Thanksgiving aka Turkey Fest Recipes: Part 1 – Starch

5 Oct

Thanksgiving is next Monday – Canadian Thanksgiving that is. Unfortunately since most of the food mags and sites are American, the recipes for all the ‘what’s new’ and trendy ideas for Thanksgiving come out in November. I’m not fretting too much though – as long as there’s all the essentials like turkey, veggies, starch and pumpkin pie on the menu, I’m good. Over the next few days leading up to the turkey/binge fest, I’ll be posting up recipes I’ll be trying or want to try, and hope you are inspired to do so too.

I can only eat so much turkey, but I can never get enough starch. Whether it’s mashed potatoes, candied yams, roasted sweet potatoes or any starchy gratin, it’s always a crowd pleaser. Here are some of my favourites, from savoury to sweet…

p.s. and no, I will not be putting the nutritional values up for these =)

Parmesan Cheese & Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Looking for something a little more exciting than the run-of-the-mill mashed potatoes? This unique, decadent version of the traditional side is just the right thing. Parmesan cheese and roasted garlic add richness and depth of flavor to your choice of russets, Yukon Gold or red creamer potatoes.

  • 1 bulb garlic, unpeeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 pounds potatoes, rinsed and quartered
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Ground pepper, to taste
  • Chives or green onions, minced (for garnish)

1) Preheat oven to 425°F. Slice 1/2 inch top off garlic bulb and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap in aluminum foil. Bake until garlic is soft and golden, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven. When cool enough to handle, peel garlic cloves, mince and set aside.

2) In large pot, add potatoes and cover with water and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until tender, about 15 to 25 minutes.

3) Drain potatoes and force through a potato ricer or mash potatoes until smooth. Mix in Parmesan and garlic. Cover and keep warm.

4) Heat half-and-half, butter, salt and pepper in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until butter has melted. Pour over potatoes and continue mashing to combine thoroughly. Whipping is optional. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Garnish with chives or green onions. Serve immediately. Serves 4-6.

Maple-Whipped Sweet Potatoes

Provided by: Chef Marc Forgione
Served at: Marc Forgione

  • 6 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons coarsely chopped hazelnuts
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Wash the potatoes and pierce them with a fork. Bake for about 1 hour or until soft when pierced with the point of a knife. When cool enough to handle, peel the potatoes and place in the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter, sour cream, and maple syrup and pulse until the potatoes are smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a casserole, cover, and keep warm until ready to serve.
2) Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until pale golden, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the hazelnuts and cook, stirring, over medium heat until the nuts are golden and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the shallot and parsley and cook until just softened, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If the sauce is to be reheated just before serving, the parsley should be added at this stage to keep it fresh and green. Drizzle the hazelnut butter over the top of the sweet potatoes and serve.

Candied Yams

This recipe, passed down from Memphis cook LouElla Hill, actually uses sweet potatoes, which are often called yams in the South. True yams are usually larger than sweet potatoes and range in color from off-white to purple. Whatever you call them, these turn out buttery, sweet, and brown.

  • 3 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2″ pieces
  • Salt
  • 1⁄4 lb. butter
  • 1⁄2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tbsp. freshly grated orange zest
  • 1⁄2 cup lightly toasted chopped pecans
  • 2⁄3 cup brown sugar

1) Preheat oven to 350°. Cook sweet potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain; place in a buttered baking dish.

2) Melt butter in a medium pan; add, orange juice, orange zest, pecans, and a pinch of salt. Pour butter sauce over yams; sprinkle brown sugar on top. Bake 30–40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serves 6-8.

Agave and Balsamic Glazed and Roasted Buttercup Squash

  • 1 buttercup squash, or other winter squash (about 1.5 lbs.)
  • 2 T Agave Nectar (preferably amber variety)
  • 2 T good quality balsamic vinegar (I used Fini Balsamic Vinegar)
  • freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to taste

1) Cut top and bottom end from squash, then sit flat on cutting board and cut in half top to bottom. Use a sharp spoon to scrape out seeds, washing out the inside of the squash if needed. Cut squash into half-moon slices about 1 inch wide. Any shape of slice will work, but they need to be close to the same thickness.

