Friday, November 23, 2012

Let's talk Thanksgiving side dishes

Frankly, the Thanksgiving side dishes are almost as important as the turkey. If the mashed potatoes don't live up then I'm gonna throw a temper tantrum. Just watch me.

I have several favorite vegetable side dishes and none of them are the traditional green bean casserole, which I cannot get into. I mean, I like the crispy onion topping, but that's where it ends. Until now. I found a recipe that has cured me of my green bean casserole indifference. This stuff is good. Like seriously good. Like I'm licking the casserole dish behind everyone's back when they're not looking good.

I think it's because there's no can of  cream of whatever-the-heck-is-in-there soup. The stuff fa-reaks me out, like whoa. The way it looks when it comes out of the can, all grey and gelatinous. Ugh. It's just like the canned cranberry sauce. The ridges on the cranberry sauce, what is that?!? I'm sorry, but cranberry sauce should not ever have canned ridges on it. Ever. And green bean casserole should never be made with canned soup. Ever. I'm starting a revolution here people. Get on board!

I know, you're like but, Clarissa, what will take the place of it? That sounds like it's going to be complicated and time consuming and complicated. It's not. Pinky promise.

Wanna know what my absolute favorite Thankgiving vegetable recipe is???? You're dying to know, I can feel it! Carrots. Their sweetness. Their texture-y bite. Their orange-ness. They are perfect and nearly impossible to mess up. This recipe, Whiskey Glazed Carrots, another from the Pioneer Woman, is an awesome Thanksgiving recipe, because it comes together in minutes and needs little attention. Plus, it doesn't go in the oven, which, if you're like me, is a precious commodity.

Not to mention, any recipe that involves booze, particulary whiskey, which I am very found of, is awesome in my book. I have managed to over the years, incorporate quite a bit of booze in my Thanskgiving feast. Again, any holiday that requires you to purchase a 1/5 of Jack Daniels for your cooking alone has to be the greastest holiday that ever was! Think about it!!!

Whiskey Glazed Carrots
Serves 12

3lbs Carrots
2/3c Brown sugar
1/3c Whiskey
1/2tsp Salt
1 stick Butter

1. Slice the carrots into little disks.
2. In a large saucepan melt the butter. Add the carrots and pinch of salt. Cook for 3-5 minutes. The carrots need a head start before you can start pouring the whiskey in.
3. Add the brown sugar and whiskey. Cover and cook until carrots are tender. Serve immediately.

Bacon and Shallot Green Beans
Serves 10

2lbs Green beans
10 slices of Bacon
4 Shallots

1. In a large saucepan cook the bacon that has been cut into small pieces on medium. Render the fat off and cook until the bacon is crispy. Remove from the pan onto a paper towel to drain.
2. Slice the shallots into thin slices and add to the bacon grease. Cook on low until shallots are caramalized.
3. While the shallots caramlize blanche the green beans in a large pot of boiling water for 1-2 minutes. Immediately place in a large pot of ice water to stop the cooking.
4. Once the shallots are caramlized add the green beans and bacon. Serve immediately.

Green Bean Casserole - My way
Serves 8

2lbs Green beans
1 Onion, medium
1c Chicken stock
1c Milk
3tbsp Flour
2 Garlic cloves
1/4tsp Nutmeg
1/2tsp Salt
1tsp Thyme
1 tsp Oregano
Crispy onion strings

1. Blanche green beans in a large pot of boiling water for 1-2 mintues. Immediately place in a large pot of ice water to stop the cooking.
2. In a large sauce plan cook the thinly sliced onions with 2 tbsp butter on low until the onions are caramlized. Add the garlic once the onions are caramlized.
3. Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and milk. Stir well. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the mixture has come to a boil and has thicken slightly. The sauce will finish thickening while in the oven.
4. Add the green beans and pour into a medium sized oven-proof dish. Top with as much crispy onion strings as you like.
5. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes. Serve immediately.


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