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Dec 2, 2013 04:29 AM

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 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.