Thanksgiving Sides

by Darina on October 11, 2015

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It’s Thanksgiving here in Canada on Monday and I have a special post for you this year, dear reader. If you have read my previous posts on Thanksgiving, you will know that Thanksgiving is my favourite holiday. It’s all the great food of Christmas without the stress. I also like the idea of a holiday centered on gratitude. I have an app on my phone called Gratitude Diary in which I enter something that I am grateful for every day. If I forget, the app calls me on it, sending me a message saying perseverance is the key. The app keeps me from feeling sorry for myself and focusing on my first world problems. I’ve been using it for over a year now and I can see in black and white not only how many wonderful things I have experienced in that time but also how much love I have in my life.

In the first six month so this year I travelled to Las Vegas, Whistler, Cuba and, Los Angeles. I just came back from a week at my parents’ lakeside cottage. I bought a new car and celebrated my first anniversary with the love of my life and made some new friends. These are just some of the things from my list.

It helps to scroll through the entries on days when I wake up with a back so stiff I can hardly move and the inflammation in my elbow so intense that I can hardly hold my camera. Then I think about Frida Kahlo, lying in bed with a broken back with her canvas hanging above her so she could paint. or Renoir, who lived with rheumatoid arthritis for three decades but continued to paint until the day he died, brush in his permanently clenched hand. I’ve come to realize that most of the limitations we have are in our mind.

So this week I got off the couch and fed myself more than avocado toast and created these Thanksgiving sides. Of course, they are good to eat any time and are my take on some holiday classics. In my family we usually have turkey but we might also pay hommage to our Eastern European roots with sausage and cabbage rolls. I think all of these would work with such fare.

There recipes I’m sharing today are:

Baby Peas with Herbs and Garlic Butter
Parsnip Mash with Herbs and Pine Nuts

Extra Crispy Rosemary Salted Roast Potatoes
Slow Cooked Red Cabbage with Apples and Dried Cranberries



Baby Peas with Herbs and Garlic Butter

3 cups frozen baby peas
3 tablespoons butter, softened
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
small handful basil leaves, finely chopped, plus more for garnish
small handful chives, finely chopped
small handful flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
sea salt
freshly ground pepper

1) Half fill a saucepan with cold water and sprinkle in some salt. Bring to a boil over high eat and add the peas.
2) Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for three minutes. Drain the peas.
3) Mash the garlic and some of the parsley into the butter, working the ingredients through with a fork until thoroughly combined.
4) Add half the butter and garlic to the pan followed by the peas and herbs and stir to combine.
5) Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
6) Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with the rest of the butter and some of basil leaves. Serve immediately.
parsnip mash_garlic butter

Parsnip Mash with Herbs and Pine Nuts

2 pounds parsnips
1/3 cup crème fraîche  or sour cream
1/4 cup whipping cream
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon pine nuts, lightly toasted
handful chives, chopped
handful flat parsley leaves

1) Fill a large saucepan with cold water and sprinkle in some salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add parsnips and lower heat to medium; boil until soft when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. Drain.
2) Add the parsnips to the bowl of a food processor with the rest of the ingredients except for the pine nuts (also reserve a bit of the herbs for the garnish). Blend until parsnips are pureed and creamy. Season with more salt and pepper if necessary.
3) Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with toasted pine nuts, chives, and parsley.  Drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Serve immediately.

Extra Crispy Rosemary Salted Roast Potatoes

2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
handful rosemary leaves

1) Fill a large saucepan with cold water and a handful of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat and then add the potatoes; lower heat to medium and boil for about ten minutes, until potatoes start to fall apart when pierced with a fork. Drain.
2) Add the butter and olive oil to the hot saucepan, return the potatoes. Cover with the lid and shake the pot back and forth to coat the potatoes with the melted fats. They should be soft enough that some of the potatoes start to mash.
3) Transfer potatoes to a large non-stick pan and  sprinkle with salt and some of the chopped rosemary. Bake for about 45 -50 minutes, or until deeply golden and crispy.
4) Remove to a serving dish and sprinkle with more rosemary to garnish and additional salt, if needed. Serve immediately. 
crispy roasted potatoes
Slow Cooked Red Cabbage with Apples and Dried Cranberries
re2 1/2 pounds red cabbage, cored and shredded
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup water
2 + 1 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
2 apples, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
1/3 cup dried cranberries

1) Melt 2 tablespoons butter and the brown sugar in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the cabbage followed by the vinegar, water, thyme and salt.
2) Reduce heat to medium low and cover with a lid; cook until almost all of the water has evaporated, about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the apples and the cranberries and cook until softened, another 15 minutes or so.
3) Stir through the remaining tablespoon of butter.Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with some more thyme leaves if desired. Serve immediately.

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