Savour food – The Holiday Dinner “Sides Show” for @AlbertaAtNoon

The Sides Show - a disappearing act photo - Karen Anderson
The Sides Show – a disappearing act
photo – Karen Anderson

We all know that turkey takes center stage on the holiday table but where would that big star of a bird be without its supporting cast?

This week on Alberta@Noon I’ll be talking about “the sides show” – all those yummy dishes that has turkey saying, “you complete me” – just like Tom Cruise in Jerry McGuire (he WAS a turkey until he figured that one out!)

This blog will be recipes, recipes and more recipes! I’m going to organize them in categories so if you are looking for something in particular just scroll down our Holiday Sides Show Menu. Happy Thanksgiving everyone and since these recipes are good for any holiday where turkey is a favourite I’ll just say Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Happy Easter while I’m at it.

In this blog you’ll find the following categories for the Holiday Menu Sides Show:

Side Salads
Vegetable Variations
Stuffing Suggestions
Mash Makeovers

Turkey will have its own blog…such a diva…always needing the spotlight. Admittedly, turkey dinner would make the shortlist for my last meal. So it’s all good. I don’t mind and the turkey blog will talk about one of my favourite turkey farmers – Winter’s Turkeys as well.

Side Salads
We’ll start with the two I just presented for Alberta at Noon and then I’ll list a few old family standards – you know the ones that even if only one person loves it you have to have it or their meal just won’t be complete. I don’t know about you but I can’t have anyone feeling that way at my table.

Beet Salad w Pistachio Dressing - a recipe from chef Matthew Altizer photo - Karen Anderson
Beet Salad w Pistachio Dressing – a recipe from chef Matthew Altizer
photo – Karen Anderson

Beet Salad with Pistachio Dressing
(From chef Matthew Altizer of The Cookbook Co. Cooks Catering)
1 c pistachios, finely chopped in a food processor
2 T finely chopped parsley
1 t finely chopped mint
1 t lemon juice
½ t sugar
7 T olive oil
½ t lemon zest
4 T water
½ t orange blossom water (you can find this at the Superstore of a Mediterranean Grocer)
Salt and pepper
2 lbs beets, cooked, peeled, sliced thin
2 T lemon juice
2 T olive oil
Parsley leaves, stems removed
Whisk all the dressing ingredients together. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Dress the beets with lemon juice, oil and salt and pepper.
Spread beets on platter; top with the dressing and parsley leaves.
Serves 8.

Mixing up the carrot, cranberry and cumin slaw photo - Karen Anderson
Mixing up the carrot, cranberry and cumin slaw
photo – Karen Anderson

Karen’s Carrot, Cranberry and Cumin Salad
2 lb carrots, julienned
1 c cranberries
1 c mayonnaise
½ c sour cream
1 T lemon juice
1 t Dijon mustard
1 t ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
½ c pumpkin seeds
Use a mandolin to julienne the carrots or chop by hand.
Place them in a bowl with the cranberries.
Whisk the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, Dijon and cumin in another bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the dressing to the salad mixing until the carrots are coated.
Put in a serving bowl and sprinkle the pumpkin seeds on top.
Refrigerate until serving.
You can julienne the carrots and make the dressing a few days ahead and then combine them before serving.

Open Sesame Slaw photo - Karen Anderson
Open Sesame Slaw
photo – Karen Anderson

Open Sesame Salad
1 cabbage, chopped roughly
2 bunches of green onion, chopped on the diagonal
1 bunch of cilantro, washed and chopped including stems
1/3 c toasted sesame seeds
1 c of mayonnaise
1/2 c sour cream
1/3 c tahini
1 t dijon mustard
1 T sesame oil
1 T soy
1 T sambal oelek (chili paste)
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine the first 4 ingredients in one bowl and the rest in another.
Whisk the dressing ingredients and then add them to the cabbage mix and stir until all the vegetables are coated.

Crazy Easy Cranberries
So easy, it’s crazy not to have fresh cranberries. \
1 pkg fresh cranberries
1 ½ c sugar
Zest of one lemon
Combine all ingredients in a large microwave able dish.
Cover and microwave on high for 4 minutes. Stop and stir.
Microwave for another 3 to 5 minutes or until cranberries pop.
Let cool
Can be refrigerated in an air-tight container for up to a week.
In the fall of 2011 I took 50 people for a Turkey dinner at Heartland Café in Okotoks and Chef Bev Pell added a teaspoon of cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon of cloves and left out the lemon. It’s lovely too and so nice of her to share.

The Adams Family Cabbage Salad
My husband’s maternal grandfather used to hand chop this for every holiday. He would have really enjoyed a food processor!
1 cabbage
3 carrots
1 stalk of celery
1 onion
Sour Cream
Salt and Pepper
Chop the Cabbage and carrots in a Food Processor using the regular blade and highest setting. Pulse until finely chopped. Pour into a large bowl.
Hand chop the onion and celery to a very fine dice. Add to the bowl.
Add mayonnaise and sour cream in equal amounts until you get the mix to the desired creaminess.
Add Salt and Pepper to taste and then sprinkle paprika over the top.

Tomato Aspic
What’s a holiday dinner without at least one jelly-molded thing? This is tart and complements the cool cabbage and cranberries that are complementing the turkey and all the other fixings.
1-16oz can of tomato or clamato juice
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 chopped green onion
½ t Worcestershire sauce
2 T lemon juice
Place all the ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.
Pour into the mold or serving dish and chill until set.
Can be made a day ahead.

