Friday, November 27, 2009

Fun With Thanksgiving Side Dishes

My husband was on a roll this week. Thanksgiving is the one holiday a year that he uses a kitchen for anything other than cooking Ramen noodles. Specifically, he makes his mother's cranberry relish, which is the awesomest four-ingredient dish I know of. But this November he outdid himself. Not only did he cook macaroni on our recent camp-out, he also dreamed up an Asian-inspired peanut stuffing for Thanksgiving dinner. Needless to say the logistics were left to me. But I will allow that the cooking demons must have possessed him this past week. When we showed up on our host's doorstep last night, we carried both The Chickenless Chick's Mother-in-Law's Cranberry Relish and a brand spankin' new 5 Spice Peanut Stuffing (not to mention some farm-fresh broccoli rabe courtesy of Green Flamingo).

The Chickenless Chick's Mother-in-Law's Cranberry Relish


4 c. fresh cranberries
2 c. granulated sugar
1 navel orange (skin and all!), diced large
2 Tbsp. Grand Marnier


Combine all ingredients in a food processor or paddle blender and process until you achieve a relish-y consistency. Serves 12.

5 Spice Peanut Stuffing


2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 1/2 c. shredded Napa cabbage
1 carrot, chopped
3/4 c. chopped scallions
3 slices day-old bread cut into 1/8's
1 c. pre-roasted unsalted peanuts, chopped roughly
1/4 c. dark sesame oil
1/4 c. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. peanut butter
2 tsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. Chinese 5 spice powder
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 c. veggie broth
3/4 c. cooked brown rice


Heat the oven to 350.

In a wok or other saute pan with high sloping sides, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high. Add the cabbage, carrots, and scallions. Saute 2 minutes. Add a quick dash of the soy sauce and continue sauteing until soft, another 3-4 minutes. Set aside.

Spread the bread squares out in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for a very, very short amount of time (start checking after three minutes). They're done when they're crisp but not quite brown. Combine them with the peanuts in a large mixing bowl. Turn the oven up to 375.

Once the vegetables have cooled, combine them with the bread and peanuts.

In a small bowl, whisk the sesame oil, soy sauce, peanut butter, vinegar, spice powder, and brown sugar. Stir this sauce into the bread, peanuts, and veggies. Transfer the mixture to an ovenproof casserole dish. Pour the veggie broth down the sides so that it distributes itself evenly throughout the dish. Bake at 375 for 70 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes after the 40 minute mark. Remove from the oven and combine with the rice. Serves 8.

Spicy Grand Marnier Rabe


8-10 large leaves broccoli rabe, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 shallot, chopped or sliced thin
Juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon
Juice and zest of 1/2 an orange
1/2 of a fresh chile pepper, de-seeded and chopped
Salt 'n' pepper
1/4 c. dried cranberries
1 Tbsp. Grand Marnier
1/4 c. veggie broth
1 tsp. orange blossom honey
1/4 c. almond slivers


Blanch the broccoli rabe in salted boiling water.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the shallot, lemon zest, orange zest, chile pepper, and salt 'n' pepper to taste. Saute about 5 minutes, then add the blanched rabe and cranberries. Saute about 5 minutes. Add salt 'n' pepper to taste. Saute a couple minutes more (until you feel that you could comfortably eat it). Add Grand Marnier and veggie broth. Saute until the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat. Stir in the honey and almond slivers. Serves 8.

Hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving!

Beat the eggs. Whip the cream. Show no mercy.


Tasty Trix said...

That cranberry relish sounds very like a long-lost recipe that my grandmother used to make and I absolutely loved (it was the only thing she cooked) but then she couldn't remember how she made it because of all the pills she would take. (The other grandmother was the alcoholic, she never cooked anything in her life.) To make a long story short - yum, I'm gonna make that!

Shelly@Experimental Culinary Pursuits said...

I esp like the 5 spice peanut stuffing. Very different from the traditional stuff you see - very cool!

redkathy said...

The Spicy Grand Marnier Rabe sounds like a killer dish! It must be fun to have your DH in the kitchen. Very creative stuffing, bet I would really enjoy it.

Karine said...

Your husband can dream up very original and tasty recipes! I love his stuffing.

Anonymous said...

All of these sound incredible! I'm very intrigued by the 5 spice peanut stuffing!

Jessie said...

great side dishes! like others that have commented I am very interested in that 5 spice peanut stuffing, sounds really tasty!

wasabi prime said...

Really flavorful side dishes, and I like that theyincorporate unique ingredients.

Paul said...

You guys brought some amazing food into my house and was part of how fantastic the whole evening turned out (even if the turkey was a shy about coming out of the oven).

And for everyone wondering how the peanut stuffing turned out - it's absolutely delicious. You won't be disappointed.

gastroanthropologist said...

Cranberry Relish - sounds so good. I would love this on a cold turkey sandwich. Spicy grand marnier rabe sounds good enough to be made on days that aren't thanksgiving.

MaryMoh said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and your lovely comment. I have never made cranberry sauce myself. This looks simple and easy for me to try. Love that twist to the stuffing with an Asian flavour. Thanks for sharing.