Oh Thanksgiving how we have planned for you!
Year two of my Thanksgiving recap. I think if there was one year that would make me give up our tradition of non-traditional, it would be this one. Everything was literally outstanding! Mom did a wonderful amount of research to make this day happen. I helped only with plugging in recipes that fit what she was looking for. Here was what we had: Sauerbraten with a delicious gingersnap gravy, wiener schnitzel, spaetzel, rye bread stuffing, warm German sweet potato salad and Brussels sprouts with pecans and cranberries. Mom was super organized and dinner hit the table fresh and warm. Dad had found a great German beer to go along with the meal, turns out it’s from the oldest brewery in Germany (or so the bottle said). For dessert we had small cups of pumpkin Bavarian creme and slices of cherry, cranberry and orange strudel from a really great bakery. I think the wiener schnitzel was the favorite; everyone was keeping one last bite to savor till the very end and Alton Brown came through with the sprouts! This is one dish I’m sure we will all have again throughout the year. Gran makes the stuffing every year. This year she made homemade rye bread. She used all her usual ingredients, sage, onion, celery, celery seed. And the first bite you have it tastes just like her traditional stuffing but then the rye bread comes in and it gave it such an interesting flavor! I loved it all and really wish we could do it all over today.
On to the recipes, I’m going to go with the Brussel sprouts and the German Sweet Potato salad.
Brussels Sprouts with Pecans and Cranberries
Found on FoodNetwork.com
1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts, rinsed and trimmed
3 oz coarsely chopped pecans
3 T unsalted butter
1/4 t kosher salt
1/4 t freshly ground pepper
4 oz coarsely chopped dried cranberries
Slice the Brussels sprouts using the thinnest slicing disk of a food processor. If you do not have a food processor, you may slice thinly with a knife or a mandoline. (Mom cut them by hand for a more controlled and slightly thicker slice)
Set a 10-inch saute pan over medium-high heat and add the pecans. Cook, stirring continually, until the pecans darken in color and begin to give off a toasted aroma, approximately 2 minutes. Add the butter to the pan and stir to combine. Once the butter has melted, add the Brussels sprouts, salt and pepper and cook, stirring continually, until the color brightens and the sprouts are just tender, approximately 6 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, add the cranberries, toss and serve.
German Sweet Potato Salad with Bacon Chive Vinaigrette
Found on Lindaraxa blog as was adapted from Mary Nolan on Food Network, adapted by me!
1/2 lb Yukon gold, red skin and purple potatoes (I used fingerlings)
1/2 lb sweet potatoes (I used Garnet and Jewel)
1/2 lb thick-cut bacon
1/2 c finely chopped onion
1/3 c apple cider vinegar
1/4 c sugar
1 t Dijon mustard
1 t salt
2 T minced chives
Place the fingerling potatoes in a medium-size pot and cover them with enough water to extend 2 inches above the surface of the potatoes. Salt the water and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Continue cooking until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and slice into 1/4-inch rounds. In the mean time peel and slice the sweet potatoes in to 1/4 inch thick slices. In a large pan set a stamer basket over 2 to 3 inches of water. Place sweet potatoes in the basket and steam until tender approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once crisp, place on a paper towel-lined plate and crumble into small pieces. Pour off the rendered fat, reserving 1/4 cup in the pan. Turn the heat to medium and add the onion. Cook until translucent and just beginning to brown, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Whisk in the vinegar, sugar, mustard, 1/2 chives and salt and stir until thick and bubbly. Add some water if it is too thick. Add the sliced, cooked potatoes and toss to coat. Top with the crumbled bacon and garnish with the rest of the chives. Serve warm.
**Note: I learned a little from Alton Brown’s Good Eats just a few days before I made my potato salad. Sweet Potatoes aren’t actually potatoes (tubers) they are the roots of plants in the morning glory family. They go through a curing or drying process that makes them suitable for baking and mashing and eatable. He also said that because they aren’t tubers that you can’t treat them as such. That is why I steamed them. When they are boiled they become water logged and lose their nutritional value and their flavor. Steaming keeps all of that intact. I will never boil a sweet potato again. The flavor was a knock out in this dish.