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I make this every year (we always have a turkey either at Thankgiving or Christmas), and it's an adaptation of a family recipe using orange zest. My wife found the zest too bitter so I switched to apples, adding sumac to replace the brightness and light bitterness of the missing oranges.
1 bag of cranberries (12 ounces)
1 sweet and crisp apple (Honeycrisp, Fuji, Braeburn, etc.), peeled, seeded, and diced (you can include the core), about 1 1/2 cups
1/4 teaspoon salt
Sugar, to taste (or sweetener of your choice)
Garlic and bread are great with beef. My version adds dried herbs and a crispy breadcrumb topping.
1 loaf soft French or Italian bread (the soft grocery store ones are actually best for this)
1/4 cup finely minced fresh garlic
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar (optional, if using omit the salt)
1/2 cup buttered breadcrumbs (in a skillet melt 1 Tbsp of butter then stir in breadcrumbs and cook until light brown, or you can use olive oil or mayonnaise for a dairy-free version)
I love greens served with a ham, but for most traditional recipes you need a ham bone to cook the greens. This recipe solves that Catch-22 and happens to not contain any meat at all. It's refreshing and light but deeply flavorful.
2 pounds of washed collard greens, trim the stem end, cut the leaves in half along the stem, then cut into strips crosswise
2 Tbsp red miso
2 cups water
1 piece of kombu kelp (about 6" x 2")
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thin
1/4 cup olive oil
Guacamole for me is all about the avocado, and while California avocados were never in season in November when I was growing up, thanks to Mexico, Thanksgiving now coincides with prime season for the Haas variety. This version is short on ingredients but long on flavor. Use the best avocados you can find.
3 ripe Haas avocados*
1/2 small sweet or white onion, 1/8" dice
Juice of 1/2 lime (about 1 tablespoon)
Salt, to taste
Optional: fresh cilantro, fresh jalapeño
*Avocado tips: buy them green and hard, make sure the skins aren't spotty, and that the stem is firmly attached. Ripen them on the counter until the stem end yields gently to the touch, generally 4-7 days (if you need them to ripen faster put them together with bananas in a paper bag, the ethylene gas from the bananas will speed the process). When they are ripe you can move them to the top shelf in the refrigerator to maintain peak freshness and texture for a few more days
In a food processor combine all ingredients except the sweetener and pulse until you form a coarse puree. Sweeten to taste (the addition of cinnamon will let you use less sugar) and refrigerate for 1 hour before using. Will keep for about 2 weeks in the refrigerator, and can be frozen for longer storage (I just defrosted some from last year and it was fine!)
* For a bit more bitterness and crunch, try stirring in a handful of pomegranate arils
Preheat oven to 350°F. Split the bread lengthwise almost all of the way through, or slice in rounds on the bias, as you prefer. Bread that is halved will be a bit chewier, and if sliced will end up a bit more crisp.
Mix the garlic, salt (if not using cheese), olive oil, and herbs together and use to coat the bread in a thin and even layer. Top with cheese (if using), then breadcrumbs. Bake on a sheet pan in the oven until lightly browned (about 8 minutes), then optionally broil until crisp (this happens fast so don't walk away!)
* Note that depending on the size of your bread loaf you may need more topping, follow the proportions above.
Combine all ingredients except the vinegar in a large pot, cover, and set over high heat. Once you near a boil, drop the heat to low and simmer until greens are soft (about 40 minutes). Adjust seasoning with vinegar and/or more spice.
Mix all of your ingredients together. If you'd like to go further down the guacamole rabbit-hole I have a more detailed recipe here.
To store guacamole, make sure none of the surface is in contact with air. Fill your container all the way or use a plastic bag and squeeze the air out. This guacamole can also be frozen as there are no tomatoes in it (which get mealy when frozen), so you can make a bunch now to enjoy later. Just defrost in the fridge overnight.
If you're having poultry
If you're having beef
If you're having ham
If you're having tacos
Here are a couple of non-traditional recipes that I've found make great centerpieces for a family meal:
Crispy Pork Shoulder - the cooking for this crowd-pleaser is mostly hands-off, leftovers are great for pulled-pork or tacos the next day.
Cumin Lamb Belly - one rack for every two people is perfect, serve with salads, pickles, and breads.
Shakshuka - in a paella pan! Triple or quadruple the recipe depending on the size of your pan, and finish it in the oven. Great with the garlic bread recipe above.
Food images and recipe © Christian Leue.
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