Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanksgiving test run

I had Thanksgiving on the brain this past weekend. I just couldn’t wait until Thursday to sample some roasted bird and savory side dishes. Since we don’t currently host our families’ Thanksgiving gatherings but probably will someday, I decided to do a test run of some of Melissa Clark’s Thanksgiving side dish recipes that ran in last Wednesday’s New York Times.

The pumpkin, white bean and kale ragout was absolutely delicious, and so healthy with all of those vegetables and legumes. I substituted butternut squash for the pumpkin. (Does anyone have any hot tips on how to peel a butternut squash? It’s such a pain.) Instead of traditional kale, I used Russian kale that I had purchased from Toad Hill Farm at the North Market. Unlike its sibling, Russian kale doesn’t have those cabbagey, tough, enormous leaves that dwarf your cutting board and take forever to soften in the sauté pan. Russian kale’s dark green leaves are small, light and feathery, and after plucking off the stems, I sautéed the leaves to softness in no time at all.

Unfortunately, my attempt at the corn bread and broccoli rabe strata was rather unsuccessful. Perhaps it was the bland corn bread recipe I used, or the fact that I substituted broccoli for broccoli rabe. Ah, well. I don’t feel the need to try it again.

For the meal’s main event, my companion roasted a whole chicken from North Market Poultry and Game. We both remarked that, unlike the plastic-wrapped boneless, skinless chicken breasts we often buy, this bird tasted so much more…chickeny. It reminded us both of the baked chicken our moms would make when we were kids.

For dessert, I would have loved to try this cranberry tart, but alas, I ran out of time. That’s okay — I think I still have many years left to refine my future Thanksgiving repertoire.


Blogger Ben said...

All those recipes sound delicious. I have never cooked a Thanksgiving dinner, this year I am going to the in-laws, but maybe next year will be my first. I will keep in mind these suggestions.


9:06 AM  
Blogger MUDNYC said...

Butternut squash peeling, yuck! I just use a sharp knife. Losing some of the squash in the process, I'm sure, but hopefully keeping all of my fingers. The easiest way is the roast it, then the skin just peels off, but of course, most recipes don't need roast butternut squash.

12:31 PM  

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