Vegetable Variations
I didn’t fall off the Turnip Wagon yesterday puree
This smells really good while you are making it and you can freeze it for up to a month.
¼ c butter
1 onion, chopped
1 large turnip, chopped into 2” cubes
4 big carrots, chopped into 2” pieces
1 ½ c chicken stock
1 T brown sugar
2 T flour
1 t baking powder
2 eggs,beaten slightly
To taste Salt and pepper
1c pecans, chopped
Brown sugar to sprinkle
Melt butter in a large saucepan; add onions and sauté until softened.
Add chopped turnip, carrots, stock, and sugar and cook uncovered until very tender.
Transfer the veggies to a food processor with a slotted spoon.
Boil remaining liquid until only 1 T remains.
Add liquid to veggies and process until smooth.
Add remaining ingredients and puree until smooth.
Transfer to a buttered casserole dish.
Sprinkle the top with the nuts and a dusting of brown sugar.
Either freeze or store in fridge until you are ready to cook. Thaw & Bake 30 minutes at 350F. Enjoy!

Green Bean Machine
I had these with a Roast Chicken in the South of France and they were such a nice complement I always make them with my turkey now.
2 lbs green beans
2 – 3 T butter
2 clove of garlic, minced
1 t dried thyme
Boil a pot of water and cook green beans for 3 or 4 minutes or until tender-crisp. Drain and refresh under cold water.
Wrap the beans in paper towel and place in a plastic bag in the fridge.
Just before dinner, melt the butter in a large skillet and, add garlic allow it to become fragrant.
Add green beans and thyme and toss until coated and heated through, around two minutes. Makes 8 – 10 servings.
Variation: saute a drained jar of pimentos in a little butter, add garlic and toasted pine nuts and mix with green beans as above.

Stuffing Suggestions
strong>Get Stuffed (on the side) Stuffing
Baking your stuffing separately helps you retain moisture in your turkey because you only have to cook the turkey to 165ºF. If the turkey is stuffed, the stuffing must get to 165ºF and by then the turkey is an overdone 185ºF. My stuffing is always on the side.
1/3c butter or olive oil
2 onions, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 stalks celery, sliced
2 leeks, trimmed and chopped
1 lb mushrooms (mix of wild and cultivated) trimmed and sliced
10 c crusty bread cubes
2 c turkey or chicken stock
½ c chopped fresh parsley
¼ c chopped fresh sage or 1 tsp dried
½ t dried thyme
1 t Salt
½ t pepper
Melt the butter in a large deep skillet on medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook for a few minutes until fragrant. Add the celery and leeks. Cook for 5 minutes until softened.
Add the mushrooms and cook for about 10 minutes, or until any liquid evaporates.
Add the bread cubes, stock, parsley, sage, thyme, salt and pepper and combine well. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
Place the stuffing in an oiled 13X9 inch baking dish. If you want the top crusty, leave uncovered. If you want it moist, cover with foil.
Bake in a pre-heated 325º F oven for 30 – 40 minutes, or until thoroughly heated. Makes 8 – 10 servings.
Variations: use this same method but think of the Maritimes and add apples, cranberries and some chestnuts and summer savoury. Go with a Quebec theme with thick cut bacon, a little maple and some walnuts. For a West Coast theme I would add pears and hazelnuts. If you like the flavours of the south add some andouille sausage and red and green bell peppers and corn.

Mash Makeovers
Make Ahead Mash
(Freezer Friendly Mashed Potatoes)
You can make these weeks ahead. Maybe by the time you serve them you’ll forget all the calories that go into them…. Maybe.
10 potatoes (Yukon Gold or Agria work well)
½ lb cream cheese
¼ c butter
1 c chopped green onions
1 c sour cream
½ c minced fresh parsley
Pinch dried marjoram
Taste Salt and pepper
½ c fresh bread crumbs
Peel and boil the potatoes until tender but not mushy. Drain and mash until smooth.
Blend in cream cheese and butter until melted. Mix in onions, sour cream, parsley, marjoram, and salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer to a baking dish. Smooth the top and sprinkle with bread crumbs.
Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 2 weeks. Let thaw in the fridge for 24 hours and add 10 minutes to the baking time.
Bake in 400ºF oven for about 20 minutes or until top is golden brown. Serves 10 happy turkeys…oops, people.

Sue’s Spuds
10 lb Yukon Gold Potatoes
enough chicken stock to cover the potatoes
1 tsp salt
1 bulb of garlic with cloves peeled
few Tablespoons butter
Boil the potatoes and the cloves of garlic from one bulb in the chicken stock with the salt until the potatoes are soft.
Drain the remaining broth into a large cup.
Begin mashing the potatoes and garlic and use the hot broth to help them become light and fluffy.
Put in casserole and keep warm in the oven.
Put in the fridge and keep for 2 days, reheating at a low temperature in a covered casserole.

Variations: Cook some celeriac or parsnips with your potatoes and add them to your mash. Saute some red onions in a little butter and add finely chopped kale and saute it till its soft and add that to your mash. Boil sweet potatoes in a separate pot and when both kinds of potatoes are soft, mash them together. Do the same for butternut squash and add a tablespoon of brown sugar and a little freshly grated nutmeg.


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