Turkey is always given top billing for Thanksgiving, but the real star for me are the sides. Sides are my absolute favorite part of Thanksgiving. There are certain dishes that are staples – the classics of my childhood, but I always try to work in a new one or two. I’ve also, taken to adding a salad of sorts – something bright and fresh to round out the meal. All of the recipes serve 8 and can be doubled accordingly.

 

Broccoli Rabe Gratin

 

3 bunches Broccoli Rabe Rinsed , ends trimmed & cut in 1/2

1 medium yellow onion thinly sliced

2 cups shredded Gruyere shredded

1 small log goat cheese soft

2 tablespoons cream

1/2 cup Panko Bread Crumbs

salt

pepper

olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Pre-heat Oven to 375

In a large saute pan add broccoli Rabe and 1/2 inch water sprinkle with salt , cover and cook over medium high heat for 5 minutes. Remove and add to a medium baking dish.

While Broccoli Rabe is cooking add onions, cheeses , cream & 1 teaspoon each of salt and black pepper. Toss well. Grease medium baking dish with 1/2 of the butter. When Broccoli Rabe is done – drain well and put in baking dish. Add the Onion mixture and toss again. Top with Panko Bread Crumbs, remaining butter broken into small pieces and place in over for 35 minutes until golden brown on top.

 

Make Ahead Cornbread Sausage Stuffing

 

8 cups cornbread broken into bite size pieces

1 cup turkey or chicken stock

2 medium yellow onions diced

5 stalks of celery diced including leafs on top

1/4 cup white wine

2 cups chopped mushrooms of choice

6 links sweet sausage of choice removed from casing

2 eggs beaten

2 teaspoons ground sage

2 teaspoons ground thyme

salt

pepper

1/2 stick unsalted butter soft

 

A couple of hours before you make your stuffing break your corn bread up into bite size pieces and leave out on a cookie tray on the counter. This helps to take some of the moisture out of the bread .

Pre-heat oven to 375.

In a large saute pan over medium high heat add a tablespoon of olive oil and add the sausage which has been removed from the casing and using a wooded spoon break up the pieces. Cook through and add to a large mixing bowl. To the pan add your onions, celery and mushrooms. Saute for a couple of minutes -adding a couple of teaspoons of olive oil if needed. Season with a teaspoon of salt. Add the white wine and scrape up all of the bits. Let cook for another 30 seconds and add to the sausage. Let cool to room temperature . Add the corn bread, stock ,beaten eggs, sage, thyme, 1 tablespoon of salt and black pepper. Mix well. Pour into a well greased baking dish – I suggest you use a deeper dish . Cover with tinfoil and cook for 45 mounts. Remove and let cool. Refrigerate for up to two days.

To reheat  on the big day – reserve some of the drippings from the Turkey and drizzle on top. Dollop with butter and cook for 35 minutes uncovered or until heated through and golden brown on top. Serve in the baking dish or replace making sure to keep the crispy brown top on top.

 

Creamed Onions

I adore this dish. It has been on every Thanksgiving table for my whole life. There is just something so wonderfully elegant and decadent about the cream and onions together. Heaven in a dish. This can also, be made a couple of days ahead as well.

 

2 bags frozen pearl onions

2 cups whole milk

1/2 cup cream

1 small white onion peeled and whole

10 whole cloves

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons all purpose flour

salt

white pepper

 

Leave onions on a plate on the counter for an hour before you begin cooking. Stud your onion with the whole cloves and set aside. In a large sauce pan over medium low heat melt butter and add flour. Whisk well for a minute. Add milk and cream while whisking. Add the onion with cloves and stir until begins to thicken about 1 minute. Add pearl onions. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon white pepper. Taste for season and adjust. You can either serve right away or let cool refrigerate and re-heat. Remove onion and any loose cloves before serving.

 

Greens Beans with Mushrooms

Easy simple and yummy.

1 lb green beans trimmed

1 package of button mushrooms or mushroom of choice sliced

1 tablespoon butter

salt and pepper

In a medium saute pan add beans, mushrooms, sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon salt and put butter on top. Add a  tablespoon of water cover. Turn heat to medium high and cook for 7 minutes. If there is any liquid left let cook off with top off and serve immediately .

Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows

I don’t care what anyone says. It is not Thanksgiving without this dish on the table. Again a great make ahead situation that can be finished right before serving.

6 sweet potatoes

1 stick butter soft

nutmeg

salt

pepper

1 bag mini marshmallows

Put sweet potatoes on a cook sheet and roast at 450 for about 40 minutes or until cooked through (they are soft when you squeeze them. When the are cool enough to handle remove from skins. In a medium mixing bowl mash . Add butter, several grates of fresh nutmeg, a teaspoon of salt and several turns of black pepper. Put into a baking dish and cover the top with the marshmallows. Put under a broiler and cook until the marshmallows are golden brown – be careful not to burn them.

If you are making ahead do everything except adding marshmallows to dish. Heat sweet potato mash add to the baking dish and follow instructions for marshmallows.

Acorn Squash Pear and Escarole Salad

2 acorn squashes cleaned and cut into 1 inch slices

2 firm pears cut in cored and cut into slices sprinkled with lemon juice stop browning

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 head escarole cleaned and roughly shredded

olive oil

salt

pepper

white balsamic

1/2 cup blue cheese crumbled

honey

soy sauce

dijon mustard

 

Pre- heat oven to 450. In a medium bowl toss squash slices with a tablespoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt & black pepper. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and cook for 30 minutes or until fork tender. Set aside.

In a small mixing bowl add 1/4 extra virgin olive oil, 1/8 cup white balsamic, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon honey, 1 tablespoon dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Mix well. On a platter put the escarole and toss well with 2/3rds of the dressing. Place squash and pears on top. Sprinkle evenly with cranberries and blue cheese. Cover evenly with remaining dressing and serve.

The squash can be made ahead and brought to room temp before. Escarole is a hearty green so salad can be be made and hour ahead and covered. Add the additional dressing right before serving.

 

Cranberry Orange Relish

Make this ahead. As I write this its sitting in my fridge all ready for next week.

2 bags of fresh cranberries rinsed

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 cinnamon sticks

zest of one orange – use your veggie peeler for white strips

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup water

In a heavy medium sauce pan add all of the ingredients, cover and turn heat to medium low. Let cook for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally. Store in an air tight container.