Holiday Side Dishes
Asiago and Dill New Potato CasserolePhotographed on Fiesta Dinnerwareby David Bulla
Holiday meals are what memories are made of. The meal is the central event that brings us all together. It doesn't matter what the holiday actually is; it could be Thanksgiving or Christmas. Or, you could be like me and have to work on the holidays, so your special meal at home may come before or after the actual day. What really matters is that the meal helps create the memories.
As a chef, the people I cook for hold me to a higher standard. I cook turkey as often as anyone else -- about once or twice a year. Yet, because I am a cooking professional, I am supposed to turn out a better turkey than anyone else. Therefore, I have to put a lot of effort into making sure I know what I am doing so that I can live up to everyone's inflated expectations. I start thinking about holiday meals about six months ahead of time, and with all that effort, I always deliver the goods.
Apricot Cranberry Chutney with Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
In a non reactive sauce pan, combine all the ingredients except for the pumpkin seeds, bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently until thickened and the cranberries have all popped, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow it to cool to room temperature. Stir in the roasted pumpkin seeds.
This recipe makes a large batch, and it can be frozen. It should keep for more than a week in the refrigerator. It is also a side dish that is practical to make ahead of time.
Corn and Roasted Chili Pudding
Horseradish Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Here is a trick for potatoes that get boiled for too long a period of time. Drain them, put them back in the pot and place in the oven to dry them out. The potatoes are cooked; you just don't want all the extra water they absorbed. The water evaporates, leaving the starch behind. Then you can add your butter and cream and mash away.
More Great SidesCombine the cream, eggs, dill, shallots, garlic and salt and pepper, and mix thoroughly. Add the cheese. Toss in the thinly sliced potatoes, making sure that everything is evenly distributed throughout. Spoon the potatoes into a buttered casserole dish. Pack the potatoes into the casserole, making sure air pockets between potato slices are minimal by rearranging the slices as necessary. Slowly pour in the remaining custard mixture until the custard comes up to the level of the potatoes. Depending on the dish used, and the thickness of your sliced potatoes, you may not have the exact amount of custard needed. If you have too little custard mix, make more with cup cream, 1 egg, and 1 teaspoon salt. If you have too much custard, you can add more potatoes or just discard the extra custard.
Sprinkle the top with additional asiago cheese and bake in a 325-degree oven for 1 to 2 hours depending on the size of the casserole. The potatoes are done when the top is a rich golden brown, and a knife inserted into the middle of the custard comes out clean without any wet custard mixture on it, and potatoes are soft. Most probably, the custard will cook before the potatoes are soft, so the texture is what you are most interested in here.
Allow the potatoes to rest for about 10-15 minutes before serving.
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