2) Preheat oven to 400F. Spray roasting pan with non-stick spray or olive oil. Lay squash in single layer on roasting pan. Mix together agave nectar and balsamic vinegar and brush on top layer of squash. (Some will run down, which will coat the bottom as the squash roasts.)

3) Roast squash for 15 minutes, then turn each piece. Brush second side lightly with the agave-balsamic mixture. (It will look glazed already and you may be tempted not to brush it, but do it so the glaze can run down and coat the other side.) Roast 15 minutes more, or until squash pierces easily with a fork and is lightly browned.

4) Grind black pepper and sea salt over squash and serve hot. (You could make this easier to eat by cutting off the peeling before eating, but I thought it was simple enough to cut the rind off as you ate it, and I kind of liked the look of the squash with the rind left on.). Serves 4.

Note from me: I’d experiment with other sweeteners such as honey or mirin if agave is not readily available.

Sweet Potato Soufflé

  • 3 pounds large sweet potatoes
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 large eggs

1) Preheat the oven to 350°. Bake the sweet potatoes for 1 1/2 hours, or until tender. Raise the oven temperature to 425°.

2) Peel the sweet potatoes as soon as they are cool enough to handle; transfer to a bowl. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat the sweet potatoes with the butter until smooth. Beat in the cream, Gruyère, brown sugar and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

3) Transfer the sweet potato puree to a buttered 8-by-11-inch baking dish and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 400° and bake for 30 minutes longer, or until the sweet potatoes are lightly puffed and browned. Let the sweet potato soufflé rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Make Ahead:
The recipe can be prepared through Step 2; refrigerate overnight. Let come to room temperature before baking.

Prep time: 25 minutes
Total time:: 2 hours 50 minutes
Serves: 12

Cauliflower Gratin with Manchego and Almond Sauce

This outrageously rich sauce, flavored with salty, nutty Manchego, gets poured on sautéed cauliflower and baked until it’s golden and bubbling.

  • 3/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup whole roasted almonds with skin, plus 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped almonds (3 ounces)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely shredded Manchego or other mildly nutty semi-aged sheep’s- or cow’s-milk cheese (3 1/2 ounces), such as Gouda
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • One 2-pound head of cauliflower, cut into 1 1/2-inch florets
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pimentón de la Vera (smoked Spanish paprika)

1) Preheat the oven to 400°. In a small saucepan, heat the half-and-half until steaming, then transfer it to a food processor or blender. Add the 1/2 cup of whole almonds and process until finely ground. Let stand for 10 minutes. Strain the half-and-half through a fine sieve set over a bowl, pressing on the almonds to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the ground almonds.

2) In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the flour and whisk over moderately high heat for 1 minute. Add the milk and the half-and-half and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add 3/4 cup of the Manchego and whisk until melted. Whisk in the nutmeg; season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

3) In a large skillet, bring 1/2 inch of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower, cover and cook over high heat until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain the cauliflower in a colander. Wipe out the skillet.

4) Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the skillet. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower and cook, stirring until lightly golden, about 2 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Transfer the cauliflower to a 7-by-10-inch glass or ceramic baking dish and spread the Manchego sauce on top.

5) Sprinkle the gratin with the remaining cheese, the 2 tablespoons of chopped almonds and the paprika and bake in the center of the oven for 20 minutes, or until bubbling and browned on top. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Make Ahead:
The gratin can be prepared through Step 4 and refrigerated overnight. Bring it to room temperature before baking.

Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
Serves: 6

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes With Dried Figs and Thyme

  • 1/2 pound dried black mission figs or other dried figs
  • 1 1/2 cups brewed black tea, more if necessary
  • 2 pounds fingerling potatoes
  • 1 head garlic
  • 5 sprigs of thyme
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper to taste.

1) Place figs in a bowl, cover with hot black tea and let cool. Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours or overnight, depending on initial softness of figs.

2) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash potatoes well and trim any bad parts. Separate garlic head into individual cloves but do not remove outer skin.

3) Drain figs. In a bowl, combine garlic, thyme, figs, potatoes and olive oil; toss. Place on roasting pan and bake until potatoes are tender enough to pierce with a fork, about 30 minutes. Remove and season immediately with salt and pepper. Serve. Diners may remove skin from garlic at the table and eat along with the potatoes, if they wish.

Time: 40 minutes plus at least 4 hours’ soaking
Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

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