I love the traditional Thanksgiving foods. Though until adulthood I did NOT like two of the most traditional: Cranberry Sauce and Sweet Potatoes. Then I learned how to make these things in ways that were delicious. Here are two things hubby and I made this year - great ways to make both of these traditional sides. Seriously - even if you don't think you like cranberries or sweet potatoes, you will like these.
Maple-orange Cranberry Sauce
(more or less from The New Basics Cookbook)
12 oz (1 bag) fresh cranberries, rinsed and any bad ones picked out
1 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup raspberry-cranberry juice (or something like it. I used cran-rasp-apple.)
Grated zest of 1 orange
1 cinnamon stick
Combine all ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium and cook until the cranberries are all popped open - about 10 minutes. Feel free to stir and squish these too. Remove from heat and let cool a while. Then put in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving.
Sweet Potato and Apple Gratin
(recipe cut from newspaper many years ago, made and perfected by hubby)
3 Tablespoons butter, divided
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 tablespoons brown sugar
4 cups thinly sliced yellow onions
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh sage (or 2 tsps dried)
Salt and pepper
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (about 2 large)
(note: sweet potatoes are white inside and work better than yams in this recipe)
4 cups peeled and sliced tart apples (about 3)
3-quart baking dish with lid or foil
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter over low heat. Pour into a bowl and add the breadcrumbs and brown sugar. Toss until well coated. Set aside.
- Return the skillet to the burner and melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over high heat. Add the onions and saute until soft and turning golden brown - about 8 minutes. Stir in the sage and season with 1 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Remove from heat.
- Arrange overlapping slices of sweet potatoes in the bottom of a 3-quart baking dish, using about a third of the slices. Season with salt and pepper. Top with half the apple slices and then half the onions.
- Arrange another third of the sweet potato slices and season. Then add remaining onions and another layer of the rest of the apples. Top with the remaining sweet potatoes and season.
- Feel free to add little pats of butter on top.
- Cover tightly with foil or lid. Bake for 45 minutes or until potatoes are nice and tender.
- Uncover the dish and top with the breadcrumb mixture. Bake for another 15 minutes, or until the crumbs are browned.
This serves 10-15 as part of a big Thanksgiving dinner.