Today’s Recipes: Roasted Ginger Maple Carrots, Cauliflower Gratin with Manchego and Almond Sauce, Vidalia Onion Pie, New Green Bean Casserole, and Original Green Bean Casserole.
When it comes to Thanksgiving, I think the vegetables get a bad rap. Everyone heads straight for the turkey, potatoes, and dressing. The poor carrots and beans are a distant thought. But with a few additions and touches, they can be stand outs on your buffet.
Roasting vegetables brings out their full flavors, and with a few exceptions, all can cook at about the same rate. I look for dishes I can wholly or partially cook ahead so that they only need a little time in the oven or on the stove to finish. And depending on the size of your oven, you can probably cook/heat four dishes at once. I am very fortunate to have a second small oven that really comes in handy during large meal preparation, but for most of my life I only had one regular size oven. I got very good at juggling my menu to fit my oven’s capacity.
Ultimately you want all the food to be done at the same time. That is probably the hardest part of planning. Remember that once the turkey is done it needs to rest for about 30 minutes so the juices have time to be reabsorbed by the meat. This gives you an opportunity to get everything else in the oven. And don’t forget that utilizing your slow cooker or chafing dishes can also be a life saver.
If you have perfect vegetables, you can simply steam them and enjoy their amazing flavors. But if you are going for old-fashioned tradition, the original Green Bean Casserole is for you! Yes, I admit it, I still love it. In addition to the original recipe, I am including an updated, slightly more “adult” version that you can try if you like. Healthier for you, it might be a fun change of pace.
Because so much of the typical dinner is monochromatic, I always want to have some bright color on the plates. Carrots are naturally sweet and when you pair them with a little maple syrup and ginger, they become downright delectable. Roasting them gives you time to work on other dishes while they cook in the oven. I could eat these every day. I also add some fresh dill, but you can leave it out or substitute another herb if you prefer.
One of my favorite vegetables is cauliflower and here is a recipe you are going to love. Cooked in a white sauce flavored with almonds and a sharp sheep’s cheese that cuts some of the richness, even people who thought they didn’t like cauliflower will be converted! You can prepare this gratin the day before and bake while the turkey is resting. Feel free to substitute another cheese if your family prefers a less assertive flavor.
And finally, in place of the common creamed onions, I’m including a recipe for a totally decadent Vidalia Onion Pie. If you love onions, this is totally worth the calories! So much easier than wrestling with pearl onions, it is a little like a quiche baked in a crust made with Ritz crackers. Buttery and creamy, you will push people out of the way to get to this savory pie!
I know, these recipes are all on the extravagant side, but what the heck, Thanksgiving only comes around once a year so indulge!
- 2 lb baby carrotswith the tops still on (look for fresh greens)
- 1 shallot, peeled and thickly sliced
- 1-1/2 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp table salt
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp pure Grade-A maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp freshly minced dill or 1/2 tsp dried dill weed
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 475°F. Remove tops from carrots and cut larger ones in half lengthwise.
- Place carrots, shallots, oil, and salt in a baking dish. Toss to thoroughly coat and spread into single layer. Roast 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and stir in the maple syrup, ginger, and dill. Whisk until smooth. Drizzle mixture over carrots, stirring to coat thoroughly. Continue roasting about 8 to 12 minutes longer, stirring occasionally, until carrots are browned and tender.
- Garnish with fresh dill and serve hot.
- 3/4 cup half-and-half
- 1/2 cup whole roasted almonds with skin, plus 2 tbsp, coarsely chopped
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp finely shredded Manchego or other mildly nutty
- semi-aged sheep's- or cow's-milk cheese (3-1/2 oz), such as Gouda
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 (2 lb) head of cauliflower, cut into 1-1/2-inch florets
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- In a small saucepan, heat the half-and-half until steaming, then transfer it to a food processor or blender. Add the 1/2 cup of whole almonds and process until finely ground. Let stand for 10 minutes. Strain the half-and-half through a fine sieve set over a bowl, pressing on the almonds to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the ground almonds.
- In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tbsp of the butter. Add the flour and whisk over moderately high heat for 1 minute. Add the milk and the half-and-half and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add 3/4 cup of the Manchego and whisk until melted. Whisk in the nutmeg; season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
- In a large skillet, bring 1/2 inch of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower, cover and cook over high heat until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain the cauliflower in a colander. Wipe out the skillet.
- Melt the remaining 2 tbsp of butter in the skillet. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower and cook, stirring until lightly golden, about 2 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Transfer the cauliflower to a 7-by-10-inch glass or ceramic baking dish and spread the Manchego sauce on top.
- Sprinkle the gratin with the remaining cheese, the 2 tbsp of chopped almonds and the paprika and bake in the center of the oven for 20 minutes, or until bubbling and browned on top. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
- Make Ahead: The gratin can be assembled and refrigerated overnight. Bring it to room temperature before baking.
- 1 cup Ritz cracker crumbs
- 1/2 stick butter, melted
- 2 cups Vidalia Onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup milk
- 3/4 tsp salt
- Dash of freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
- Chopped fresh Italian parsley or fresh thyme leaves
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Mix Ritz cracker crumbs and melted butter.Press into the bottom and sides of an 8-inch pie plate.
- Saute onions in the butter until translucent, but do not let them brown.
- Remove from the heat and let cool.
- Beat the eggs with milk, salt, and pepper until smooth. Stir in onions and gently pour into crust. Sprinkle the top with cheese and paprika.Bake for 30 minutes or until firm in the center. Sprinkle with parsley before serving. Serve hot or warm.
- Yield: 1 (8-inch) pie; 6 to 8 servings
- 3 large shallots, peeled and sliced thinly (about 1 cup)
- 1/4 tsp salt and pinch freshly ground pepper
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 10 oz cremini mushroom caps, wiped clean and sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion, minced (about 1 cup)
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced, or pressed through garlic press
- 1 tsp all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 lb green beans, stem ends trimmed, broken into bite-sized pieces
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- Line a baking sheet with 3 layers of paper towels; set aside. Toss shallots with salt, pepper, and 2 tbsp flour in small bowl; set aside.
- Heat 3 tbsp of the oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until smoking; add shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer shallots to prepared baking sheet
- Wipe out skillet and return to medium-high heat. Add remaining 2 tbsp oil, mushrooms, and 1/4 tsp salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- Wipe out skillet. Heat butter in skillet over medium heat; when foaming subsides, add onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until edges begin to brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and flour; toss in green beans, thyme, and bay leaves. Add cream and chicken broth, increase heat to medium-high, cover, and cook until beans are partly tender but still crisp at center, about 3 minutes.
- Add mushrooms and continue to cook, uncovered, until green beans are tender and sauce has thickened slightly, about 4 minutes. Off heat, remove and discard bay and thyme; adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Transfer to warmed serving dish and sprinkle evenly with fried shallots.
- 1 can (10-3/4 oz) Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- Dash ground black pepper
- 4 cups green beans, stemmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1-1/3 cups French's® French Fried Onions, divided
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 1-1/2 quart casserole; set aside.
- In a large bowl, stir the soup, milk, soy sauce, and pepper together. Stir in the beans and 2/3 cup of the onions and pour into prepared casserole.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until the bean mixture is hot and bubbling and the beans are crisp-tender.Stir and sprinkle the top with the remaining onions. Bake for 5 minutes longer or until the onions are golden brown. Serve hot.
- Make Ahead: You can assemble and bake the casserole earlier in the day. When ready, reheat in 350°F oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, then top with the reserved onions and bake another 5 minutes.