Thanksgiving Side Dishes

By DiAnne Crown

August 6, 2010 7 min read

"In my family, Thanksgiving dinner is just about the only meal written in stone," says Julianne Glatz, food columnist, cooking instructor and slow food advocate. Consisting primarily of foods the family raised themselves on their farm, the menu first began at her maternal grandmother's table in the early 1950s, and the only changes have been items added by Julie's husband, Peter. "Thanksgiving wasn't a time for experimenting with another kind of stuffing or flirting with a different dessert. That might sound boring, but it never felt that way. It always felt special." Through the years, with never a thought to eating out in a restaurant -- no matter where circumstances took the family -- Thanksgiving dinner has been prepared by the same hands, served to the same people and eaten off the same Haviland china, even if the meal had to be moved across the country. Here is a sampling of the family's favorites -- traditions that have nourished the love and good will of a small, close family and easily could become part of your family's Thanksgiving menu for years to come. Enjoy! NANA'S GERMAN SPINACH Servings: 6-8 1 1/2 pounds fresh spinach 3 slices high-quality bacon, diced 2-3 slices homemade type white bread 4-6 small green onions, green and white parts thinly sliced 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour Kosher salt or sea salt, freshly ground pepper and freshly ground nutmeg, to taste Remove any large and/or tough stems from the spinach. (If you are using baby spinach, which does not have large stems, you may want to decrease the weight to about a pound.) Wash the spinach well to remove any grit and dirt, but do NOT drain. Cook the spinach in a large pot just until wilted. Do not overcook. Remove from the heat, and transfer to a large bowl to cool. DO NOT DRAIN! When the spinach has cooled, squeeze by handfuls, reserving the liquid. Measure the liquid, and add enough water, if necessary, to measure 1 cup. Place the squeezed spinach on a chopping board. Top with the bread and onions. With a large knife, chop the spinach, bread and onions. Some prefer the mixture more finely chopped and some with more texture. Meanwhile, saute the bacon in a large pan until crisp. Remove from the pan, and reserve. Add the flour, and cook for a couple of minutes. Whisk in the reserved spinach liquid. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until thickened. Add the chopped spinach/bread/scallion mixture, and cook for a couple of minutes to heat through. Season to taste with the salt, pepper and nutmeg. CRANBERRY SORBET Makes about 2 quarts 4 cups fresh cranberries, washed and picked over 1/2 cup sugar PLUS 2 cups sugar, divided 3/4 cup lemon juice NOT from concentrate 1/3 cup orange juice Combine the cranberries, 1/2 cup of sugar and 2 cups of water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, and then reduce to a simmer and cook until the cranberries are completely softened and the skins have popped, 7-10 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. In another saucepan, combine the 2 cups of sugar and 3 cups of water over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil, and let simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat, and let cool at least to room temperature. Pur?e the cranberry mixture through a fine mesh sieve or food mill, and combine with the sugar syrup. Mix in the lemon and orange juices. Refrigerate until completely chilled. Freeze in an ice cream freezer according to manufacturer's instructions. Or alternatively, place mixture in a shallow pan (such as a 9-by-13-inch cake pan), and put in the freezer. Stir every 15 minutes until the desired texture is achieved. Freezing in a pan will result in a coarser texture, which more resembles a granita than it does a conventional sorbet; however, many prefer it to the finer texture obtained in an ice cream maker. CORN PUDDING Servings: 6-8 4 cups fresh corn kernels, any liquid reserved 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 2/3 cup heavy cream NOT ultra-pasteurized 2 teaspoons kosher salt or sea salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper, or to taste 1 1/3 cups whole milk 4 large eggs, beaten lightly 1 tablespoon cornstarch Preheat the oven to 350 F. Set a pan of water on to simmer for the hot water bath for the pudding. In a large skillet (preferably nonstick), melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the corn kernels and liquid, and saute, stirring frequently, until the liquid has almost completely evaporated and the corn is bright yellow (assuming it is yellow corn). Add the cream, salt and pepper, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened and a spoon leaves a trail on the bottom of the skillet, 5-7 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Whisk together the milk, eggs and cornstarch. Add to the corn mixture, and transfer to a buttered 9-inch square baking dish. Place in a larger baking dish, and fill the larger dish with simmering water to come halfway to 2/3 of the way up the sides of the baking dish holding the corn mixture. Bake until a knife inserted into the center of the corn mixture comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. Remove from the hot water bath, and serve. ROASTED ROOT VEGETABLES WITH ROSEMARY Plan on 1 to 1 1/2 cups per serving. Assorted root vegetables Onions (pearl onions work especially well) Beets Whole garlic cloves Small redskin potatoes Parsnips Carrots Rutabagas Turnips Sweet potatoes (or substitute butternut squash) Celery root Olive oil Chopped fresh rosemary Kosher salt or sea salt Freshly ground pepper Preheat oven to 375 F. Cut vegetables into pieces of about the same size. The pieces can be 1 1/2 inches or smaller, depending on your preference. Use whatever combination of vegetables you like best. The beets, sweet potatoes or squash, and carrots make the mixture colorful and attractive. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Put the vegetables in a single layer on the baking sheet. Toss with just barely enough oil to coat. Sprinkle with the chopped rosemary, salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes to 1 hour, or until the vegetables are tender and lightly caramelized. Stir the vegetables several times during baking. The roasting time will depend on the size of the vegetable chunks. Use leftovers to make a brunch dish of vegetarian hash topped with poached eggs.COPYRIGHT 2010 CREATORS.COM

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