Green Beans with Chestnuts

serving in casseroleThis Thanksgiving side dish incorporates the Native American foods chestnuts and pine nuts tossed with Blue Lake green beans, red onion, shallot, and  roasted almonds in a butter bath.

Ingredients:

One pound, more or less, Blue Lake green beans

4 Tb (1/2 cube) salted butter

1/2 red onion

1 shallot

5.2 oz package chestnuts, peeled and precooked (available at Trader Joe’s and Berkeley Bowl)

3 Tb pine nuts

About 1/4 tsp salt to taste

Several grinds black pepper

1/4 cup roasted almond pieces (available at Berkeley Bowl)

Directions:

boil beans

Fill a 3 1/2 or 4 quart pot with cold water and bring to a boil. Cut the ends off the green beans and cut into 2 inch pieces. Boil for 5 minutes, until they turn bring green.

While waiting for water to boil, fill a large bowl with ice and ice water. When beans have finished cooking, drain them over a colander then plunge into the ice bath.’

Melt butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Thinly slice the red onion and shallot and saute in the butter over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes until they are soft.

chopping chestnutsSlice chestnuts and toss them and pine nuts into the onions for a few minutes. Add salt black pepper

mix in large pot.jpgDrain green beans, and be careful to remove any pieces of ice. Put green beans into a large pot. Scrape all the onion chestnut mixture over the green beans and toss well with toasted almond pieces. Adjust salt.

Spoon into a flat casserole dish if planning to reheat.

Serve as is, or make ahead and reheat in the microwave.

 

 

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Drunken Pecan Sweet Potato Pie

pieA pecan walks into a bar, orders a shot of Jim Beam and jumps into the glass. The bartender looks at it, shakes his head and says “You’re nuts.”

This has got to be the best sweet potato pie I have ever tasted. It combines a pecan pie topping made from bourbon soaked pecans atop a creamy, spicy, sweet potato filling. I infuse the cooked yams with cinnamon sticks just after baking to give it an earthy cinnamon flavor. It’s lower in fat than most sweet potato pies and not overly sweet.

This recipe works best when the cook is singing along with Ray Charles and James Taylor’s  “Sweet Potato Pie” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzZle2RDzTc

Ingredients:

drunken-pecans

FILLING

3 medium orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, such as Garnet (also called yams)
6 thin cinnamon sticks
3 large eggs
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
3 Tablespoons melted unsalted butter
2 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 tsp cayenne

PECAN SOAK
3/4 cup raw pecans halves
3 Tb Jim Beam bourbon

PECAN TOPPING
2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 Tablespoon melted unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt (if using salted butter, put in just a pinch)
¼ teaspoon cinnamon                                                                                                                                      1 Tb heavy cream

Pour bourbon over pecans and let soak for 3 hours.

Make a single pie crust in a standard 9-inch pie pan or a tart pan and freeze it. Blind bake it just before filling.

Roast pierced sweet potatoes on a  foil-lined cookie sheet at 375° for about 1 ½ hours until very tender when pierced. Half-way through cooking time (45 minutes), turn the yams over.

cinnamon stick in yamI

Immediately after you pull them from the oven, pierce each end of the potatoes and insert a cinnamon stick lengthwise all the way through each end. Cover yams with foil and let cool. You can do this part a day before. Peel potatoes and remove cinnamon sticks. Purée the flesh in a food processor until smooth. Measure 2 cups.

Set oven to 350°. Beat eggs in a mixer until frothy. Pour pecan-infused bourbon from pecan soak into the eggs. Beat in remaining filling ingredients until well blended. The filling will be thick. Pour into a hot pre-baked 9″ pie crust and spread level. Use a pie crust protector or wrap pie rim with 4 strips of foil  to prevent it from burning, and bake pie for 30 minutes.
caramelized-topping

Meanwhile, melt butter in a small saucepan. Stir in maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and salt and heat to boiling. Let boil for just a minute, then turn off heat. Add cream and stir until smooth. Stir in pecans, coating them well with the caramel syrup..

pecans-coated-with-toppingStir in pecans,
Take the pie out of the oven and remove foil from pie crust. Make 2 concentric circles of pecans around the pie. Spoon extra caramel topping over the pecans.

ready for the oven

Continue to bake until center jiggles only slightly when shaken gently, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool on a rack at least 2 hours.
Enjoy topped with maple-syrup sweetened whipped cream.

