Posts Tagged 'Thanksgiving'

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 Originally made with canned green beans and condensed cream of mushroom soup, I took the basic elements of this classic dish and gave it a fresher, modern spin.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.

 

 

 

Roasted Winter Squash Soup

Squash Soup

Roasted Winter Squash Soup

If you are a fan of acorn and butternut squashes, now is the time to enjoy these hearty cooler weather vegetables. This winter vegetable first started appearing in our local farmers markets in late September and will continue to be in season throughout the winter.

This smooth and creamy soup is one of my favorite ways to enjoy winter squashes. It is a lovely soup that warms the heart and features some of Autumn’s best flavors. And as an added bonus, it is possibly one of the easiest soups to make. Simply roast the squash until cooked, transfer it to a pot, add chicken stock, and then puree.

Roasting the squash with onions and carrots adds a sweet, caramelized dimension to the flavor of the soup. Also, since you are roasting the squash, you don’t have to worry about trying to peel that tough outer layer. Once cooked, the flesh of the squash is easily scooped out.

This soup is also perfect as first course for a holiday meal. Since the squash roasts in the oven, your stove-top is free to cook other dishes for the meal. You could even make it a day ahead if you like.

Deceptively rich, this soup has no cream added. The richness of the butternut and acorn squashes takes center stage in a soup that will your family and guests alike thankful they are at your table.

Enjoy!

Roasted Winter Squash Soup

1 acorn squash (about 1 to 2 pounds)
1 butternut squash (about 2 pounds)
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
6 tsp. brown sugar
2 carrots, peeled and halved lengthwise
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
6 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Crème fraiche or sour cream, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cut each squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard the seeds. Cut the butternut squash in pieces approximately the same size as the acorn squash.

Place the squash halves, skin side down, in a roasting pan. Place 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 teaspoon of brown sugar in the cavity of each squash as well as on top of the butternut squash pieces. Scatter the carrots and onions evenly around the squash. Pour 2 cups of chicken stock into the pan, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and roast until the squash are tender when pierced by a knife, about 1 1/2 hours.

Remove the pan from the oven and allow the vegetables to cool slightly. Scoop the squash from the skins and place in a large soup pot. Discard the skins. Add the carrots, onions, and cooking liquid. Then add the remaining 4 cups of chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir well and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

Puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender or in batches in a food processor or blender. If using a food processor or blender, return the soup to the pot. Adjust the seasonings as needed and heat through over medium-low heat. Serve warm garnished with a dollop of crème fraiche or sour cream if desired.

Serves 6.

Cooking Tip: If you prefer a thinner soup, simply add more chicken stock.

Freeze well.

Previously published in The Memphis Commercial Appeal.

 

 

 

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

Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet Potato Casserole

This is the Sweet Potato Casserole that I grew up eating at the Holidays.  Baked sweet potatoes mixed with a generous amount of butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon and topped with a gooey layer of marshmallows. Yum!

The marshmallows on top make the dish.  When baked until golden brown, the marshmallows create a delicious topping – crispy on top with a sinfully melty interior. Super sweet and super good. We don’t add marshmallows to the sweet potatoes though … we find it gets too sweet if its in the potatoes and on top.

My good friend Allison Lemm makes a delicious Bourbon Pecan version of this recipe. She stirs 2 tablespoons of bourbon into the sweet potato mixture and add a 1/4 cup of toasted chopped pecans to the marshmallow topping. I am tempted to try it that way this year.

Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Casserole

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra to grease the baking dish
8 sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups baby marshmallows

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 2 1/2-quart baking dish with butter and set aside.

Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Place the potatoes on the baking sheet and bake until fork tender, about 1 hour. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise and, using a spoon, scoop the flesh into a large mixing bowl. Discard the skins. Using a potato masher or fork, mash the potato flesh until smooth. Add the butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon and level the mixture into the prepared dish. Evenly top with a single layer of marshmallows. Bake until the marshmallows are puffed and golden and the potatoes are heated through, about 30 minutes.

Serves 6 to 8.

Do-Ahead: This can be made a day ahead, covered, and refrigerated. Return to room temperature before baking. 

Time-Saving Tip: I prefer the flavor of freshly baked sweet potatoes. But if you are short on time, you can boil peeled and cubed sweet potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes, and drain well. Precooked sweet potatoes, which can be found in the grocery freezer section, are another short cut.

 

Sweet Potato Casserole

People either love the idea … or hate it.  But in my opinion, sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving must be topped with marshmallows!

This is the recipe that I have been enjoying at our family’s table since I was a little girl.  Without a doubt it will be on our Thanksgiving table this year.

My good friend Allison Lemm makes a delicious Bourbon Pecan version of this recipe worth trying. Stir 2 tablespoons of bourbon into the sweet potato mixture and add a 1/4 cup of toasted chopped pecans to the marshmallow topping.

Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Casserole

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra to grease the baking dish
8 sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups baby marshmallows

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 2 1/2-quart baking dish with butter and set aside.

Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Place the potatoes on the baking sheet and bake until fork tender, about 1 hour. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise and, using a spoon, scoop the flesh into a large mixing bowl. Discard the skins. Using a potato masher or fork, mash the potato flesh until smooth. Add the butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon and level the mixture into the prepared dish. Evenly top with a single layer of marshmallows. Bake until the marshmallows are puffed and golden and the potatoes are heated through, about 30 minutes.

Serves 6 to 8.

Do-Ahead: This can be made a day ahead, covered, and refrigerated. Return to room temperature before baking.

Time-Saving Tip: I prefer the flavor of freshly baked sweet potatoes. But if you are short on time, you can boil peeled and cubed sweet potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes, and drain well. Precooked sweet potatoes, which can be found in the grocery freezer section, are another short cut.

Wild Mushroom, Rosemary, and Hazelnut Dressing

I am a huge fan of dressing … any time of year.  To me, a good dressing is one of the ultimate comfort foods.

This dressing gets a modern … and flavorful … spin with the use of a crusty artisan rosemary bread as the base. It is delicious with turkey but also pairs nicely with red meat.

If serving this at the holidays or for a dinner party, take advantage of the many steps that can be done in advance. You can toast the bread a day or two ahead and store the cooled croutons in a resealable plastic bag. The hazelnuts can be toasted several days ahead as well. The mushrooms and onions can be cleaned and cut the day ahead and stored separately in the fridge. Then the day you plan to serve the dish, all you have to do is assemble the ingredients and pop your casserole dish into the oven.

Enjoy!

Wild Mushroom, Rosemary, and Hazelnut Dressing

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra to grease the baking dish
1 1-pound loaf rosemary bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 8 cups)
8 ounces button mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
3/4 pound fresh shitake mushrooms, stemmed and quartered (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion (1 small onion)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups hazelnuts, toasted, skins removed, and coarsely chopped
2 cups chicken stock
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9- x 13-inch baking dish with butter and set aside.

Place the bread on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the middle of the oven until the bread is toasted dry and lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the button mushrooms, shitake mushrooms, and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly browned, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and rosemary and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the white wine and over high heat, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape the brown bits on the bottom of the pan, until the liquid is almost evaporated, about 4 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add the bread and hazelnuts, and toss to combine.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the stock and eggs. Add to the bread mixture and toss to evenly coat.

Transfer the dressing to the prepared baking 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 6 to 8.

From: Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler

 

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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