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A new twist on traditional Thanksgiving dishes

Create your own traditions this year with these new ideas for Thanksgiving dishes.

Green Beans and Shitake Mushrooms

You can substitute cremini mushrooms or dried shitakes for fresh ones. The stems of dried shitakes should be removed because they are tough.

  • 6 tbsp. butter 90 mL
  • 8 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps sliced 250 g
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 lb. slender green beans, trimmed 1 kg
  • 2/3 c. can low-salt chicken broth 150 mL

Melt three tablespoons (45 mL) butter in large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shiitake mushrooms and saute until tender, about five minutes. Transfer mushrooms to medium bowl. Melt remaining three tablespoons (45 mL) butter in same skillet. Add shallots and garlic and saute until tender, about two minutes. Add green beans and toss to coat with butter. Pour broth over green bean mixture.

Simmer until liquid evaporates and green beans are crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in shiitake mushrooms. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to platter and serve. Makes eight servings. Source: Adapted from Bon Appetit.

Eggplant Parmesan with Fresh Mozzarella

  • 3/4 c. plus 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided 175 + 30 mL
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 10 garlic cloves, 2 finely chopped, 8 whole
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste30 mL
  • 1-28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes 875 mL
  • kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 4 medium or 8 small eggplants (about 4 pounds), halved lengthwise
  • 8 sprigs oregano
  • 1 1/4 c. coarse fresh bread crumbs 310 mL
  • 12 oz. fresh mozzarella, torn into bite-size pieces 365 g
  • 3/4 c. Parmesan cheese, finely grated 175 mL

Heat 1/4 cup (60 mL) oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, about eight minutes. Add chopped garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about one minute. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, until beginning to darken, about two minutes.

Add tomatoes, crushing them with your hands as you add them, then season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, mashing tomatoes occasionally until slightly thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Set tomato sauce aside.
Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C). Using a vegetable peeler, remove skin from rounded side of each eggplant half, leaving a one-inch (2.5 cm) strip of skin around the cut edges. Divide eggplants, oregano sprigs, whole garlic cloves, and one-half cup (125 mL) oil between two large rimmed baking sheets. Turn eggplants to coat with oil. Season with salt and pepper and place cut side down. Cover baking sheets tightly with foil and bake until eggplants are soft, 40 to 45 minutes.
Toss bread crumbs and remaining two tablespoons (30 mL) oil in a medium bowl. Transfer eggplants, oregano and garlic to two large shallow baking dishes, placing eggplants cut side up.
Top eggplants with tomato sauce and mozzarella, then sprinkle with bread crumbs and Parmesan. Bake until mozzarella is bubbling and bread crumbs are golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Tomato sauce can be made three days ahead.
Let cool, cover and chill. Eggplants can be cooked one day ahead. Keep covered and chill. Entire dish can be assembled four hours ahead. Cover and chill. Serves eight. Source: Adapted from Bon Appetit.

Kabocha Squash Gnocchi

Kabocha squash tastes like a sweet potato and is creamy and smooth. You can use half mashed potatoes and half squash, also.

  • 2 c. kabocha squash, roasted and pureed 500 mL
  • 1/2 c. fresh ricotta 125 mL
  • 2 tbsp. finely grated Parmesan cheese 30 mL
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 c. all purpose flour 500 mL

Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). Prick squash all over with a fork and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes or until tender.
When done, remove from oven and let cool to room temperature. Remove the skin and seeds and mash in a bowl with a fork. Stir in ricotta, nutmeg, Parmesan, salt and pepper.
Begin adding the flour, 1/2 cup (125 mL) at a time, gently mixing with a fork or your hands.

Continue adding flour until it becomes a dough that you can roll into ropes. You want a soft dough so only incorporate enough flour to make it a touchable dough without adding too much weight.
Tear off a piece of dough and roll into a 1/2 inch (1 cm) thick rope on a floured surface. Use a lot of flour on the counter so you can add more if the dough is too sticky.
Cut the rope into one-inch (2.5 cm) pieces. Toss them in the flour to coat all the cut ends. Roll each gnocchi across the back of fork tines. Set them on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Place gnocchi in the freezer until you are ready to use them. If you are not using them right away, place the frozen gnocchi in a tightly sealed freezer bag. They can be kept frozen up to three weeks.
To serve, bring a large pot of salted water to a full boil. Add gnocchi and cook until they rise to the surface. When they float, they are done. Drain. To serve, melt butter in a saute pan over medium low heat until it browns slightly. Add a few fresh sage leaves and the drained gnocchi. Toss to coat and serve immediately. Makes enough for about 12 servings.

Carrot and Pea Risotto

  • vegetable oil
  • 1/2 c. onion, diced 125 mL
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced 5 mL
  • 2 c. Arborio rice 500 mL
  • 2 tsp. salt 10 mL
  • 5 c. carrot juice 1.25 L
  • 2 c. vegetable stock 500 mL
  • 1/2 c. white wine 125 mL
  • 1/2 c. green onions, sliced 125 mL
  • 1 c. fresh or frozen peas 250 mL

In a heavy bottomed pot, heat a small amount of vegetable oil. Saute the onion and garlic until almost transparent, then add the rice and stir to coat in oil. Season with salt.
In another pot, combine the carrot juice and vegetable stock and heat. Set aside and keep warm.
Add the white wine to the rice and let the rice absorb it. Slowly add heated stock mixture one cup (250 mL) at a time. Keep the remaining stock warm. Simmer over medum-low heat, stirring frequently and adding stock as needed. Make sure the rice remains just covered with liquid.
Continue cooking and stirring until the rice is tender but slightly chewy. Add peas and green onion and cook until they are done, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper and serve. Source: Adapted from Bishop’s the Cookbook.

Don’t forget to enter our Creative Gifts for the Holidays Contest! Share your innovative, homemade gift ideas and photos with us to be entered in a holiday gift draw Nov. 15. Submit entries to team@producer.com or Box 2500, Saskatoon, Sask. S7K 2C4.

Sarah Galvin is a home economist, teacher and farmers’ market vendor at Swift Current, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. She writes a blog at allourfingersinthepie.blogspot.ca. Contact: team@producer.com.

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