Low-fat cornbread and chestnut stuffing

close up of stuffingThis fragrant stuffing uses less bread than traditional stuffing, and uses only  2 Tb olive oil and 1/2 cube butter.

You can make a gluten-free stuffing using my recipe for gluten-free cornbread. You can also make this a vegetarian recipe by using vegetable broth or mushroom broth and either skip the turkey sausage or use a vegetarian sausage.

Stuff your turkey, then bake the rest in a casserole dish. Because I brine my turkey, I only add salt to the stuffing that I bake separately.

produce for stuffing

Ingredients

Half of an  8 × 8 pan of Rosemary-scented cornbread or gluten-free cornbread, cut into cubes to make about 4 cups. (This way you get to nosh on the cornbread before making the stuffing!) cube the cornbread 2 Tb olive oil, divided

½ pound turkey sausage without casings

½ cube (1/4 cup) butter (use only 2 Tb if adding sausage)

2 cups chopped onion (about 1 medium onion)

2 cups chopped celery (use the inside stalks, reserving the outside ones to surround the roasting turkey)

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 red bell pepper, chopped (remove seeds and ribs)

1 cup sliced mushrooms

2 Granny Smith apples, chopped

2 tsp rubbed sage

1 tsp minced fresh sage

3 Tb fresh thyme OR 2 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp minced fresh rosemary

½ tsp (several grinds) black pepper

1 cup roasted chestnuts (shelled), sliced or crumbled (about 10 large chestnuts)

½  cup chopped parsley

1/4 cup pecan pieces

2 Tb dried cranberries

2 eggs

1 ½ cup turkey or chicken broth

½ to 1 tsp salt to taste (unless used for stuffing a brined turkey)

Make Turkey broth:

1 ½  cups water

turkey neck and giblets

1 onion, finely chopped

several stalks celery with leaves, cut up

1 clove garlic, minced

On Tuesday or Wednesday before Thanksgiving, boil turkey neck and giblets in water with celery and chopped onion and  garlic for an hour or more. Strain into a container and use to moisten this stuffing. (Reserve giblets if you like chopped giblets in your gravy.)

Briefly parboil, then roast chestnuts (be sure to cut them first so they don’t burst!) at 425′ for 15 minutes. Let cool, then shell them. I found it’s easier to scoop the meat out with a teaspoon.  (Or buy the precooked, shelled ones at Trader Joe’s if you don’t want to spend all that time peeling them.)

Make cornbread on Wednesday before Thanksgiving. You can also cube and roast the butternut squash on Wednesday:

If using turkey sausage, fry in a pan until browned and crumbly.

Heat another Tb oil and the butter in a large, heavy frying pan. Stir-fry onions, celery, bell pepper, mushrooms, apples, and garlic over medium heat until they soften. Add sausage if using, butternut squash, dried cranberries, pecans, chestnuts, parsley and herbs and heat a few minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the broth until warm. Beat the eggs and add  broth. Gently add to the cubed cornbread and other ingredients.

If not stuffing your turkey, bake in a  9 x 13 baking dish sprayed with olive oil at 350◦ for 45 minutes until the top is toasted. Alternatively, use the microwave since the oven’s got the turkey in it: 15 min should do it. You can finish it off in the oven for a crunchy top.

