Thanksgiving sides: Please post your finest!

Okay, I am pretty okay with my turkey and tater techniques, but sides always seem to trip me up, mainly how to make T-Day sides that are not the usual boring stuff, are appropriate for the occasion, relatively straightforward to produce, and deliver maximum flavor. I’d love to get your input on ultimate T-Day sides!

Would this include vegetables, cranberry sauce, rolls and breads? Where are you leaning?

Anything! Bread might be a bit more work than I’m angling for, though!

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A wealth of options here:

Thanksgiving Recipes - The New York Times" onclick=";return false;

Those Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Figs sound awesome!

I’m assuming gravy & stuffing are givens.

Brussels sprouts are a favorite around here, either roasted, steamed then finished in a skillet until caramelized, or shredded with Dijon mustard & hazelnuts. Adding bacon is always a plus.

We always make rolls too.

NELLIE’S CORN PUDDING (with my minor variations and commentary)

1 egg, well beaten
1 cup whole milk (Mama’s way) or half and half (my way)
3 Tbsp. flour
Salt and black (Mama’s way) or white (my way) pepper, to taste
1-1/2 tsp. sugar (if using field corn, as we did, or grocery store “fresh” corn; not necessary with fresh* sweet corn)
1 Tbsp. melted butter
2 cups “cream style corn” [see Note, below]

Combine all ingredients in reverse order (why she didn’t just reverse the ingredient list I’ll never know, but I honor the tradition).
Pour into buttered casserole just large enough to hold it – my square 1-1/2 quart Pyrex works just fine.
Bake uncovered at 325F until pudding is “set” (jiggle the dish to find out) and edges begin to brown. Serve hot.

NOTE: The “cream style corn” called for here is not canned cream style vs.
whole kernel. Here it means fresh* corn sliced from the cob so that about
2/3 of each kernel is cut off and 1/3 stays on. You then scrape the cob with the back edge of your knife, “milking” what remains.

Fresh is best. We used frozen at Thanksgiving and Christmas when I was a young’un.
But it was corn we grew, picked in July, cut “cream style,” and put in the chest freezer on the back porch.
Daddy and I were in the field at at first light, before it started getting hot, and would pull 100-150 ears.
Back at the house, my job was shucking and silking. Daddy wielded the knife. Mama “blanched” and bagged.
I’m sure my sisters did something, that’s just not the way I remember it.

  • As Mama’s mama, Lottie Wilkes, told me: “You can walk out to the garden to pull the corn, but you gotta run back to the kitchen to cook it.”

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That being said, I do a melange of roasted root vegetables.

1lb. each carrots, turnips, parsnips, onion, cut in large, bite size pieces.

Tossed in EVOO, salt, fresh pepper and roasted at 425F until tender and browned. I even add fresh apple chunks to the mix to make it more wintry.

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This is really good. Even people who don’t like Brussels sprouts like it. It avoids the texture issue.

Always make a side of creamed onions that work very well with the dinner.

Peel a small bag, about 2 dozon white pearl or boiler onions.
Slightly brown the onions in a saute pan with butter.
After browning, add a can of low salt chicken broth and cook down by 2/3. This will also serve to cook the onions through and soften them
Add 1 cup heavy cream and cook down slightly.
Add salt, pepper and freshly ground nutmeg.

Can be made ahead of time and re-heated in the oven.

Bob - thank you for this. Lauren and I are doing an early Thanksgiving this weekend and I was looking for something interesting for the family.


I do something similar to this with a splash of balsamic rather than sugar. Last year I also added whole chestnuts - well received.

I also make a wild rice salad every year (wild rice, dried cranberries, chiffonade spinach or arugula, toasted pecans, snow pea pods (sliced on the bias) and some time olives and/or mandarine orange slices, dressed with lemon (or unflavored rice wine vinegar), oil and whatever herbs I fancy that week)

Don’t forget the really yummy stuff.

I will look for my recipe for Sugar Snap Peas and Pearl Onions done in browned butter or some such! My recipe program is on my failing laptop. So easy to post from MasterCook!

My go to T-Day recipes all were from an old Gourmet Mag that predates my first Thanksgivings that required me to cook. Really old!!! :slight_smile:

Thomas Keller has a recipe for butternut squash that I am thinking of making. We are invited to friends for Thanksgiving.

Naturally with TK’s recipes it appeals to my latent OCD, and I love producing thousands of little sugar cubes of yellow squash all with exactly the same dimensions.

But you saute that with lots of butter and sage and wild mushrooms, and WoW!!!

I think it’s from Bouchon…

And the color is to die for!

Ain’t it purdy? [rofl.gif]

My wife is Greek, so we do a stuffing recipe passed from her Papou ( grandfather).

Sautee ground beef and shredded mild sausage with sage in chicken or beef stock.

Add diced bell pepper, pine nuts, walnuts and onion once the meats are cooked.

Add cubes of bread, or boxed stuffing if you are in a pinch.

Simmer in a Dutch oven while you prepare the rest of your dinner.


The Thomas Keller recipe will be a good one to make since you are not responsible for an entire feast with many guests at your home and his dishes are so complex and particular in steps. Let us know how it turns out, Frank.

Hmm…have you discussed your OCD with Dr. Hudak?

Have a very happy Thanksgiving!

Nancy, I looked it up in “Bouchon” and was reminded that it’s paired with some very scary gnocchi.

I am tempted to do the whole nine yards but I opened a separate topic in case anyone else has tried this.

The mushrooms ought to be fun. I’ve seen some new varieties (varietals?) in local Asian markets so I might not limit that to Shiitake…