Friday Recipe Exchange: Thanksgiving Non-Traditional Side Dishes

JeffreyW's Roasted Brussels Sprout and Potato Gratin

JeffreyW’s Roasted Brussels Sprout and Potato Gratin

This is the time of year when we get a lot of blog visits from people looking for side dishes. And I have a lot of recipes for the traditional holiday sides, desserts and instructions on the various ways to cook your turkey. JeffreyW has a ton of mouthwatering photos. All of that can be found at at this link.

I thought it would be nice though, to focus on some non-traditional sides for tonight’s recipe exchange. In case you were looking for something different to showcase this year.

Soups make a nice starter at for any meal and tonight’s featured recipe is a savory winter soup. I also have a nice Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup, (click here)

JefferyW favors brussels sprouts and came up with this wonderful recipe, Brussels Sprouts Au Gratin pictured above. (click here)

Roasted Brussels sprouts are pretty easy, and leave it to Emeril Lagasse to “kick it up a notch” with his Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Grilled Onions. (click here)

I’m not big on the whole candied sweet potatoes, so I went looking for alternatives and found three I like,  African Sweet Potato Salad, Cajun Sweet Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes and Apples, click here for all the recipes. You can also just roast them in the oven, and I found two really good recipes here (honey roasted) and here (thyme roasted).

What are your Thanksgiving plans? Are you doing the cooking or does someone else have the honors? And most importantly, what are your favorite Thanksgiving recipes?

The Thanksgiving featured recipe is one that works great as an appetizer:

Need to keep everyone out of the kitchen while you finish up dinner prep?  Set up a buffet table with a raw vegetable tray and dip, a bowl of nuts (in their shells) along with a couple of nutcrackers and this soup in a slowcooker to keep it warm and that should keep your guests occupied while you cook.

Winter Squash Soup

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3-1/4 pounds butternut or acorn squash, peeled, seeded and cut into large pieces
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 1 carrot, quartered
  • 1 celery stalk, quartered
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • Salt and pepper to taste

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  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Chopped chives (for garnish)

Large sauce pan

Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the squash, onions, carrot, celery and garlic; sauté until slightly softened, about 15 minutes. Add the chicken broth, apple juice, thyme and sage. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over medium-low heat until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from stove. Puree the vegetables until smooth with a hand blender or in batches in the food processor or blender. Taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if desired.

***Soup can be made to this point 1 day ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator.***

Return soup to pot and bring to a simmer. Add the sherry and simmer about 2 minutes. Stir in the cream, sour cream and nutmeg until well combined. Place soup into large soup tureen and garnish with chives. Place on appetizer table with small bowls & spoons and let everyone help themselves.

That’s everything this week. There won’t be a recipe exchange next Friday, but next week I’ll be featuring more recipes for the holiday. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving. – TaMara

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Friday Recipe Exchange: Lots of Soups for You

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And we’re back.

There’s been a bit of chill in the air with some areas getting the first touch of snow, but I didn’t need much encouragement to start the soup and stew ritual. Last weekend I put two big batches of soup together while it drizzled outside. That means that all week for lunches I can alternate between yummy goodness. Anyone who reads somewhat regularly knows I have a few favorites, so I wanted to branch out tonight and pull together some recipes that move beyond those. It was inspired, of course by JeffreyW’s beautiful picture above.

Let’s start with a request I get a lot, Broccoli-Cheese soup. I’m usually at a loss here because broccoli is one of those vegetables I cannot tolerate even in small amounts when cooked.  Fresh and raw I can handle, but the moment  you cook it, I’m out. But here are two variations that I think you’ll like, one via JeffreyW and the other from America’s Test Kitchen, recipes here.

Then one of my favorite soups, Pasta e Fagoli, recipe here.

And this soup, full of fall flavors, Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple soup, recipe here.

I’ve been out of touch for a couple of weeks, so catch me up on what’s been going on in your kitchen. Also, searching my blog, we do not have a recipe for Minestrone, so do a chick a solid and share a good one with me, ok? (Seriously, we have 222 soup recipes, not one is Minestrone) Otherwise, what’s on your menu for the weekend?

Finally, tonight’s featured recipe from JefferyW.  He makes several variations, you can find all of them here, but I chose this one to feature:

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Jeffrey W’s Posole

Simple recipe, drop a couple of pounds of pork into a pot of stock and boil it for a long time.  I added two onions, coarsely diced, about two cups of my ancho chili sauce (recipe below),  about eight cloves of minced garlic, and a couple teaspoons of dried oregano.  Oh, don’t forget the hominy, used two cans of white hominy.  When I say boil for a long time, I mean until the pork can be pulled apart into bite sized shreds.  Since the pork I used was frozen solid I boiled this batch for a long time indeed.  LOL  You don’t need to make my special ancho sauce-seed several anchos and soak them in some hot stock until they’re falling apart, then process in a blender.  Dump that back into the pot.

Ancho Chili sauce

Ancho Chili Sauce

In the last recipe the ancho peppers were just not appealing visually so I puttered about the kitchen this afternoon thinking about how to get the taste without the leather.  I simmered them in water for a while and thought about just dicing them fine, but the blender caught my eye.  I don’t use it much, decided to give it a whirl, pun intended.  Dumped the anchos plus the water they boiled in into the blender and gave it a spin.  Heh. I just kill myself.  Looked a bit thick so I added some lime juice.  Now a shallot and some garlic.  Coming along.  I scraped it out of the blender and put it into the small sauce pan for a good simmer.  Added some sweetener.  It has an interesting flavor.  The ancho is there, and the shallot, just a touch of sweet.  Smoky warm, not really hot.  It will pass the Mrs J test.  I wasn’t quite done with it yet.  Poured half a cup of mild salsa into the mix.  Mmm.  Now we are getting somewhere.

