Sensational side dishes upstage Turkey Day star


Side Dish

Handmade Mustard Butter and Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

2 cups heavy cream

1/4 cup fresh buttermilk with live cultures

2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds

2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds


4 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and halved

In a 2-cup liquid measuring cup, combine the cream and buttermilk. Cover tightly and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours.

To make the butter and buttermilk, place the cream mixture in the bowl of a food processor. Process on high. The mixture will initially thicken into a whipped cream, then it will separate into a liquid and solid. This process can take several minutes, so be patient.

Once the mixture has separated into a solid (the butter) and a white liquid (the buttermilk), set a strainer over a bowl and pour the mixture through it. Set aside the bowl of buttermilk.

Fill a medium bowl with ice water and place the butter in it. Use your hands to gently knead the mixture together to create a large lump of butter. Remove it from the water and add fresh ice water to the bowl. Repeat the kneading process until the water is clear. Remove the butter from the water and set aside in a clean, dry bowl.

With a mortar and pestle, crush the brown and yellow mustard seeds. Stir the crushed seeds into the butter. Taste and season the butter with salt. Set aside.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the potatoes in a large pot and add enough water to cover by 1 inch. Salt the water and bring to a boil. Cook until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain and transfer to a sheet pan. Bake for 10 minutes.

Using a food mill or ricer, process the potatoes into a large bowl. Stir in 3/4 cup of the reserved buttermilk, 2 tablespoons of the mustard butter and salt to taste. Serve with additional mustard butter on the side. Makes 8 servings.

Source: Alison Ladman, Associated Press.

Per serving: 390 calories, 210 calories from fat (54 percent of total calories), 23 g fat (14 g saturated, 0.5 g trans fats), 85 mg cholesterol, 42 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 7 g protein, 270 mg sodium.

Side Dish

Wild Rice with Pomegranate Seeds and Hazelnuts

1 1/2 cups wild rice, rinsed

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions

1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest

3 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1 cup pomegranate seeds, about 1 medium pomegranate

1 cup lightly toasted hazelnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped

Freshly ground pepper

Put wild rice in a large saucepan; cover with water by 1 inch. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Heat to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until rice is tender and most grains have popped open, 40 to 60 minutes. (Add a little more water during cooking if rice gets dry.) Pour rice into a strainer; drain well.

In the same saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add green onions; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add cooked rice, orange zest and juice, pomegranate seeds and hazelnuts; fluff with a fork to blend. Season with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Makes 8 servings.

Source: Adapted by The Chicago Tribune from “Fine Cooking Thanksgiving Cookbook” (Taunton Press).

Per serving: 257 calories, 12 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 8 mg cholesterol, 33 g carbohydrates, 7 g protein, 296 mg sodium, 5 g fiber.

Side Dish

Cranberry Chutney With Port

2 (12-ounce) bags fresh cranberries, washed and picked through

Zest and juice of 1 large orange (about 1/2 cup of juice)

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 cup port wine

1 cup sugar

1 cup dried apricots (preferably Turkish), cut into strips

1 cup dried cherries

Pinch salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a large, heavy pot, combine the cranberries, orange zest and juice, balsamic vinegar, port and sugar. Bring to low boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Add the apricots, cherries and salt.

Making sure the cranberries don’t burn, continue cooking over low-medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until the cranberries start to pop. Stir in the nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon. Continue cooking on low until thick, another 5 to 7 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Makes 16 servings.

Source: Elizabeth Karmel for The Associated Press.

Per serving: 130 calories, 0 fat, 0 cholesterol, 29 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 23 g sugar, 1 g protein, 20 mg sodium.

Side Dish

Winter Greens and Butternut Squash Gratin

1 large or 2 small butternut squash, about 3 pounds total, cut in half lengthwise, seeded

2 (10-ounce) bags chopped kale

2 tablespoons olive oil

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Pinch ground allspice

Leaves from 4 sprigs thyme, chopped

1 to 1 1/2 cups heavy cream

3 tablespoons fresh bread crumbs

2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 teaspoons unsalted butter

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Peel the squash with a vegetable peeler; cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices.

Heat a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the kale; cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well in a colander; squeeze out any excess water.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and greens. Cook until the greens are slightly wilted, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place half the sliced squash in a large buttered gratin dish; season with salt and pepper. Combine the nutmeg, allspice and thyme in a small bowl. Spoon the kale over the squash; sprinkle with half the seasoning mixture. Top with remaining squash; sprinkle with remaining seasoning.

Pour 1 cup cream over the gratin; cover with foil. Bake 25 minutes. Remove the foil; press down on the squash with a spatula to compress. If it seems dry, add remaining 1/2 cup cream. Cover; bake until the squash is soft when pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes.

Combine the bread crumbs and cheese in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Decrease the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Remove the foil from the gratin dish; sprinkle the crumb mixture over the squash. Dot with the butter; bake, uncovered, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool before serving, 10 minutes. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Source: Adapted by the Chicago Tribune from “Basic to Brilliant, Y’All” by Virginia Willis (Ten Speed).

Per serving: 211 calories, 14 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 40 mg cholesterol, 18 g carbohydrates, 5 g protein, 356 mg sodium, 5 g fiber.

Miami Herald Wire Services

For all the drama that surrounds roasting the turkey, a well-cast selection of side dishes can upstage the star on Thanksgiving Day. Here are four worth auditioning:

• Virginia Willis combines two requisite colors of the holiday palette and douses them with cream in her rich Winter Greens and Butternut Squash Gratin.

• Pomegranates add a tart note to a wild rice side dish adapted from Fine Cooking Thanksgiving Cookbook (Taunton Press).

• Chef Elizabeth Karmel turns cranberry sauce into a jammy chutney spiked with port.

• Alison Ladman elevates mashed potatoes with homemade butter and buttermilk.

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