The Kitchen Prep: Thanksgiving Special Edition: Sides & Sweets, Part 2

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Special Edition: Sides & Sweets, Part 2

The holidays are just about the only time of year when you can get away with calling a dish made up of about 80% cheese, butter, or cream a "vegetable".

As much as I love buttery mashed potatoes and Cream of Mushroom-laiden green bean casserole, I also like to explore other ways to make "veggies" a part of the Thanksgiving menu.

Today, I'm sharing two more easy recipes that will update your side dish recipe collection. {If you missed yesterday's post, make sure to check out the Sausage, Kale, & Butternut Squash Stuffing/Dressing and Lemon-Scented Broccoli Souffle!}

The hardest part about either is the chopping & prepping, so I suggest that you get ahead of the game and pre-chop your veggies so that putting it all together the day of is a cinch. {This is a good time to bribe family members to "help out" in the kitchen! Note: Let the kiddos sit this one out, these veggies are hard to chop & require extra motor function to manage. We want all little fingers in tact for dinner!}

If you're looking for an elegant way to serve potatoes, this Provencal Potato Gratin is just the thing. It's one of those dishes that makes you look like you actually know what you're doing without having to go through too much trouble. {Aren't those the best?}

If you have a mandolin, it will make the slicing part of the prep much easier... but since I'm anti-absolutely necessary tools in my already-too-small kitchen, I don't own one. So I sliced {carefully} by hand and it only took me a few minutes more than it probably would have with fancy tools.

The dish is extremely flavorful, with tender potatoes, basil, and slightly sweet, tangy roasted tomatoes on top. And it's pretty, to boot!

One of my families favorite Thanksgiving dishes is Sweet Potato Casserole, which we all know is code for "dessert during dinner". This year, I'm suggesting a twist on the old favorite: Caramel Apple & Sweet Potato Casserole.

Sweet potato & apple cubes are tossed in a homemade cider caramel sauce and baked until tender. While this version certainly leaves some of that classic sugariness in tact, I feel like it's more of a subtle sweetness that brings out the flavor of both the apples and the sweet potatoes. The savory breadcrumbs on top keep it balanced and interesting with an added crunch.

Alright, so now I've given you FOUR new side dishes to try out this year... all worthy of precious dinner plate real estate.

But now that we've been good and eaten our supper, it's time for dessert! Make sure to stop by tomorrow for some sweet Turkey Day treats!

Provencal Potato Gratin
adapted from Food Network

4 large clove garlic, smashed
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
1 red pepper, peeled, seeded and diced
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes (about 4 to 5), peeled
1 cup water
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
4-5 plum tomatoes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a casserole dish by rubbing with a cut garlic clove and coating with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Set aside.
2. Slice potatoes to about 1/8 inch thickness, and tomatoes to about 1/4 inch thickness with a mandolin or sharp knife. {Watch those fingers!} Set aside.
3. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion, pepper, and garlic, as well as salt & pepper to taste, and saute until tender about 4-5 minutes. Add white wine and simmer until reduced by about half.
4. Add sliced potatoes and water to pan. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until the liquid is slightly thickened.
5. Stir in basil.
6. Pour potato mixture into prepared dish, layering evenly, and sprinkle with salt. Carefully arrange tomato slices {in a pretty shingled pattern} over top of potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with about a tablespoon of olive oil.
7.  Bake, uncovered, for about 1 1/2 hours or until potatoes are tender.
8. Remove from oven and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake for another 10-12 minutes until bubbly and beginning to turn golden brown.

Cool for 10 minutes before serving,  or serve at room temperature.

Caramel Apple Sweet Potato Casserole
adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup apple cider, such as Zeigler's
5 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes {approx. 6 cups}
1 pound tart apples, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes {approx. 2 cups}
cups whole wheat or favorite crusty bread {I used homemade}, cubed 
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish {optional}
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 9x13 inch dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. Place sugar in a heavy bottomed pot and, withouth stirring, cook over medium high heat until it begins to melt. Once the edges begin to brown, stir slightly with a wooden spoon until a deep amber caramel forms. {Be careful, this part can burn very quickly.}
3. Remove from heat and add cider, 2 tablespoons of butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. The mixture will bubble & steam; the caramel will harden temporarily. {Use precaution, this mixture is very hot and caramel burns are no fun!}
4. Return pot to burner over medium heat and stir until caramel dissolves into a sauce. Cook until mixture is slightly reduced and thickened, about 4 minutes. Set aside to cool.
5. Combine chopped sweet potatoes and apples in a large bowl. Pour cooled caramel sauce over top and toss to coat. Pour into prepared dish. Cover tightly with foil and bake for about 40-50 minutes, uncovering an stirring about half way through cooking time until potatoes and apples are fork tender.
6. Meanwhile, melt remaining butter in a large skillet and add cubed bread, stirring gently to coat all bread cubes. Cook for about 5-7 minutes until bread is toasted and golden in parts.
7. Remove casserole from oven and sprinkle toasted bread cubes over top. Return to oven for an additional 10 minutes.
8. Garnish with chopped parsley if desired.


Carla said...

The Provencal Potato Gratin sounds great! Have a Happy Thanksgiving. - Carla

Linda WHO? said...

maybe it is just me, but, your print is so light colored, that i have a very hard time reading it....
and i would love to read it....thanks for your attention

The Kitchen Prep said...

@Carla - Thank you! Happy Thanksgiving to you,too!

@Linda - I've adjusted it to be a bit darker. I definitely want you to be able to read the recipes! Hope this helps. :)

Denise - Chez Us said...

Hi, just found your site via the Kitchen Daily Curator Network. Looking forward to checking out more of your recipes and your site.

We love gratins and the addition of tomatoes just takes them over the edge. One of my favorite ways to make a gratin!

The Kitchen Prep said...

@Denise - Hi there! I just "liked" your Facebook page yesterday and am looking forward to having some time to browse your blog!

You're so right about the tomatoes, they totally make the dish. Thanks so much for stopping by! :)

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