Thanksgiving Sides

The turkey is the star, but here are a few supporting actors for you to audition.

Sure, Thanksgiving dinner centers around a golden-brown roast turkey, but it’s also the heyday for side dishes. Every family has favorite traditional sides. Some are original creations that have become favorites. Others are recipes passed down through generations — treasured touches that remind us of who we are and where our families originated. At our house, we always have traditional cornbread dressing, but I would hear complaints if I didn’t also serve Tamale Dressing, a throwback to my Arizona heritage.

Chef Molly Page, head chef at Chadra, loves to cook for her family and friends. Her Scalloped Oysters reflect her family’s New England roots and are a tasty way to celebrate their Virginia heritage in their Thanksgiving festivities. Her Peanut Chestnut Soup is another Yankee favorite you’ll want to try. That recipe can be found on our Web site.

Paul Harral, editor of our magazine, is a fabulous gourmet home cook. He has perfected a recipe for a classic holiday dish, Brussels sprouts. “I had never eaten a Brussels sprout until 1982 when we adopted a nearly 6-year-old daughter,” Paul says. “The adoption agency’s list of favorite foods included them. That began a long association with this strange vegetable that resembles a little cabbage.”

Kelly Hucklebridge is a sports therapist, personal trainer, busy mom and also a great cook. Her Sweet Potato Salad is amazing and can be served warm or chilled.



Scalloped Oysters
: 4 - 6 servings
• 2 pints shucked oysters, drained with liquid reserved
• 25 buttery round crackers, crumbled
• 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
• 1 teaspoon dried thyme
• 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
• 1 cup melted butter
• 2 tablespoons heavy cream
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Fresh thyme for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Butter a shallow baking dish.
2. Combine cracker crumbs, panko breadcrumbs, thyme and onion powder; stir in melted butter. Place a thin layer of the crumb mixture in bottom of prepared baking dish. Layer half of the oysters over crumbs and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Pour two teaspoons oyster liquid and one tablespoon heavy cream over oyster layer. Top with remaining oysters, two teaspoons oyster liquid, remaining heavy cream and salt and pepper to taste. Cover top layer with remaining crumb mixture. Bake 25 minutes.

Lemon Pepper Brussels Sprouts
: 6 servings
• 2 pounds fresh Brussels sprouts (never use frozen)
• 1/4 cup high quality olive oil
• 6 cloves garlic minced or 3 teaspoons prepared minced garlic
• 2 tablespoons lemon pepper seasoning, divided
• Lemon wedges
1. Cut Brussels sprouts into quarters. (Very small ones can be halved.)
2. Using a large skillet with curved sides, heat olive oil and cook garlic until slightly browned, about one minute or less. Turn heat to high, add Brussels sprouts, and toss to coat evenly with oil. Add one tablespoon lemon pepper. Cook, turning constantly, until slightly browned and heated thoroughly. This can take up to 20 minutes. You can cook them on lower heat, turning frequently, if you have other cooking chores to do. It’s OK if they are crisp, but don’t let them burn.
3. Toward the end of cooking, add the remaining tablespoon lemon pepper and turn to coat well. Sample frequently. They are finished when you say they are. Garnish with lemon wedges.

Sweet Potato Salad
: 6 servings
• 4 - 5 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
• 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
• 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
• 1/4 cup chopped green onions
• 1/3 cup olive oil
• 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
• 1 teaspoon garlic powder
• Salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place sweet potatoes on greased baking sheet and bake 30 minutes or until tender. Place in a large bowl and add remaining ingredients. Toss to coat well. Serve warm or chilled.