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Giada reinvents Thanksgiving sides: Cranberry soup, more

Put away the canned cranberry sauce and sweet potato souffle: Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis is reinventing Thanksgiving sides. Here, she makes a sweet potato salad with maple syrup dressing, cranberry soup with curried breadcrumbs, and bacon bourbon Brussels sprout skewers.

Bacon bourbon Brussels sprout skewers
Servings:

Makes 15 to 20 skewers

Ingredients

    • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 6 tablespoons dark brown sugar
    • 2/3 cup bourbon
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 pound slab bacon, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
    • 1 pound small Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved if needed
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • Nonstick cooking spray
    • 15 to 20 (8-inch) bamboo skewers

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Heat a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add the butter and allow it to cook until the butter begins to brown and starts to smells nutty, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the brown sugar and cayenne and cook another 2 minutes stirring regularly. Remove the pan from the heat and add the bourbon. Be careful as it will splatter. Place the pan back on the heat and ignite if desired. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until a smooth caramel has formed, another 3 minutes. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread the bacon on a small baking sheet and bake in the oven for 8 minutes, just to begin to render the fat. Set aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the sprouts and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes or until just barely tender and still bright green. Spread on a sheet tray to cool slightly. Toss with the olive oil and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt.Preheat the grill pan over medium heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Begin to assemble the skewers starting with a Brussels Sprout, then a piece of bacon, another sprout, another piece of bacon and finishing with a sprout. Continue until all of the skewers are assembled.  Brush the glaze lightly over the skewers. Place them on the prepared grill pan and grill, brushing them with glaze with every turn, until the bacon is beginning to crisp and the Brussels sprouts are starting to char, about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove and serve warm drizzled with any remaining glaze.

Tips:

Cooks Note: It may sound crazy, but the glaze for these Brussels sprouts also works well over chocolate ice cream with toasted pecans.

Cranberry soup with curried breadcrumbs
Servings:

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 onion, roughly chopped
    • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
    • 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
    • 1 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
    • 1 apple, such as honeycrisp, chopped
    • 1 pound cranberries
    • 1 cup apple juice
    • 2 1/2 cups water
    • 2 star anise
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 3 cardamom pods
    • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
    • 1/4 cup agave nectar, divided
    • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
    • Smoked olive oil to finish (optional)

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Heat a 3 quart sauce pan over medium heat. To the pan add the onion, carrot, celery and 1 teaspoon of salt and sauté for 4 minutes or until the vegetables are beginning to soften. Add the apple and cranberries and sauté for another 2 minutes. Deglaze with the apple juice and add the water, star anise, cinnamon stick and cardamom pods. Bring soup to a boil, and allow it to simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the star anise, cinnamon stick and cardamom pods and cool slightly.Meanwhile, in a small sauté pan, mix together the panko, 1 tablespoon agave, the curry powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Place over medium heat and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring often, until the breadcrumbs are fragrant and golden brown. Set aside to cool.In 2 batches, ladle the soup into the pitcher of a blender and puree until smooth. Return the pureed soup to a pan and bring to a gentle simmer. Turn off the heat and add the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and 3 tablespoons of agave. Ladle into bowls and top with the curried breadcrumbs. Drizzle with a little smoked or extra virgin olive oil if desired.

Tips:

Cooks Note: Smoked olive oil can be found at specialty food stores or ordered online. Regular extra virgin olive oil may be substituted.

Sweet potato salad with maple syrup dressing
Servings:

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

    • Vegetable oil cooking spray
    • 2 1/2 pounds (about 3 large) sweet potatoes or red garnet yams, peeled and diced into 3/4-inch pieces
    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • For dressing:

    • 1/3 cup plain yogurt
    • 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
    • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
    • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
    • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
    • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted (see Cook
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a heavy baking sheet with vegetable oil cooking spray.Toss together the sweet potatoes, olive oil and salt on the prepared baking sheet. Roast for 40 minutes until golden and tender.For the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, mascarpone cheese, maple syrup, mustard, salt, and pepper until smooth. Pour the dressing over the potatoes. Add the apple, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and parsley. Toss until all the ingredients are coated. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.Cook's Note: To toast the pumpkin seeds, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for 6 to 8 minutes until lightly toasted. Cool completely before using.

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