and textural contrast. The whole thing was wonderful and totally devoured.

- black rice and red lentil stuffing: I made this for the gluten free and vegan guests and many of my carnivorous guests requested it for the "main table" next year. The combination of the black rice, brown rice, red lentils, dried cherries, almonds and parsley (plus the usual aromatics of onion, sage and celery) made for a beautiful-looking dish and the texture and flavor were really great.

What did you make for the first time that was a big success?

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  1. I made Mollie Katzen's citrusy beet salad that was printed in NY Magazine. It was excellent. The only thing I added was a garnish. I didn't like the recipe's suggested ones so I chopped some pistachios and sprinkled those on top. Everyone - even my mom the pickiest eater ever - enjoyed it. (Reprinted on grub street.com on 11/10/13.)

    1. I made a cranberry-jalapeno sauce from the NYT that was a big hit. Even those who weren't normally cranberry sauce fans liked it.

      On the dessert front, I made a chocolate cream pie--which is not a revolutionary pie, but it's not something I've made for Thanksgiving before. I could have made two of them and still not have had any leftovers, I think.

      1. Jo, did you already post the stuffing recipe here? I made a gluten free cornbread dressing for my SIL that was just...meh. In fact, it was the only leftover I tossed. In need of a better option for next year.

        My sleeper hit was that dang sweet potato/marshmallow casserole. I made a small amount, lots of butter, a bit of brown sugar, smoked paprika, S&P. Delicious! I burned the first round of marshmallow topping then scraped it off and redid it. All gobbled up.

        2 Replies
        1. re: tcamp

          Here you go, tcamp:


          My tweaks:

          I couldn't find red rice, so just used black japonica rice and Lundberg's Wehani brown rice. I cooked the rice in a veg broth for more flavor. If my guests weren't vegetarian, I would have used chicken or turkey stock.

          I doubled the onions and celery and added a cup of chopped parsley.

          I used dried cherries instead of cranberries. Also used a bit more cherries and almonds than called for.

          It's a really nice dish that I will probably make throughout the year as a great rice salad right out of the fridge. Here's a pic (the stuffing/dressing is on the left).

          1. re: TorontoJo

            Thanks, saved in recipe file for next year!

        2. We made the chipotle sweet potatoes, too, and that recipe is a keeper. It's a rare occasion that I eat anything that high carb but even a small serving was very satisfying since they were so flavorful and I do love sweet potatoes (but I don't like them sweetened at all so this recipe was perfect!)

          I'll be picking kale this afternoon and we have a couple of pomegranates (they grow like mad around here so people give them away like they do citrus.) I'll have to look into that salad, it sounds great, TorontoJo.

          1. Make ahead mashed potatoes...they changed my life. I made them on Wednesday and baked for an hour on Thursday and they were perfect.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Janet from Richmond

              I also did make ahead mashed potatoes but not the exact recipe as Janet. The mashed potato lovers in my house raved over them.

            2. the ''free fallin' free form pate

              1 Reply
              1. LOL ~~ 7-Up Biscuits. who knew? 4 cups Bisquick, 1 cup sour cream, 1 cup 7-Up. The kids gobbled them up. I haven't made biscuits in 30 years, and always say I'm not a baker, but these were a major hit.

                1 Reply
                1. re: laliz

                  Haha! I AM a baker and I made these this year almost as a joke because my spouse was always bitchin' about all the "technical" stuff I make...."just make something easy.....like bisquick biscuits". I was really wowed by the texture! Loved them.

                2. I *love* the sound of the BLT tomatoes! But... were they a massive PITA to stuff? I'm The Least Patient Person on the planet, so I could just see myself hurling those little suckers across the kitchen at some point :-)

                  Did you use a teaspoon or just lots of xanax? j/k

                  The cauli sounds good, too -- I usually just roast tossed with olive oil & sea salt, sometimes smoked paprika, but once plated, it *always* gets a good squeeze of lemon juice all over it. Don't know what it is about roasted cauli & lemon, but they're a match made in heaven. In fact, I can't NOT have lemon on my cauli. Must try some sumac next time I roast.