That’s it for this week. In case you missed it, here’s the full menu and shopping lists recipes for the week.  See you next week – TaMara

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Thursday Recipe Exchange: Roasted Butternut Squash-Apple Soup

First some housekeeping – there will not be a recipe exchange next Thursday as I will be headed to the beach for some needed R&R.

On to today’s recipes. About this time of year I receive a number of requests for squash and sweet potato soup recipes. I have several:  Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup, Sweet Potato SoupButternut Squash & Leek Soup and Winter Squash Soup (click on each for the recipes).

That brings us to tonight’s featured recipe. The base recipe came to me via an email. I looked over the recipe and thought it needed some punch. The first thing I did was roast the squash to help bring some depth to the dish. I added a little heat and finished with a splash of lemon juice to brighten everything when it was done. I don’t think of it as a stand-alone soup (like my very favorite Tomato-Spinach soup), but I think it would work well as a first course in any meal. I think it would be especially nice at a Thanksgiving table.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Spiced Apple Soup

  • 4 medium butternut squash, halved and seeded
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 large apples – tart works well, but I used my neighbor’s backyard apples which worked great
  • 1 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 12 cups (3 quarts) water or vegetable broth
  • splash of lemon juice

baking dish, dutch oven or large saucepan

Put about 1/4 inch of water in the baking dish, put squash face down and roast at 375 degrees until it is easy to put a fork through the skin. Turn over and continue roasting until tender and squash are golden brown. About 30-40 minutes. You can turn the heat up after you flip them to brown them, if desired. Remove to cool.

Meanwhile, core and slice apples into about 1 inch pieces. No need to peel or get fancy with the dicing since this is a puréed soup. Melt butter in the saucepan, add apple, onions and sauté until apples are soft and onions are golden. Add spices and coat the apple mixture. Scrape squash from skins and add to the apples, add water or broth. You can use chicken broth, but to keep it vegetarian I used vegetable broth. Let simmer for 30 minutes, purée until smooth, heat an additional 5-10 minutes, adding water if necessary and add a splash of lemon juice just before serving.

You can use a blender or hand blender to purée the mixture. If you use a blender, add a couple of ladles of soup to the blender, cover and blend slowly to start, to keep the mixture from expanding too much. I’ve seen hot liquid blow the lid off…you don’t want that. Blend in small batches. With a hand blender, keep it immersed and again blend slowly, to avoid splattering the hot liquid.

Squash and Apple Soup

The farm stand was overrun with apples and a variety of squash when I went there this weekend.  That means it is time to dig out this recipe.  Serve with fresh bread.

Squash & Apple Soup

  • 1 large, fresh butternut squash, peeled and chopped
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp oil (keeps butter from burning)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large Macintosh apples, cored & chopped
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 3 cups water (reserved from boiling squash)
  • 3 tsp vegetable bouillon (opt)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon + additional for garnish
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • 1 cup whole milk (or cream)
  • 4 oz sour cream
  • salt & pepper to taste

large saucepan, blender

In saucepan, cover butternut squash with water and cook until tender. Drain, reserve liquid and set aside. In saucepan, add oil and butter, sauté onion and apples until tender. Add cider, water, bouillon, cinnamon & cloves. Simmer for 5 minutes. In a blender or food processor begin to blend squash. Add apple mixture, blend until smooth, add milk and additional water if needed. Transfer back to saucepan, let simmer for additional 5 minutes until heated through. Serve with dollop of sour cream, and additional cinnamon.

Butternut Squash Pasta

The squash in this pasta dish adds a nice sweet flavor that plays nicely with the spicy sausage.  And as your summer crops come in, you can substitute zucchini for an entirely different taste treat.

Butternut Squash Pasta

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2  lb spicy Italian sausage
  • 1/2 lb lean ground beef
  • 2-14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsp basil, crushed
  • 2 tsp oregano, crushed
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 12 oz bowtie pasta

deep skillet and saucepan

Peel and cube butternut squash. Heat olive oil in skillet and add squash. Sauté about 10 minutes. Remove from skillet. Add sausage & ground beef to skillet and brown. Add squash, tomatoes & spices. Let simmer on medium heat until squash is tender, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain and toss with sauce mixture and serve.

Thanksgiving Table: Squash Soup

Need to keep everyone out of the kitchen while you finish up dinner prep?  Set up a buffet table with a raw vegetable tray and dip, a bowl of nuts (in their shells) along with a couple of nutcrackers and this soup in a slowcooker to keep it warm and that should keep your guests occupied while you cook.

Winter Squash Soup

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3-1/4 pounds butternut or acorn squash, peeled, seeded and cut into large pieces
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 1 carrot, quartered
  • 1 celery stalk, quartered
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 4 cups chicken broth*
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • Salt and pepper to taste

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  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Chopped chives (for garnish)

Large sauce pan

Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the squash, onions, carrot, celery and garlic; sauté until slightly softened, about 15 minutes. Add the chicken broth, apple juice, thyme and sage. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over medium-low heat until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from stove. Puree the vegetables until smooth with a hand blender or in batches in the food processor or blender. Taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if desired.

***Soup can be made to this point 1 day ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator.***

Return soup to pot and bring to a simmer. Add the sherry and simmer about 2 minutes. Stir in the cream, sour cream and nutmeg until well combined. Place soup into large soup tureen and garnish with chives. Place on appetizer table with small bowls & spoons and let everyone help themselves.

*or substitute 4 cups water and 4 tsp (4 cubes) chicken bouillon.