Thanksgiving Recipes

I am delighted to share my posts for a Thanksgiving feast. I am thankful that you have taken the time to read my posts and perhaps tried out the recipes. Happy Thanksgiving! Roz

Thanksgiving Turkey

chunky-kabocha-soup-with-appeal

Chunky Kabocha Soup with Appeal

???????????????????????????????Kabocha Squash Coconut Soup

Two Autumn Fruit Salads: Sweet and Spinach

serving in casserole

Green Beans with Chestnuts

Light as a feather cream biscuits

Fruit juice sweetened, no sugar Jellied Cranberry Sauce

Low fat creamy garlic mashed potatoes

Rosemary and olive oil cornbread

Abuelita Luz’s Camote con leche (Yam Pudding)

fluted pie crust

pie crust

DSC03214Pumpkin Pie

pie slice

Drunken Pecan Sweet Potato Pie

Light as a feather cream biscuits

These are the lightest biscuits I’ve ever tasted. They are made with cream and the dough is handled as little as possible so that the gluten is not developed. Not exactly health food, but wonderful just out of the oven at holiday feasts.

I make bunny biscuits each Easter.

Be careful about putting 2 bunny biscuits together or you will end up with more biscuits than you can eat!

You can make the dough ahead of time and refrigerate it. Pop it into the oven just before serving the first course.

Thanks to Susan whose recipe inspired these:

Makes 12 biscuits.

Ingredients:

2 cups flour

1  Tb baking powder

1/4 tsp salt (I use sea salt)

1 1/2 cups cold cream. I put it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before mixing it in the dough.

3 Tb melted butter, cooled

Preheat oven to 450′

Melt butter and let it cool. Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl. Add cream and slowly stir until the dough is shaggy.

Oil a cookie sheet. I use the insulated kind. Grab a piece of dough the size of the biscuit you wish to make. Dip each biscuit into the melted butter and place on the cookie sheet.

For bunny biscuits, shape the dough 1 1/2 thick and cut it with a deep bunny cookie cutter. (Dip the cutter into flour first.) I dust the tops with a tiny bit of flour instead of dipping them in butter, to make white bunnies.

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Low fat creamy garlic mashed potatoes

Low fat creamy garlic mashed potatoes

Mashed potatoes can be creamy and flavorful without all the calories from cream and large amounts of butter. Enjoy these with your Thanksgiving turkey and gravy.

Do not use green or sprouted potatoes which will be bitter, or those which have cracks or mold spots. Store unwashed potatoes in a dark, cool, dry, well- ventilated place such as a pantry shelf. Sunlight can turn them green, which can be mildly toxic.

Serves 8

4 pounds russet potatoes (about 6 large potatoes). (Burbank russets are best).

2 Tb salt for boiling, 1/2 tsp salt at end

1/2 cup milk

2 Tb butter

2 garlic cloves, smashed

several grinds pepper

Make your mashed potatoes close to serving time. They are best this way.

Scrub potatoes, then cut into large chunks. Use a large stainless steel pot; (aluminum or cast iron can turn the potatoes gray). Place potatoes with 2 cloves smashed garlic and 2 Tb salt  in the pot and cover them with cold water by 1 inch.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and cook for 12-15 minutes until soft. Drain potatoes in a colander, then peel (unless you like the peel on). Heat the milk, butter, several grinds pepper, and 1/2 tsp salt in the microwave or in a pan until hot, but not boiling. While milk is heating, either shred the potatoes and garlic with the shredding disk of a food processor, or pass through a potato ricer. Transfer to a large bowl.

Stir the milk mixture gently into the potatoes. Do not over-beat, or the potatoes will become gluey.

Next morning fried leftover mashed potatoes:

Crispy – Creamy potatoes, lower in fat than hash-browns. Great as a side to eggs. Melt 1-2 tsp butter in a large, heavy skillet, such as cast iron. Make an even layer of  1-2 cups leftover mashed potatoes. Let it cook over medium heat for several minutes until bottom is brown. Using a metal spatula, turn over potatoes several times so that they brown on all sides.