I swear I didn’t pick these two side dishes because they would make the longest blog post title ever.
Yesterday I shared with you our appetizers for our mini-Thanksgiving so today I’m sharing the side dishes.
Growing up Pawpaw (my dad’s dad) was always in charge of the turkey. I will always remember fingers trying to steal pieces of turkey (dark meat!) off the plate as Pawpaw carved the turkey. Because Pawpaw was in charge of the turkey, the ladies were in charge of the side dishes. Mawmaw made the dressing. Always and forever. I’m not sure I’ll ever serve dressing if I have my own Thanksgiving meal because well, Mawmaw’s dressing is the family favorite. And I don’t to compete with Mawmaw. My Momma made a lot of the sides. Cranberry and orange salad. Blueberry Jello Salad. Sweet Potato Casserole. As I got older, I wanted to bring something to the table (literally and figuratively) and I soon began to make brussels sprouts every Thanksgiving. And they’re a side dish that I will most certainly always have on my Thanksgiving table.
The sprouts are simply roasted with salt and pepper and a little olive oil at 400 degrees for 35 minutes or so. During the cooking, I turned and stirred around the sprouts every 10 minutes. Once roasted and toasted, they were drizzled with a vinaigrette that is to die for. I’m not sure why I’ve waited this long to try caramelizing honey. Once the honey has been caramelized, orange juice and zest is mixed in. Allow the honey mixture to cool before you turn it into a vinaigrette. To make the vinaigrette – you add vinegar (DUH!) – we used the apple cider variety, salt, pepper and olive oil. So sweet and tangy. And the brussels become nutty when roasted. Flavor perfection.
Sure, I grew up eating the sweet potato casserole that was laced with brown sugar, pecans, butter and sometimes marshmallows. But to be honest, sweet potatoes don’t need all that “stuff.” I knew that Big Guy wanted mashed sweet potatoes on the menu and so that’s what I set out to prepare. I had my eye on a recipe in Garden and Gun but it was pretty much a gut-bomb with an entire stick of butter involved. Then I remembered a recipe in Cooking Light’s Holiday issue last year that involved bourbon and browned butter. The potatoes are peeled and diced and boiled until tender. The butter (much less than one stick) is then browned over medium-high heat for an over-the-top buttery taste that makes that one stick of butter unnecessary. The butter along with a swig of bourbon add tons of flavor while a bit of half-and-half (I used 1/4 cup) adds richness but not heaviness. The potatoes are mashed to your desired consistency. Big Guy asked if I’d make these again. And that means they were incredible.
What are your favorite Thanksgiving side dishes?