Thanksgiving Alternative – Potato Gratin with Olive Oil and Thyme

Potatoes are one of my favourite vegetables. At first blush, this may sound really boring but I believe the opposite. You can dress these fine tubers up in a hundred different ways….in a soup, roasted, steamed, mashed, baked…the list goes on and on.

Speaking of potatoes, I had decided that I would forgo the mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving this year and turn to something a little less traditional…potato gratin. Normally, I stuff as much creamy goodness into a gratin as I can but, as one of my guests is lactose intolerant, that just wasn’t going to work.

After a bit of research, I came across this recipe in an old issue of Fine Cooking (which you can find here). I dressed it up a bit with some caramelized onions and voila, a nice dish that wouldn’t make my guest ill for the rest of the night.

Potato & Olive Oil Gratin 3

Potato, Thyme and Olive Oil Gratin with Caramelized Onions (For Aunt Jen)

  • 6 Tbsp olive oil (divided)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 3 lb yellow potatoes (I would recommend Yukon Gold)
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • coarse salt & ground pepper
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves (divided)
  • 1/2 c. chicken stock

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Warm you Up – Chorizo and Chickpea Stew

This recipe is currently my favourite soup, and has held the title for quite a while now. Aside from being packed with healthy things (spinach and chickpeas, for example) it has the hearty warmth that I think we are all looking for when we pull out the stock pot at this time of year.

I also have a very funny story about this soup and a valuable lesson learned about making sure you open the little vents on the top of your blender lid when adding very hot liquid…you can fill in the blanks but suffice it to say that the mess was impressive.

Chorizo 3

Chorizo & Chickpea Stew
Adapted from the talented Jaime Oliver

  • glug of olive oil
  • 2 chorizo sausages – finely chopped
  • 1 onion – peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 sticks of celery – finely chopped
  • medium head of spinach –  washed and roughly chopped
  • 8 fresh tomatoes – de-seeded and roughly chopped
  • 28 oz can of chickpeas – rinsed
  • 5 c. chicken stock
  • coarse salt & ground black pepper
  • 55 grams-ish of proscuitto or if you can find it pata negra – finely chopped
  • 2 hard boiled eggs (don’t skip these…they add a lot to the soup)
  • olive oil (for garnish)

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Cranberries with Port and Rosemary

Although Canadian Thanksgiving has come and gone, here is a recipe that my American cousins might find helpful. I like this sauce because it is a beautiful balance of sweet and tart. Like all cranberry sauces, it only takes a few minutes to prepare. I should also add that I found an excellent use for the left overs…use it as a spread in a Cambazola and Proscuitto sandwich (in fact, it’s worth making this sauce for that purpose alone).

Craberries 1

Cranberries with Port and Rosemary

  • 1 bag of fresh cranberries, washed
  • 1/2 c. ruby port
  • 1/4 c. sugar (you may add more if you feel your sauce is too tart)
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, leaves picked off the stem and coarsely chopped
  • pinch of coarse salt

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Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta, Pears and Walnuts

The truth of the matter is I don’t like brussel sprouts…at all. However, as an act of love and devotion I promised to make them for my husband who does like them….on one condition. If I was going to cook them I was determined to take these green devils as far from their cabbage-y roots as possible. Hence the pancetta, pear and walnuts. The addition of this triple threat (in combination with the fact that the sprouts came nowhere near a pot of boiling water) almost made me forget my antipathy towards this vegetable.

Brussel Sprouts 2

Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta, Pears and Walnuts
(or “6’s dressed up as 9’s)

  • 1lb of brussel sprouts…it’s good to pick ones that are roughly the same size
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • glug of olive oil
  • 1 pear
  • 5 slices of pancetta…ask the deli counter person for a medium slice
  • 1/2 c. walnuts

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