28 November 2010

Thanksgiving: The Sides (part 2)

There were a lot of side dishes yesterday. Along with corn and eggplant from our guests, we served roasted white and purple potatoes, baked sweet potato mash, homemade stuffing, homemade biscuits, broccoli, chard with garlic chips, and maybe even something else that I've forgotten since.

Roast Potatoes
Serves 5 with leftovers

10 large potatoes
Duck fat

I peeled and chopped each potato into three good-sized chunks before boiling them in salted water. Once soft (this took longer than necessary as I purposely kept the stove on a low heat), they were drained and Tom 'fluffed' the potatoes by putting them back into the dry cooking pan and shaking them roughly. It's a Delia trick, apparently, and one he swears by. At this point the duck had been removed from its cooking tray, and the potatoes were put into this. The duck fat was spooned over the potatoes and they were roasted for roughly two hours at 160 degrees (320 Fahrenheit).

Baked Sweet Potato Mash
Serves 5 with plenty of leftovers

A huge sack of sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons cream
1 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoons butter

First of all, regarding the amount of potatoes used: I have no idea. It took me about half an hour to peel all of them. They were of varying size and came in a big heavy bag from the school's bus driver, which I mentioned a few days ago. Sorry.

I peeled the potatoes, boiled them, and mashed them with cream, milk and butter. The mash was spooned into a large baking dish and baked for twenty minutes at 180 degrees (360 Fahrenheit). The best mash I've ever tasted.

From this recipe
Serves 5 - I don't think there were any leftovers of this

4 slices white bread
4 rashers bacon
1 onion
3 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 egg
1 handful dried cranberries
Seasoning (every herb in the kitchen)

I tore the bread into chunks and blitzed these chunks in our mini-blender. Meanwhile, I diced the onion and garlic, and tore the bacon into small bits over a hot oiled pan. After a few moments of frying, I added the onion and garlic, turning the heat off a minute later. I left the bacon mixture in the pan to cool for about twenty minutes before adding it, along with the fat, to the breadcrumbs. I added the lemon juice, a ton of seasoning - as mentioned, every herb we own was used liberally, plus salt and pepper - and an egg to solidify everything a bit more. A handful of dried cranberries was later stirred through. The stuffing was left on the side for probably three hours, perhaps longer, before being baked for twenty minutes at 180 degrees (360 Fahrenheit).

From this recipe
Makes 9 biscuits

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon active dried yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup milk with 1 teaspoon lemon vinegar

I mixed the flour, baking powder, yeast, sugar and salt in a bowl. Melted the butter in the microwave before adding the milk and vinegar to the butter bowl (this makes buttermilk). Stirred the wet ingredients into the dry and left to sit for, again, about three hours before baking for 15 minutes at 180 degrees (360 Fahrenheit). Drop biscuits like this are brilliant, because all you do is take a spoonful of the dough and drop it straight on to the tray (hence the name). No rolling out dough or anything. They were, however, slightly too salty.

Vegetables: plain broccoli and garlic-chip-chard
Serves 5

2 heads broccoli
2 large handfuls of chard leaves
8 garlic cloves

I chopped up the broccoli, reserving the lower woody part of the stem for another time, and boiled it in salted water. Once cooked, I drained it and kept it warm before serving.
I sliced the garlic cloves into 'chips' and put them in a cold pan with oil. They slowly cooked on a low heat until slightly golden. The chard leaves were then stirred into the pan to sauté. Once wilted, the heat was turned off. This was possibly the least successful part of the meal, but at least it was only a small part. The chard was still slightly wet from having defrosted, and should have been cut into smaller pieces - each leaf is really big!