Nov 18, 2021
Turkey is a classic part of Thanksgiving dinner but many would argue that side dishes really make the meal. After all, how often do you get to eat dinner with so many options? Embrace the holiday with these three sides from NYT Cooking that modernize classic autumnal dishes. Make one or all three for your Thanksgiving table!
Stuffing is a Thanksgiving must-have. This one, seasoned with celery, onion and sage, and a little diced fennel for sweetness and depth, provides a fresh twist on our favorite traditional dish. Use it to stuff a turkey, if you’d like, but it’s even better baked separately in a shallow casserole dish, so the top can get nice and crisp!
Yield: 8-10 servings
Time: 1 ½ hours, plus drying time
Arrange the brioche pieces in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Let them dry out overnight, or place them in a 200-degree oven for an hour or two. (They’ll be ready when they feel stale to the touch but haven’t taken on any color.)
Heat oven to 375 degrees, and butter a shallow, 2-quart casserole or gratin dish. On a pot on the stove or in the microwave, melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Put bread in the prepared baking dish and toss with melted butter. Bake until golden and toasted, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool, then transfer toast to a large bowl. (Don’t wash the baking dish; you’ll use it again for the stuffing.)
In a 12-inch skillet, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Stir in onion, celery, fennel and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook until soft and just starting to brown, about 12 minutes. Stir in thyme and sage, and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl with brioche. Gently fold in chestnuts and pepper and let cool.
In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups stock, eggs, parsley and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Fold gently into the bread mixture, then scrape it all back into the prepared baking dish. Drizzle on the remaining 1 cup stock until the mixture is moist but not squishy; you may not need all the stock.
Cover the dish with foil and bake until slightly springy, about 25 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until golden brown, another 20 to 30 minutes.
An aromatic combination of fennel seeds, anise, clove, cinnamon and Szechuan peppercorns, five-spice powder is the special ingredient in this dish. Here, five-spice powder (along with a bright splash of vinegar and ginger) dresses up simple roasted carrots. Preheating your baking sheet in the oven will help caramelize and crisp your vegetables, and will also speed up cooking time.
Yield: 6 servings
Time: 30 minutes
Arrange one oven rack at the top and one at the bottom of the oven. Place a baking sheet on the bottom rack and heat the oven to 425 degrees.
In a large bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons of olive oil with the five-spice powder, garlic and 1 teaspoon salt. Add the carrots and toss to coat. Transfer carrots to the hot baking sheet and arrange in an even layer and roast, on the bottom rack, until the carrots are tender and browned all over, 20 to 25 minutes, flipping halfway through.
While carrots are roasting, toast almonds on a separate baking sheet, on the top rack, until golden brown, 7 to 8 minutes. Allow to cool, then finely chop and transfer to a large bowl or serving platter. Add the chives, vinegar, ginger and remaining olive oil to the almonds, and season with salt. Add roasted carrots and toss to coat. Serve hot.
Whether you prefer Russets, Yukon Gold or sweet potatoes, this gratin is a delicious way to include potatoes on your Thanksgiving table. The secret here is to place the sliced potatoes in the casserole dish vertically, on their edges, rather than laying them flat like a standard gratin, in order to get those crisp ridges on top. Allow extra time for the task of slicing the potatoes if you don’t have a mandoline. Just in case, buy a few extra potatoes; you want to pack the potatoes tightly to keep them standing up straight.
Yield: 6 servings
Time: About 2 hours
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine the cheeses in a large bowl. Transfer 1/3 of the cheese mixture to a separate bowl and set aside. Add cream, garlic and thyme to the cheese mixture. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add potato slices and toss with your hands until every slice is coated with cream mixture, making sure to separate any slices that are sticking together to get the cream mixture in between them.
Grease a 2-quart casserole dish with butter. Pick up a handful of potatoes, organize them into a neat stack, and lay them in the casserole dish with their edges aligned vertically. Continue placing potatoes in the dish, working around the perimeter and into the center until all the potatoes have been added. The potatoes should be very tightly packed. If necessary, slice an additional potato, coat with cream mixture, and add to the casserole. Pour the excess cream/cheese mixture evenly over the potatoes until the mixture comes halfway up the sides of the casserole. You may not need all the excess liquid.
Cover the dish tightly with foil and transfer to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until the top is pale golden brown, about 30 minutes longer. Carefully remove from the oven, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and return to the oven. Bake until deep golden brown and crisp on top, about 30 minutes longer. Remove from the oven, let rest for a few minutes, and serve.
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