There seems to be an endless supply of Thanksgiving side dish possibilities. There are so many great Fall vegetables that you can use in so many different ways that the combinations you can come up with can help you to tailor your meal to fit whatever likes you may have or whoever may be coming over for dinner on that day. In my trail run dinner that I made for Michelle’s birthday, I made a lot of side dishes this year so I could try different things. One of her absolute favorites is one that often gets overlooked on the dinner table – creamed pearl onions. I actually got this very simple recipe from chef Thomas Keller and with just a few ingredients, you can have this dish made easily.
Creamed Pearl Onions
2 cups peeled pearl onions
2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon minced chives
Combine the pearl onions, chicken stock, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Simmer the mixture until all the liquid has evaporated and the onions are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add the heavy cream and cook until the cream has thickened. Stir in the chives and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste before serving.
It is very easy to make and you can do this while your turkey is resting so you can get it ready easily or you can even make it the day before and just lightly simmer it on the stove to heat it through. You get a nice, thick creamy sauce with the great flavor of the pearl onions. If you can get frozen pearl onions, you can save yourself the aggravation of having to peel the onions yourself. I couldn’t find any frozen onions, so I did buy the fresh ones, but there is an easy way to peel them. Simply place the onions in two cups of boiling water for 2 or three minutes. Remove the onions to an ice water bath or cold water bath to cool them off when you strain them off the stove. Once they are cool enough to the touch, simply cut off the root end of the onion and give the onion a gentle squeeze and it will pop right out of the skin. It still takes some time to do all of them, but it is a lot easier than trying to peel the paper off of all those tiny onions.
I also made a simple Brussels sprouts recipe. Even though sprouts may get a bad rap, we love them in our house and they make a great Fall or holiday side dish. And nothing seems to be better than some roasted Brussels sprouts with a little bit of bacon to add some flavor. This quick recipe is from chef Marcus Samuelsson.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Maple Bacon
1 pound Brussels sprouts, bottom trimmed and cut in half lengthwise
1 ounce maple syrup
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 ounce olive oil
4 ounces bacon, cut into quarters in strips
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the Brussels sprouts in the olive oil, salt, peppers and smoked paprika.Place the Brussels sprouts on a baking sheet and roast until they are browned and cooked through, about 15 minutes.
In a medium skillet over medium heat, fry the bacon until it is crispy, about 5 minutes. Drain the bacon of the fat and toss it with the maple syrup and the roasted Brussels sprouts. Finish the dish with a pat of butter over the top or just serve immediately.
Again, you can roast the Brussels sprouts a day ahead of time, like I did, and while the turkey rests before carving simply place them in the oven to warm them through with any other side dishes you are also warming to save yourself some time. The maple flavor along with the smokiness of the bacon and the paprika make this a fantastic side dish. If you want to try to keep it lighter and vegetarian, you can simply omit the bacon and roast the Brussels sprouts alone on a baking sheet or even in a cast iron pan and make them that way.
Unfortunately, I had so many side dishes when I made everything that there were a few things I forgot to take pictures of in all the rush to get things on the table. Sorry about that, but the pearl onions and Brussels sprouts got away from me. I do have pictures of the next 2 sides I will be posting tomorrow though.
That’s all I have for today. Keep checking back for some more holiday recipes and ideas. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!