More inspiration for Thanksgiving: Roasted Root Vegetables, Brussels Sprout Leaves with Trail Mix and Cranberry Chutney

Roasted Root Vegetables

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In our household, roasted root vegetables get second billing after mashed potatoes and gravy. The recipe came from watching my sister-in-law Elisa prepare the dish when she and her family were in town for Thanksgiving a few years ago from New York City.

Any combination of root veggies will work, but we tend to stick with the basics: red-skinned or fingerling potatoes, parsnips, carrots, onion, and yes, sweet potatoes. You can also throw in some cubed some eggplant, butternut squash, zucchini or even green beans.

-- Gretchen McKay

  • 4 to 5 pounds assorted root vegetables, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (you can leave the skin on the potatoes)
  • 2 or 3 sweet Vidalia onions, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Seasoned salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine vegetables in a large bowl, add olive oil and rosemary, and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Bake in a shallow roasting pan in hot oven for about an hour, tossing veggies occasionally, until everything is golden and tender. If you like your vegetables on the crisp side, cook for an additional 15 to 20 minutes.

Serves 6 to 8.

Brussels Sprout Leaves with Trail Mix

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Whole brussels sprouts are difficult to cook properly because the outer leaves become soggy before the interior loses its intense bitterness. In recent years shredding has been all the rage, but when I tasted the brussels sprouts leaves in New York City at Harold Dieterle and Alicia Nosenzo's "seasonal American" restaurant, Perilla, I was blown away. Separating the sprouts into leaves allows for perfect cooking, with a mouthfeel more more similar to the intact sprout, and a more elegant look on the plate. The addition of dried cranberries and nuts beautifully offsets the slight bitterness of the sprouts and makes the dish all the more seasonal.

-- China Millman

For the trail mix

  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts,
  • 1/4 cup pistachios
  • 1/4 pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Salt to taste

For the brussels sprouts

  • 2 pounds brussels sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large shallot, minced

To make trail mix

Mix nuts, seeds and cranberries. Toast in a saute pan over medium-low heat until nuts are lightly toasted (but carefully; don't burn). Add 1 tablespoon butter, brown sugar and pinches of salt, tossing to coat nuts and cranberries as butter melts. Continue to toast until the mixture is slightly caramelized. Spread out on a plate and let cool.

For the brussels sprouts

Use a paring knife to cut off the sprouts' stem ends, then, using the knife, peel leaves from the stem end, working in a circular motion around the sprout, a few at a time. There's no need to be overly careful, and there will be a small piece of stem left at the center that you can discard, or save to saute later.

Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of butter. Saute shallots for about 30 seconds, then add brussels sprouts leaves. Saute leaves until they are slightly caramelized and cooked through. Season to taste. They should be sweet and softened but still have some resistance to the teeth. Add trail mix and toss to distribute thoroughly. Serve as soon as possible.

Serves 6 to 8.

-- Adapted from Perilla

Cranberry Chutney

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Thanksgiving now belongs to all cultures who celebrate it, and I knew that my Indian and Canadian wife would like this recipe. Padma Lakshmi, of "Top Chef" fame, includes it in her latest cookbook, "Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet" (Weinstein, 2007). She writes, "My sweet great-aunt Bala used to make this chutney every year at Thanksgiving, and I must admit it saved many a turkey sandwich from pathetic dullness." Young Padma, who put it on everything from rice to wraps, adds, "I always admired how Bala incorporated the strange, new fruits of her adopted country into her culinary repertoire." The spices are readily available at area Indian markets.

-- Bob Batz Jr.

  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 28 ounces fresh cranberries (or frozen; see note below)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafetida powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

Heat oil on medium heat and saute the cranberries, stirring intermittently. The entire process should take 1 1/2 to 2 hours; the cranberries should open gradually and then begin to burst.

After about 45 minutes, add the sugar, cayenne and salt. Adjust the heat to medium low, stirring all the ingredients.

Place the fenugreek in a dry skillet and roast for a few minutes. Grind to a powder in a mortar with a pestle. Combine with the asafetida and turmeric.

When the cranberries have cooked for about 1 1/4 hours, add the ground powders and continue to cook. The chutney should be ready when the cranberries have burst and the mixture is a thick, bubbling paste. This chutney will keep for months in an airtight glass jar in the fridge.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

If you use frozen cranberries

First, thaw the cranberries. Heat oil on medium heat and saute cranberries, stirring intermittently. A thick paste should take a total of only 30 to 40 minutes. Add cayenne and salt halfway through cooking and sugar and asafetida and fenugreek powder about 5 minutes later (about 20 minutes into cooking). The chutney should be ready when the mixture is a thick paste.

-- "Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet" by Padma Lakshmi (Weinstein, 2007)


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