November 21, 2011 in sides
Other than the green beans, dressing is my favorite part of Thanksgiving. I’d tell you that you can also find me standing in front of the fridge chowing down on dressing for breakfast the next morning but that would be a lie. Because I eat the entire container of leftovers on Thanksgiving night. Just so I don’t have to share. ‘Tis true. Shameful, but true.
I made this dressing recipe because it calls for many of my favorite ingredients: cornbread, bacon, leeks, and pecans. With that combination of ingredients, how can it be anything but delicious? It’s also very simple to prepare – I would bake the cornbread the day before Thanksgiving (I used Jiffy mix, btw) and then all you have to do is saute the bacon & leeks and mix everything together on the big day.
Cornbread, Bacon, Leek, and Pecan Dressing
2 cups pecans
2 cornbreads (rounds, squares, or loaves, 8 inches each), coarsely broken into 2-inch pieces (16 cups)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for dish
8 slices smoked bacon, chopped into ½-inch pieces
4 leeks (white and pale-green parts only), chopped into ½-inch pieces, rinsed well
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2½ cups low-sodium chicken stock
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- Preheat oven to 350F. Spread pecans on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast in oven for 7 minutes. Let cool slightly; coarsely chop. Mix together pecans and cornbread in a large bowl.
- Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Cook bacon in a large high-sided skillet over medium-high heat until almost crisp, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; add leeks. Cook until leeks are tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Stir in thyme and 1¼ teaspoons salt; season with pepper. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Return skillet to medium-high heat, and add stock; bring to a simmer, scraping up brown bits and stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Add to bowl with bacon-leek mixture. Stir in eggs. Gently mix in cornbread mixture. (Do not overmix.) Transfer to baking dish. Dot top with butter. Bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes.
November 20, 2011 in sides
I have to tell you, I love the traditional green bean casserole. I especially love it the day after Thanksgiving, still cold from the fridge. Dare I say that it’s the thing I most look forward to at Thanksgiving. But I know not everyone thinks so highly of the casserole so I wanted to give another awesome option.
It includes bacon.
But not just pecans. Candied pecans.
Omg. The sweet pecans and the salty bacon? Done. Those two combined with a slightly tangy dressing make even super-healthy green beans ridiculously addictive.
And yes, I was spotted stealing bites directly from the fridge the day after these were made.
Green Beans with Bacon & Candied Pecans
For the candied pecans:
1 cup pecan pieces
1 egg white
1 teaspoon water
¼ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
For the beans
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic
1 pound fresh green beans (trimmed), or frozen
6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
salt and pepper
To make the pecans:
- Preheat oven to 250F. Spray a baking sheet with oil or line with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, whisk together egg white and water until frothy.
- In a separate small bowl, stir together sugar, salt, and cinnamon.
- Add the pecans to the egg white. Use a fork to transfer the pecans from the egg white to the sugar mixture, allowing the excess egg to drip off. Toss in the sugar mixture; place on baking sheet in a single layer.
- Bake for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
For the beans:
- If using frozen beans, boil according to package instructions. If using fresh beans, boil for 3 – 5 minutes or until crisp; transfer to a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain.
- Combine maple syrup, olive oil, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, and garlic in a blender or food processor.
- Toss the beans in the dressing and top them with the crumbled bacon and pecans. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
November 17, 2011 in sides
This Thanksgiving I fully intend on having brussel sprouts on the table. And everyone is going to enjoy them, I swear!
Last year I tried. Remember that shredded sprout deal that everyone in the blog world went nuts over last fall? Yeah, I made that. Even I had to admit it was horrible. And I love brussel sprouts! I was hugely disappointed and swore off sprouts for at least a week.
So here I go, trying again. This recipe could make even the strongest sprout hater a believer, I’m sure of it. It’s sweet, it’s spicy, it’s everything you could want in a vegetable!
This is also a very quick and easy way to prepare the brussel sprouts – and we all know how necessary that is on Thanksgiving. Just pop ‘em in the oven for awhile and once they’re done, you just have to whisk the maple syrup and cayenne. Seriously couldn’t be easier.
Maple-Cayenne Brussel Sprouts
2 pounds Brussels sprouts, halved lengthwise
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt to taste
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
⅛ – ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Toss brussel sprouts with olive oil and salt and spread on a rimmed baking sheet.
- Roast 15-20 minutes, stirring halfway. They should be tender and browned.
- While the sprouts are roasting, in a small bowl, combine maple syrup and cayenne pepper.
- Pour the maple syrup/cayenne mixture over the sprouts, stir to coat, return to oven for one more minute. Serve hot!
October 20, 2011 in sides
I am loving the risotto recipes right now! The last one I made really got me in a mood to try new flavors in risotto so I was pretty excited to find this carrot recipe.
Not gonna lie, I was kind of hesitant because carrots? In risotto? Exactly. But I have to say, they became so sweet when caramelized and somehow just worked perfectly with the Parmesan. Everyone in the family, including the kids (!!) loved this one and sadly for me, there were zero leftovers. I think I could’ve eaten this for a week straight without getting sick of it.
Forget everything you’ve heard about how “difficult” it is to make risotto – you absolutely must give this one a try! As long as you’re prepared to hover over the stove for about 30 minutes, you’ll be fine!
Caramelized Carrot Risotto
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
6 medium carrots, peeled and chopped as finely and evenly as possible (about 3 cups)
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
⅓ cup minced onion
1½ cups Arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
¼ cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese, plus ½ cup for garnish
1 teaspoon roughly chopped fresh thyme
⅛ teaspoon pepper
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat in a medium heavy-bottomed pot; add carrots and stir with a wooden spoon until well coated. Add ½ cup water, ½ teaspoon salt, and the sugar; cover and cook 5 minutes, or until tender. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, until water evaporates and carrots are just starting to brown, a few minutes more. Reserve half of the carrots. In a blender, purÃ©e other half with ¾ cup hot water.
- Bring chicken broth to a simmer and keep at a simmer, covered, over low heat.
- Heat remaining oil and butter over medium heat in same (unwashed) pot used for carrots. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add rice, stirring with a wooden spoon to coat rice with oil, 1 minute. Add wine and cook, stirring, until wine evaporates. Add carrot purÃ©e and cook, stirring, until mixture no longer looks soupy.
- Add ½ cup hot broth, stirring often, until rice absorbs most of the liquid. Repeat process, adding ½ cup broth at a time and stirring often till each addition is absorbed before adding the next, until rice is al dente (about 20 minutes).
- Fold in reserved carrots ¼ cup Parmesan, and the thyme. Add up to 1 cup broth (1/4 cup at a time) to loosen the risotto. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.
- Sprinkle each bowl of risotto with some of remaining ½ cup parmesan; serve immediately