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Showpiece side dishes.

TRIM COOKING PROCEDURES KEEP THESE VEGETABLE SHOWPIECES and dressings lean enough to provide wholesome balance for the roasts they accompany. Because tender vegetables often require last-minute attention--when that attention could be well used elsewhere--we've built in make-ahead steps, and highlighted them with asterisks so you can spot them easily.

The dressings are flavorful combinations of grains and nuts, plus one with sourdough bread. To comply with current food safety recommendations, dressings cook in casseroles rather than in the bird. We think the flavorful gravy will adequately compensate those who love stuffing from the turkey. If you do stuff the bird, be sure to do so just before it goes into the oven, then remove the dressing while it's still hot.

Green Pea Pods with Red Onions

1/2 cup red wine vinegar 1 teaspoon mustard seed 1 teaspoon cumin seed 2 large (about 1 lb. total) red onions, thinly sliced 1 teaspoon sugar 2 pounds edible-pod peas, ends and strings removed Salt

In a 5- to 6-quart pan, bring about 1 quart water to a boil on high heat. Add 5 tablespoons vinegar, mustard seed, cumin seed, and onions. Cook just until onions are limp, about 2 minutes. Drain in a fine strainer. Add onion-seed mixture to remaining vinegar and sugar. (*If cooking ahead, cover and chill, stirring occasionally, up to a day.)

Rinse pan well and fill with about 2 1/2 quarts water. Cover and bring to a boil on high heat. Add peas and cook, uncovered, just until brighter green, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain. Arrange peas in a shallow 3- to 4-quart casserole. (*If cooking ahead, immerse peas in ice water until cold, then drain. Arrange in a casserole, cover, and hold at room temperature up to 6 hours or chill up to a day.)

Serve from cold to room temperature. Just before serving, spoon onions onto peas; add salt to taste. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Per serving: 60 cal. (6 percent from fat); 3.3 g protein; 0.4 g fat (0 g sat.); 12 g carbo.; 8.6 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Broccoli with Sherry-glazed Onions

2 pounds broccoli 1 package (1 lb.) frozen petite whole onions, thawed 1 teaspoon olive oil 1 cup dry sherry or dry madeira 1 cup regular-strength chicken broth 1/4 cup sherry vinegar or cider vinegar 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar 2 tablespoons currants 1 tablespoon cornstarch Salt

Trim tough ends off broccoli. If skin on stalks is tough, peel. Cut broccoli into about 3-inch lengths. Cut stalks lengthwise to make 1/3-inch-thick slices. Leave flowerets whole or cut in half if thicker than 1 1/2 inches.

Fill a 5- to 6-quart pan with 2 1/2 to 3 quarts water; cover and bring to a boil on high heat. Add broccoli and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, just until barely tender when pierced, 5 to 6 minutes; drain. Arrange on a platter or in a shallow 3- to 4-quart casserole. (*If making ahead, immerse in ice water until cool; drain. Arrange on platter, cover, and hold at room temperature up to 6 hours or chill up to a day.)

Drain pan and add onions and oil. Cook over high heat, shaking pan often, until onions brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove onions. (*If browning ahead, cover and chill up to a day.)

To pan, add sherry, broth, vinegar, sugar, and currants. Boil rapidly, uncovered, until reduced to 1 1/3 cups, 6 to 8 minutes. Mix cornstarch with 1/4 cup water. Stir into pan; bring sauce to a boil. (*If assembling ahead, cool, cover, and chill up to a day.)

To serve dish warm or at room temperature, combine hot sauce and onions and pour over broccoli. (*To reheat sauce, cook over medium heat, stirring, until hot. *To reheat broccoli in a microwave oven, cover with microwave-safe plastic wrap and cook at full power--100 percent--until hot, 4 to 7 minutes; rotate casserole 1/2 turn every 2 minutes. *To reheat broccoli in a conventional oven, cover with foil and bake at 400|degrees~ until hot, 20 to 30 minutes.) Add salt to taste. Serves 8 to 10.

