Posts Tagged 'holiday'

Cheddar-Pecan Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean Casserole

Cheddar-Pecan Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole is an iconic dish that most Americans expect on their Thanksgiving holiday table. Originally made with canned green beans and condensed cream of mushroom soup, I took the basic elements of this classic dish and gave it a fresher, modern spin.

First, I substituted tender haricots verts for the canned green beans.

What are haricots verts? Quite simply, they are very small and slender French green beans. (Haricot verts is French for green beans.) They tend to be more tender and flavorful than the thicker American green beans. Most markets now carry them both fresh and frozen.

Next, instead of using canned soup as my sauce, I made a quick cream sauce and flavored it with some shredded sharp white cheddar cheese. (Isn’t everything made better with cheese?!)

Lastly, I tossed chopped pecans and panko bread crumbs with the classic French fried onions for a crunchy topping that makes the dish in my opinion.

This homemade version of the classic canned soup green bean dish is sure to become a favorite at your house. The haricots verts, pecans, and the touch of sharp cheddar in the sauce elevate this dish to new heights. It’s so good you’ll serve it year round!

Cheddar-Pecan Green Bean Casserole

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra to grease the baking dish
1 1/2 pounds fresh or frozen haricots verts, trimmed
8 oz. button mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoons freshly ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup chicken stock
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup French fried onions
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 395 degrees. Lightly grease a 9- x 13-inch casserole dish with butter and set aside.

Over high heat, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the beans and cook until just tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge the beans into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain again and set aside.

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to give up some of their liquid, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and nutmeg and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and stir to combine. Slowly stir in the broth and heavy cream. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the shredded cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the green beans and stir until well coated. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan.

In a medium mixing bowl toss together the French fried onions, bread crumbs, and pecans. In a small saucepan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir the melted butter into the onion mixture. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the green beans. Transfer to the oven and bake until golden and bubbly, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Excepted from “Simply Suppers” by Jennifer Chandler.

 

 

 

Brussels Sprouts and Bacon

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Brussels Sprouts and Bacon

Doesn’t bacon make everything taste better?

It’s so funny to think about … but when I was a kid I used to say I was allergic to brussels sprouts!  I hated them that much!  Fast forward to adulthood … and now they are one of my favorite things!

Part of the trick is not to overcook the brussels sprouts.  They get too smelly and pungent if you do. You want them to be just fork-tender after boiling them.

The second part is the bacon.  As I mentioned before, doesn’t it just make everything better?! I like to use a really smoky bacon like Benton’s when making mine.

My friend Kelly English inspired me to come up with this recipe. He serves a version of this warm dish as a first-course salad at Restaurant Iris, his popular Memphis restaurant. I dish it up as a hearty side.

Enjoy!

Brussels Sprouts and Bacon

1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
Kosher salt
3 slices of bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Freshly ground black pepper

Trim the bottoms off of the Brussels sprouts and slice in half.

Over high heat, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the sprouts and cook until fork tender, about 7 to 8 minutes. Drain and reserve.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crispy, about 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Reserve.

Pour all but about 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet. Add the butter and allow it to melt. Add the sprouts and sauté until they are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Return the bacon to the pan and toss to combine. Serve warm.

Serves 6.

Cooking Tip: Regular bacon is fine, but for an extra bacon-y flavor, use thick-cut artisan bacon or Italian pancetta.

Do-Ahead: The Brussels sprouts can blanched ahead of time and then reheated when sautéed. 

From Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Peppermint Ice Cream


 

One word sums up this dessert … YUM!

The combination of Chocolate and Peppermint is my favorite Holiday treat.

This year we had our Holiday family dinner early since my sisters were in town the weekend before Christmas.  As always, I am the one in charge of dessert. When I was trying to decide what to make, I remembered a Peppermint Ice Cream from Simply Recipes that I had wanted to try.  Being a chocoholic, I decided to pair this frozen treat with a decadently rich Flourless Chocolate Cake.

It was a match made in heaven!  A light dusting of crushed candy canes finished it all off.

Merry Christmas from my kitchen to yours!

Enjoy!

Flourless Chocolate Cake

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus extra to grease the pan
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus extra to dust the pan
1/4 cup heavy cream
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
5 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and lightly dust with cocoa powder. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat the butter with the heavy cream over medium-low heat until the butter is melted. Add the chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes.

In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, and cocoa powder until well blended.  Stir in the melted chocolate mixture.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until set, about 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool in the pan before serving.

Serves 8.

Peppermint Ice Cream  — from the talented Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes.

 

 

 

Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing

Being from New Orleans, I grew up eating Oyster Dressing every holiday.  I didn’t know anything else existed.

Then fast forward a few years (well, maybe more than a few!) and I have a daughter with severe seafood allergies.  Gone are my days of turkeys stuffed with a luscious, rich oyster dressing.

So back to the drawing board, or stove-top, I was forced to go to come up with a new stuffing for my holiday table.

I have a few that I like but this cornbread and sausage stuffing is consistently a favorite with everyone at my table.

Cornbread stuffing is a Southern classic. The addition of the country-style pork sausage gives it a mild kick… just enough for the grown-up palates but not too much for the kids at the table.

You can make your own cornbread (I love mine made in a gold ole Lodge cast iron skillet) … or you can cheat and use store bought.  (I have to confess it is pretty good made with a store-bought jalapeno cornbread!)

You’ll enjoy it so much, serve it as a side dish year-round or make a smaller batch to use as a stuffing for pork chops.

Enjoy!

Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing
From Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler

Unsalted butter to grease the baking dish
1 8-inch pan prepared cornbread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 8 cups)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound country-style fresh pork sausage, crumbled
1 cup finely diced yellow onion (about 1 large onion)
1 cup finely sliced celery (about 3 ribs)
2 cups chicken stock
3 large eggs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9- x 13-inch casserole dish with butter and set aside. Place the cornbread in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pan. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until the meat is browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Transfer the cooked meat to a colander and drain off the excess fat. Transfer the drained sausage to the cornbread mixing bowl.

Drain all but about 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 4 minutes. Transfer the cooked vegetables to the cornbread mixture. Toss to combine.

In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the chicken stock and eggs. Add to the cornbread mixture and toss to evenly coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the stuffing to the prepared casserole dish. Bake, loosely covered with foil, until set and warmed through, about 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until the top is browned, about 15 minutes. Serve warm.

Serves 8 to 10.

Cooking Tip: You can either make your own cornbread or pick up an already prepared pan at your local market.

Freezes well.

 


Jennifer Chandler

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