Thanksgiving is loaded with all kinds of traditions--family, regional and personal favorites. However, new flavors tucked in every once in a while make for a bit of palate pleasure. I would like to share some of mine that you can make with easy to find ingredients and ones you most probably have on hand already. And, hopefully you do have some of our pure Pecos Valley Spice Co. chile powders and flakes on hand.
Instead of super sweet, sweet potatoes, try our Tequila Teased Sweet Potatoes. The small amount of tequila used adds a depth of flavor, and when paired with the freshly grated nutmeg and sweet butter, makes for a very yummy stand alone side.
Brussel Sprouts are almost like chameleons--they can take on a wide variety of flavors and textures--all very good. Here's a couple of easy to do ideas. Cut the Brussel Sprouts in half lengthwise, then heat a small amount of olive oil in your favorite saute pan and heat until hot over medium high heat. Add Brussel Sprouts cut side down and saute until browned on the cut side. Remove from heat, turn and season with salt and pepper and cover. In the meantime, fry 2 bacon strips per 1/2 pound of Sprouts until crisp, drain and crumble. After the Sprouts have steamed about 3 to 5 minutes and are still slightly crisp. Stir in the crumbled bacon. Serve warm.
Another idea given to me by Marianne, is to cut the Brussel Sprouts in quarters and steam them in salted water until just fork tender. Drain, add unsalted butter to taste--about a Tablespoon per pound of Sprouts and then add the same amount of maple syrup and stir together until well mixed. Serve warm.
Green beans, especially the long skinny French style Haricort Vert ones are especially nice when steamed in salted water until just tender, then drained and tossed with about 1 Tablespoon of unsalted butter and topped with lemon zest. For added variation, sprinkle with lavender buds.
Acorn Squash is a favorite with some folks--just for variety, try the delicious difference flavoring the squash with Chipotle and Honey.
When making Turkey Gravy, after removing the roasted turkey from the pan, stir about a Tablespoon of mild red chile powder per potential cup of gravy to be prepared. For example, if making the average 2 quarts of gravy, add 1/2 cup chile and 1/2 cup flour and stir into the drippings, then add the reserved stock with the finely cut giblets if available and stir until well mixed, then add chicken or turkey stock about 2 cups at a time, stirring well to prevent lumps and continue until all of the stock has been added. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes or until the gravy is smooth. Taste and adjust flavorings.
Remember all those who like to cook with Gift Certificates to our classes or our Gift Boxes. (For personalized Gift Certificates, call 505-243-2622 or email us at email@example.com. They are all on sale at 20% off through November 26.
Following are recipes--
SWEET POTATOES TEASED WITH TEQUILLA
My daughter Amy has always been able to eat her weight in sweet potatoes. Just for a change, I once added tequila to a favorite recipe instead of the usual orange juice, rum or brandy. It gave the potatoes a different, interesting taste-and we’ve been “into” tequila’d sweet potatoes ever since!
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
2 large or 3 medium sweet potatoes (about 2 lbs. total)
2 to 4 Tablespoons tequila
¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
Freshly grated nutmeg to taste
½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
Freshly ground white pepper to taste
1. Scrub unpeeled sweet potatoes, cut in large chunks and cook in lightly salted boiling water until tender. Then pour off water, cover pan and let potatoes ‘fluff” about 5 minutes.
2. Quickly peel the potatoes; add 2 Tablespoons tequila, butter and nutmeg. Beat with an electric mixer or process in a food process until fluffy. Taste and add more seasonings if desired. Serve warm.
ACORN SQUASH ROASTED with CHIPOTLE HONEY
Acorn squash takes very well to spicey flavors and is so good with pork and poultry dishes. I Like this subtly spiced version with chipotle and honey, which adds a bit of smoky excitement.
Yield: 4 servings
2 acorn squash, halved and deseeded
2 Tablespoons softened butter
2 Tablespoons raw honey
½ teaspoon chipotle powder
½ teaspoon Saigon, freshly ground cinnamon
Several grates nutmeg
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. when you are about 30 minutes from wanting to serve these. Then place the squash halves on a foil lined cookie sheet. Mix all of the baste ingredients together, then carefully divide the mixture into 4 parts, placing ¼ of the mixture in each, spooning it all around the cavity and the cut edges. Bake until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Serve hot.
GREEN BEANS WITH LEMON-LAVENDAR
Haricort vert are the best green beans to use for this dish. Lacking those, select fresh skinniest possible full length green beans.
Yield: 6 servings
1½ pounds green beans
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons unsalted sweet butter
1 lemon, zested
1 Tablespoon fresh lavender blossoms, 1 ½ teaspoons dried (optional)
Few grinds black pepper
- Bring water and salt to a boil, then add the green beans and cook until desired doneness, about 6 to 8 minutes. Beans should be bright green in color and slightly crispy, not mushy.
- Drain beans, stir in butter, then toss with the lemon zest and the lavender, if using. Cover and keep warm until serving.