Per serving: 80 cal. (9 percent from fat); 2.4 g protein; 0.8 g fat (0.1 g sat.); 17 g carbo.; 29 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Sweet Potato--Fennel Gratin

3 large (3- to 4-in.-wide) heads fennel 2 large (about 1 lb. total) onions, chopped 1 teaspoon fennel seed About 4 1/2 cups regular-strength chicken broth 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/2 cup whipping cream 2 3/4 pounds (about 4 medium-size) sweet potatoes or yams 1 1/4 cups (5 oz.) shredded reduced-fat or regular jarlsberg cheese Salt and pepper

Trim stems from fennel; reserve some of the feathery green leaves for garnish. (*If working ahead, rinse, wrap in towels, enclose in a plastic bag, and chill up to a day.) Discard stems. Trim off discolored parts of fennel. Finely chop heads.

In a 5- to 6-quart pan, combine chopped fennel, onions, fennel seed, and 1/3 cup broth. Cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until liquid evaporates and browned bits stick in pan, about 15 minutes. Deglaze by adding 1/4 cup broth and stirring browned bits free; cook until browned again. Repeat deglazing step 2 or 3 more times, until vegetables are a rich brown, adding about 1/2 cup broth total. Reduce heat to low. Mix flour and nutmeg with vegetables, then stir in 3 1/2 cups broth and cream. Stir over medium heat until mixture boils, 4 to 5 minutes.

Peel sweet potatoes and thinly slice crosswise.

Arrange about 1/4 of the fennel mixture in an even layer in a shallow 2 1/2- to 3-quart casserole. Cover with 1/4 each of the potatoes and cheese. Repeat layers, ending with potatoes; reserve the remaining cheese. (*At this point, you can cover and chill casserole and cheese up to a day.)

Bake, tightly covered, in a 350|degrees~ oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle the vegetables with remaining cheese.

Bake, uncovered, until potatoes are tender when pierced and top is browned, about 45 minutes longer. Serve hot. Casserole holds well up to 45 minutes if kept covered and warm. Garnish with reserved fennel leaves. Add salt and pepper to taste. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Per serving: 233 cal. (27 percent from fat); 8.8 g protein; 6.9 g fat (3.9 g sat.); 32 g carbo.; 193 mg sodium; 20 mg chol.

Wild Rice and Sourdough Dressing with Almonds

1/2 pound (1/2 of a 1-lb. loaf) sourdough bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 6 cups total) 1/2 cup slivered almonds 3/4 pound Italian turkey or pork sausage 2 large (about 1 lb. total) onions, chopped 1 tablespoon minced fresh or 1 teaspoon crumbled dried rosemary leaves 1 tablespoon minced fresh or 1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage 1 1/3 cups wild rice, rinsed and drained About 6 cups regular-strength chicken broth 1 to 2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine Fresh rosemary or parsley sprigs Salt

Spread bread cubes on a 10- by 15-inch pan. Bake in a 350|degrees~ oven, stirring occasionally, until dry and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Pour from pan. (*If making ahead, package airtight when cool and hold up to 3 days at room temperature.)

In the same pan, spread almonds. Bake in a 350|degrees~ oven until lightly toasted, 10 to 15 minutes; shake pan occasionally. Pour from pan. (*If making ahead, package airtight when cool and chill up to 3 days.)

Remove sausage from casings and crumble meat into same 10- by 15-inch pan. Mix sausage with onions, rosemary, and sage. Bake in a 450|degrees~ oven until sausage and onions are well browned, about 50 minutes; stir often with a wide spatula. If mixture sticks before it browns, add 1/2 cup broth; scrape pan to free browned bits. Drain; discard any fat.

Meanwhile, in a 2- to 3-quart pan, combine rice and 4 cups broth. Bring to a boil over high heat; cover and simmer until rice is tender to bite, 45 to 60 minutes; stir occasionally. Drain rice, reserving liquid. (*At this point, you can cover and chill sausage mixture, rice, and liquid up to 3 days.)

Measure reserved broth and add enough more broth to make 3 cups. Pour into a bowl with 5 cups of the bread cubes; stir occasionally, until bread softens and absorbs liquid, about 10 minutes. Squeeze bread with hands to pulverize. Add rice and sausage mixture; mix well. Spoon into a shallow 3- to 3 1/2-quart casserole (about 9 by 13 in.) and pat to make level. Cover casserole tightly with foil. Bake in a 350|degrees~ oven until hot in center, about 40 minutes (50 minutes if ingredients are chilled). Mix remaining 1 cup bread cubes with melted butter. Uncover dressing; scatter cubes and nuts onto it. Bake until cubes are hot and crisp, about 5 minutes. Garnish with rosemary; add salt to taste. Makes about 8 cups, 8 to 10 servings.