                  And finally, as for best new dish -- this really was more of a screw-up when my man tried to make a no-bake peanut butter pie with chocolate whipped cream.

                  He confused two steps and ended up with a bowl full of ganache. We made truffles out of it which were a HUGE hit.

                  Now that we know how easy truffles are made, they will definitely become one of our go-to dinner party desserts!

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: linguafood

                    Oh yes, the tomatoes were a giant PITA. As I was coring the tomatoes the day before, I was thinking "WTF am I doing?" And then filling them the day of was fussy and annoying. But then I ate one and it was kind of all worth it. So simple and delicious. And super cute.

                    And hooray for accidental truffles. I love those kinds of accidents!

                    1. re: TorontoJo

                      Dayang. I was hoping you'd tell me it was the fastest thing you ever made '-D

                      Maybe I'll just hope for someone else to make these some day...

                      They look GREAT!!!!

                      1. re: TorontoJo

                        I've taken to making the filling in the food processor (pulsing, not gettin' crazy,) and filling them with a rather large tube tip and frosting bag (its still chunky, just small chunks.) I sprinkle chopped parsley and bacon crumbles over the top so it still looks nice but filling them is a breeze this way.

                        They're one of the first things to disappear at gatherings.

                          1. re: linguafood

                            I'm not as patient as TorontoJo, either. :)

                      2. re: linguafood

                        For like the past 4 or 5 years I have put these on my menu for the July 4th party that I host and every year I chicken out at the last minute because I figure they are too much work! They look great, though...maybe next year...

                        1. re: valerie

                          That's the perfect time for them, tomatoes are at their best!

                      3. Cranberry orange relish - super simple, but I've never made nor even tried cranberry sauce before. I loved the relish although I preferred it on it's own rather than on my turkey.

                        1. A friend introduced this Butternut Squash Gratin (with goat cheese and Hazelnuts) to the table and it is incredible. Seriously. Gorgeous, tastes amazing and seems very gourmet though it is simple. It is divine:


                          1. Spiced Apple Cider Sangria. Red wine based and soooooo yum! http://www.mylifeasamrs.com/2011/11/s...

                            1. I don't think Thanksgiving is a good time to go all avant garde. Most people I know want traditional foods. (Hurrah for you if your family or circle of friends want different.)

                              But I did dry brine a turkey for the first time, and the results were very good. And I also made turkey broth with purchased turkey wings in the slow cooker, and the result was wonderful.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: sueatmo

                                I like to try one or two new things each year of at least a new technique for old favorites like your dry brining of the turkey.

                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                  Me too. I never stray too far from the basics. Just twists on the recipes, like the sumac on the roasted cauliflower.

                              2. Fall vegetable hash, from Southern Living:

                                So simple, but really good. And, pretty! It was the only thing with no left-overs. We thought the bacon/bacon grease was unneeded. Next time, I'll probably just use olive oil. And, the vinegar I used was too mild. I think I'd prefer old-fashioned cider vinegar. It took quite a bit longer to cook than the recipe states, perhaps because my sprouts were on the larger side (all I could get).

                                1 Reply
                                1. There were just two of us this year so we decided to get the parts we like, wings, thighs, and legs. I was going to roast the wings and braise the dark meat, but I didn't feel up to 2 preps so I browned all the parts very well in butter and oo then roasted them at 225 for 3 hours, covered. I scattered a lot of whole cloves of garlic in the pan.
                                  It was amazing, succulent, moist, flavorful.

                                  1. My brother made roasted jalepeno and garlic mashed potatoes. I think butter and other things went in as well....
                                    They were AWESOME.

                                    1. I made Sunset's Sourdough Artichoke Parmesan Stuffing for the first time. It was different and tasty, and I received requests for the recipe. I used the original version mentioned in this link: http://tsgcookin.com/2010/11/artichok...

                                      1. Tried out my girlfriend's recipe adapted from the classic Peking Duck recipe, using, among other things, maple syrup and a hair-blow-dryer, lol. Totally delivered.