Escarole is sweeter sautéed, but adds a nice crunch in a seasonal salad. Roughly chop it and toss with Dijon vinaigrette to cut the bitterness. Or, for something a bit more elaborate, make xató, a classic Catalan salad topped with a romesco-like sauce, and served with anchovy, tuna, and salt cod (baccala). Make the most of January's bounty with two different types of escarole salad when you read more.
Smoked salmon, cream, and grated potato pancakes are a classic pairing — but on a busy night like New Year's Eve, skip the labor-intensive task of grating potatoes and halve them instead. If you prefer a pared-down flavor profile, top potatoes with a simple combination of salmon, fennel, lemon, and sour cream.
For a blowout appetizer, up the sophistication factor by stuffing delicate fingerlings with a home-preserved lemon topping, crème fraîche, and indulgent — but sustainable — American caviar. See both options when you read on.
Chestnuts contain twice as much starch as potatoes, but they're low in fat, high in fiber, and possess a sweet, nutty flavor that pairs well with the slight bitterness of caramelized brussels sprouts. Sing along to Nat King Cole's "Christmas Song" as you toss already-roasted whole chestnuts into the simmer. Or, go the completely authentic route, buying fresh kernels and roasting them yourself. See both versions of a staple holiday side dish when you read more.
Regardless of how little you know about duck, you can't go wrong with its à l'orange preparation; the acidity of a sweet-tart orange glaze cuts through the fowl's robust flavor. Go all out by reducing the orange juice and segmenting fresh oranges to serve alongside the roast; otherwise, a pre-made glaze like orange marmalade does the trick. Make either version when you keep reading.
Typically, French onion soup begins by caramelizing onions at a low temperature for an extended period, which brings out the onions' sweetness, adds silkiness, and enhances the soup's depth. But if you've got a lot on your plate, cut the time dramatically by using fewer ingredients and employing the help of French-fried onions.
Either way, you'll wind up with a dish that's comforting and not overly indulgent. Find a version that suits your schedule when you read more.
If you're on a tight timeline, keep things simple by using brown rice mix. Fluff in sweetness and crunch by adding dried fruit, almonds, and orange zest. Alternatively, build layers of complexity by browning aromatic vegetables, slow-boiling the rice separately, and then baking the components together to fuse all of the dish's earthy flavors. See both options when you read more.
Ironically, despite the dish's opulent appearance, a roulade is rather simple, and can make for an ideal entree at a beginner's Thanksgiving. Lean on gourmet canned vegetables, like marinated artichokes and mushrooms, to create the filling for your rolled turkey. Or, if you're up to the challenge, make a traditional roulade that's served with from-scratch stuffing and a cider gravy. Does either interest you? Then read more.
Why not spring for the always stress-free and elegant course known as stuffed squash? Keep it simple and fill the gourd with an Italian-inspired medley of sausage, garlic, peppers, and cheese. Alternately, add another layer of texture by simmering couscous, then fluffing it into a sweet-savory dressing of ground beef, onions, cranberries, and walnuts. For a Thanksgiving side — or everyday meal! — that's sophisticated yet straightforward, keep reading.
The premise behind glazed carrots couldn't be more basic: you simmer the root vegetables in some form of sweetener (sugar, maple syrup, honey, etc.) until the sauce has thickened and coats the carrots.
If you're taking part in a beginner, budget-conscious, or fast Thanksgiving dinner, opt for a two-step recipe made of only four pantry ingredients. Alternately, add citrus for a side that has layers of complexity. Scope out both recipes after the break.