Per serving: 261 cal. (32 percent from fat); 12 g protein; 9.3 g fat (1.3 g sat.); 33 g carbo.; 327 mg sodium; 30 mg chol.

Oat Pilaf with Hazelnuts and Scotch

3/4 cup hazelnuts 2 large (about 1 lb. total) onions, chopped About 6 1/2 cups regular-strength beef broth 3 cups oat groats (uncut grains) About 6 tablespoons Scotch whisky 1/3 cup minced green onions

Place hazelnuts in a shallow 3- to 3 1/2-quart casserole (about 9 by 13 in.) Bake at 350|degrees~ until nuts are lightly browned under skins, about 15 minutes; shake pan occasionally.

Pour nuts onto towel; rub with towel to free as much of the skins as possible. Lift from towel; discard skins. Coarsely chop nuts; set aside.

In some casserole, combine chopped onions and 1/2 cup water. Bake in a 400|degrees~ oven until liquid evaporates and onions are browned at edges, about 30 minutes. Add 1/4 cup simmering hot broth; stir to free browned bits stuck to casserole. Continue baking, stirring occasionally, until liquid again evaporates and browned bits begin to stick. Add 1/4 cup broth and repeat process. Each step takes about 20 minutes.

Bring remaining 6 cups broth and oats to a boil in a 2- to 3-quart pan over high heat. Add to casserole; stir to combine with onions. Cover casserole tightly with foil. Bake in a 400|degrees~ oven until oats are tender to bite, about 30 minutes.

Uncover; stir in Scotch to taste. Sprinkle with nuts and green onions. To each portion, add more Scotch. Makes about 6 cups, 6 to 8 servings.

Per serving: 352 cal. (28 percent from fat); 13 g protein; 11 g fat (1.2 g sat.); 47 g carbo.; 8.5 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Green Rice with Pistachios

2 cups long-grain white rice 5 1/2 cups regular-strength chicken broth 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1 1/2 tablespoons canned green peppercorns in brine, rinsed and drained 3/4 pound spinach leaves, rinsed, drained, and finely chopped (about 3 cups packed) 1 cup minced parsley 1/2 cup roasted and salted pistachios, coarsely chopped

Spread rice in a shallow 3- to 3 1/2-quart casserole (about 9 by 13 in.). Bake, uncovered, in a 350|degrees~ oven until grains are toasted to a light brown, about 35 minutes; stir occasionally.

In a 2- to 3-quart pan, combine 5 cups broth with nutmeg and peppercorns. Bring to a boil. With casserole on oven rack, stir broth into rice. Cover dish tightly with foil.

Bake in a 350|degrees~ oven until liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Stir at 10 and 15 minutes; recover dish.

Uncover rice, stir in remaining 1/2 cup broth, spinach, and 3/4 cup parsley; bake 5 minutes longer. Stir rice and sprinkle with remaining parsley and pistachios. Makes about 9 cups, 8 to 10 servings.

Per serving: 203 cal. (20 percent from fat); 6 g protein; 4.6 g fat (0.8 g sat.); 34 g carbo.; 111 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Aromatic Rice with Toasted Pecans

4 3/4 cups regular-strength chicken broth 1 tablespoon mustard seed 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander 2 cups pecan or other aromatic rice such as basmati or Texmati 3/4 cup pecan halves 2 to 3 tablespoons minced green onions or chives

In a 2- to 3-quart pan, combine 4 1/2 cups broth, mustard seed, peel, coriander, and rice. Bring to a boil.

Set a shallow 3- to 3 1/2-quart casserole on a rack in a 400|degrees~ oven. Pour boiling rice mixture into casserole; cover very tightly with foil. Bake until broth is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

Uncover and stir 1/4 cup broth into rice; scatter nuts onto rice. Continue to bake until nuts are lightly toasted, about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle casserole with green onions. Makes about 8 cups, 8 to 10 servings.

Per serving: 218 cal. (28 percent from fat); 4.6 g protein; 6.7 g fat (0.7 g sat.); 34 g carbo.; 26 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.
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Title Annotation:Holiday Entertaining; recipes
Author:Anusasananan, Linda Lau; Weber, Christine
Publication:Sunset
Date:Nov 1, 1992
Words:2222
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