2014-11-21 / Columns

Cooking on Purpose

The many sides of Thanksgiving
By Connie Wendell
Special to the Post

In most homes this Thanksgiving the star of the show will be the turkey. However, the abundant part of this holiday dinner are all the sides.

Families will enjoy hors d’oeuvres, vegetables, stuffing and desserts. I have included some sides this time, I hope you try them and make them a family tradition.

Spiced cranberrymango chutney

1 ½ tablespoons canola oil; ½ cup finely chopped shallots; 2 teaspoons mustard seeds; 1 teaspoon minced, peeled, fresh ginger; 1 teaspoon minced garlic; 1 teaspoon minced serrano chile (optional); 1/3 cup sugar; ¼ cup golden raisins; 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar; ¼ teaspoon kosher salt; 1 (12 ounce) package fresh cranberries; 2 cups chopped mango (about 2 large); and 1/3 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil and swirl. Add shallots; sauté 2 minutes. Add mustard seeds, ginger, garlic and serrano; sauté 2 minutes. Stir in sugar, raisins, vinegar, salt and cranberries; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and cook for 4 minutes. Add mango and cook 1 minute. Stir in walnuts.

Serves 12 (1/4-cup servings).

Farro stuffing with butternut squash, red onion and almonds

4 cups unsalted chicken broth; 2 cups uncooked farro; 2 tablespoons olive oil; 2 cups diced, peeled butternut squash; 1 cup chopped red onion; 1 cup thinly sliced carrot; ¾ cup thinly sliced celery; ¾ cup almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped; ¾ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley; 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves; 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage; 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt; and ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.

Bring stock and farro to a boil in a large saucepan; cover, reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes or until farro is al dente.

Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving cooking liquid.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add oil; swirl to coat.

Add squash, onion, carrot and celery; sauté for 5 minutes. Stir in ¼ cup reserved cooking liquid. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir squash mixture into farro mixture. Stir in almonds, parsley, thyme, sage, salt and pepper. Spoon into an 11- by 7-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve. Stir in additional reserved cooking liquid as needed just before serving.

Serves 12 (3/4-cup servings).

Vanilla sweet potatoes

2 pounds sweet potatoes; ¾ cup 1% low-fat milk; ¼ cup packed brown sugar; 2 tablespoons vanilla extract; and 2 tablespoons butter or stick margarine, softened.

Pierce potatoes with a fork, and arrange in a circle on paper towels in microwave oven.

Microwave on high for 10 minutes or until tender, rearranging potatoes after 5 minutes. Wrap in towel; let stand for 5 minutes. Peel and mash potatoes. Combine with milk, brown sugar, vanilla and butter.

Place in a 1-quart casserole; cover and microwave on medium for 7 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Serves six (2/3-cup servings).

Olive-almond green beans

1 pound trimmed green beans; 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil; ¼ cup sliced toasted almonds; 3 tablespoons chopped, pitted kalamata olives; and 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind; 1/8 teaspoon salt.

Cook green beans in boiling water in a large saucepan for 3 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain well. Heat a large skillet over medium heat.

Add olive oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add green beans, almonds, olives, lemon rind and salt. Cook bean mixture for 2 minutes, tossing well.

Serves four (1/2-cup servings).

Have a very happy Thanksgiving. Until next time, keep Cooking on Purpose.

Connie Wendell can be reached at conniewendell27@gmail.com.

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