Thanksgiving Side Dishes Recipes

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Pecan Stuffing with Rosemary, Fennel and Fresh Water Chestnuts Recipe

Here's a stuffing recipe that really packs a crunch. Pecans and water chestnuts provide flavor as well as a nice texture contrast. I added a fennel bulb for a mild licorice flavor, mushroom salt and a small amount of jalapeño for a bit of heat.

For a fancier stuffing, you can add some crumbled blue cheese to the croutons. I finished the pecan stuffing with a little parmesan for a salty (but not overpowering) note.

This recipe is far more savory than the cranberry apple stuffing I made last week. The differences between the two versions really demonstrate the versatility of stuffing. Whatever your preference, there's a stuffing that you and your family will love.


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Homemade Biscuits with Sour Cream, Chives and Parmesan Recipe

Sunny and I woke up very early this morning to prepare a festive brunch for the whole family. We made some fresh juices, smoothies, crêpes, hashbrowns and sour cream biscuits. Making biscuits is a little messy but so worth it. Our family is very fond of buttermilk biscuits, but sour cream biscuits are even more decadent and delicious. The sour cream imparts a tangy flavor and richness that is hard to beat. We flavored the biscuits with parmesan cheese and garlic chives from the garden.

I don't know if I've mentioned it, but my Aunt Elise is visiting us from Vietnam. She's never had biscuits before, and so she looked at the little rounds of bread with curiosity. After she took her first bite, she was absolutely hooked. Biscuits truly are universal in their appeal.

garlic cheese biscuits


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Candied Yams with Marshmallows Recipe

Candied Yams with Marshmallows

11.13.09 by Jackie

I experienced my first real Thanksgiving after Lulu and I got married. I say real because I had my very first Thanksgiving meal in July 1998. I know it sounds weird... As a child, I used to go to the US for the summer. Every summer, I'd be hosted by an American family through an agency. It was always a very neat experience. It offered me the opportunity to experience the culture and customs of America while sharing my own culture and customs with the host family.

When I met Reneé and Steve in the summer of 1998, they asked me to cook a typical French meal for them. I made a roasted leg of lamb and crunchy oven roasted potatoes. The next day, Reneé surprised me with a full Thanksgiving feast with all the fixings. I have very fond memories of my time at Reneé and Steve's in Williamsburg, Virginia. They even attended our wedding.

One of the dishes that really stood out was the candied yams. I had not eaten yams (or sweet potatoes, to be more accurate) in France, and this was my first experience with them. The yams were sweet and creamy, and the marshmallow topping was a nice touch.

I now make candied yams with my little sisters-in-law each Thanksgiving. It's a fun recipe for them to make because it's easy and also because they love to eat it. I get added pleasure out of passing on traditions that were taught to me in the past by my former host family. Thanks Reneé and Steve!


The marshmallows before melting in the oven.


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Cranberry Apple Stuffing Recipe

Cranberry Apple Stuffing

11.12.09 by Jackie

I love Thanksgiving food. I have to thank my husband for introducing me to the tradition; he's been making his family's meal from scratch every year since he was a teenager. Most of the recipes I make now are adaptations of the ones he refined in the past.

I enjoy the turkey, the mashed potatoes, the yams, the gravy and the pies, but my favorite is the stuffing (or dressing, depending on how you use it).

Of all the Thanksgiving dishes, it's the most complex in flavor and texture. The other dishes are more singular in quality. Yams are sweet. Mashed potatoes are creamy. Sure, they can have some variation and subtlety, but most often, these dishes are really celebration of a single ingredient.

Stuffing is the harmony that contrasts the melody created by all the other Thanksgiving sides. It is also the most flexible of all the dishes, and is very forgiving of modification and experimentation. Not to mix metaphors, but croutons form a perfect canvas upon which many contrasting and complementary flavors can be layered.

For this particular stuffing recipe I used apples and cranberries, both fall flavors, for sweetness.  The apples also provide a crunch that's an excellent foil to the softness of the bread. To the usual suspects of celery, carrots and onions, I added shallots and king mushrooms. The mushrooms in particular add an earthy and meaty quality to the dish. All the ingredients were amply seasoned with Italian seasoning and a little lemon zest.


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Roasted Herb Potatoes Recipe

Roasted Herb Potatoes

11.10.09 by Jackie

My family has been on a bit of a quest for the perfect roast potatoes. After many attempts to cook a potato that is crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, and perfectly seasoned throughout, I've found a tried and true method for consistently great potatoes.

The first step is to boil the potatoes, followed by a generous smear of flavored butter, and finally a roast in the oven. The trick to proper seasoning is to prepare the butter on the salty side, which compensates for the relative lack of seasoning at the center of each potato.

When the girls have a craving, which is often, they ask for the "crunchy potatoes". No matter how much I make, there are never any leftovers. We love mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving, but I think I'll make a batch of these as well!


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