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A Virtual Thanksgiving Feast!

November 24, 2008

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I’ve teamed up with a lovely group of bloggers to share some our favorite dishes for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday!

On the menu:

  • my Celery Root, Parsnip & Apple Puree
  • Tiffany’s Fennel, Apple & Cranberry Stuffing
  • Tiffany’s Brussel Sprouts with Virginia Ham
  • Sue’s Turkey
  • my Squash and Apple Bake
  • Kristin’s Apple and Pecan Tart
  • Grace’s Sweet Potato Cake with Praline Pecan Topping

Pop on over to each of these ladies’ blogs to say hello, and to get the recipes for those delicious-looking dishes!

And my contribution to this feast? Two of my favorite fall/winter/holiday side dishes: Squash and Apple Bake, and Celery Root, Parsnip & Apple Puree.

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The squash and apple bake couldn’t be simpler – crescents of butternut squash and apples are baked with brown sugar, butter, and a little ground mace – but it remains the dish I look forward to the most at each holiday dinner. It’s been a staple in my family’s house for as long as I can remember, with good reason!

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When it comes out of the oven, the apples are melting into the tender squash, and the perfume of the brown sugar and ground mace is so, so enticing. It’s a fabulous, slightly sweet, utterly delicious side dish (so much better than those cloyingly sugary sweet potatoes with marshmallows, of which I’ve never been a fan.)

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The celery root, parsnip and apple puree is something I’ve begun making in recent years, but it is also destined to become a classic in my family’s holiday dinners, I think! I love it with any kind of roasted meat; it would make a delicious alternative to mashed potatoes if you’re looking for something new.

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After the chunks of celeriac, apple, and parsnip are cooked in a little butter, they’re pureed until smooth and combined with a little cream and freshly ground nutmeg. The result is a gorgeous, silky smooth, velvety puree, a stunning creamy white.

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Happy (early) Thanksgiving to you all, and please do visit Tiffany’s, Sue’s, Kristin’s and Grace’s blogs for the rest of the recipes!

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Squash and Apple Bake

Growing up, this was always my favorite dish at holiday meals – the squash and apples just seem to melt into each other, and the mace is a wonderful flavoring for each.

View printable recipe

Ingredients
1 medium butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and sliced into 1/2-inch thick half moons
2 large apples, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/2-inch thick half moons
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter (4 tablespoons, or half a stick)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground mace

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the squash and apple slices in a 9×13 glass or ceramic baking dish; you can tuck the apple slices between the squash slices for a prettier presentation.

In a small bowl, combine the melted butter with the brown sugar, flour, salt and ground mace. Pour this mixture over the pan of squash and apples, trying to cover most of the surfaces.

Cover the pan with foil and bake for 50-60 minutes, until the squash is tender when pierced with a knife. Serve with a spoon, so you can scoop the juices over the squash and apples.

Serves 8-10.

Celery Root, Parsnip, and Apple Puree

A perfect accompaniment to any roast meat, this is a nice alternative to mashed potatoes. The snow white puree has an unbelievably smooth consistency, and subtle but delicious flavors.

Adapted from Gourmet, December 2005

View printable recipe

Ingredients
5 lb celery root (celeriac bulbs), skins trimmed off and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 large or 4 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
4 medium apples (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Directions
Melt butter in a large heavy pot (one that has a lid.) Add the celery root, parsnip and apple chunks, along with the salt. Stir to coat all the pieces with the melted butter, then cover and cook over medium-low heat until the vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.

Puree the mixture in batches in a food processor until very smooth, about 2 minutes per batch. Transfer the entire pureed mixture back to the pot and add the cream and freshly grated nutmeg. Stir to thoroughly combine and rewarm over medium-low heat. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and/or freshly ground pepper as needed.

Makes 12 servings.

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17 Comments leave one →
  1. nikkigladd permalink
    November 24, 2008 9:33 pm

    Happy Thanksgiving! The squash & apple combination looks great!!!

  2. November 25, 2008 6:18 am

    I am really excited about your squash recipe – it sounds like a great side dish and seems pretty simple to put together – a big plus when you are trying to balance A LOT going on in the kitchen.
    The puree also looks great – I have been on a celery root kick this year and I am actually going to cut in some celery root puree into the traditional mashed potatoes this year.

  3. November 25, 2008 7:07 am

    Love the squash and apple combination– this is just proof that often the simplest recipes are the most delicious.

  4. November 25, 2008 7:36 am

    They both sound fantastic! I love Thanksgiving and I love serving new and interesting dishes on my favorite holiday. Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. November 25, 2008 10:40 am

    The puree looks wonderful! I am in charge of the turkey for a potluck on thursday…I hope it goes well :)

  6. November 25, 2008 12:27 pm

    I’m sold on the squash and apple bake. I always thought that marshmallow-lidded thing was plain weird. And considering my new-found love for celery root, that puree is calling to me too. Happy Thanksgiving!

  7. November 25, 2008 1:01 pm

    the squash and apple bake is most certainly glorious, but i was and still am most intrigued by your puree. it looks so smooth and succulent–so nice. :)

  8. November 25, 2008 3:11 pm

    I love that squash and apple bake! It’s a good twist on fall ingredients for Thanksgiving without overcomplicating anything!

  9. November 25, 2008 9:12 pm

    Mmmm, i’ve been meaning to try celery root… adn those squash and apples look divine!! happy thanksgiving :)

  10. November 25, 2008 11:30 pm

    MMMMM…..I want to make the squash/apple bake, but do you think it would be ok to use a mix of Splenda and sugar free pancake syrup for the brown sugar? My mom is diabetic and it is always a challenge to meet her needs. Splenda and sugar free pancake syrup are usually ok as a brown sugar substitute when texture is of no concern….just wondering if it might work here. I’m going to try it anyway and will try to remember to leave a comment if it works.

  11. November 26, 2008 3:29 pm

    What a fantastic menu! It reminds me of all the wonderful cooking you have done for the family since college! You have inspired us to cook seasonally and shop locally whenever possible and it has helped us to appreciate the color, flavor and choice of foods in a whole new way. Thanks to you and your friends for a great post. Happy Thanksgiving!
    Love, Mom

  12. November 28, 2008 1:33 pm

    I know the puree, and I really like it, nice to be reminded. But tha squash and apple bake! It’s fantastic!!! Never heard about it, never really trusted American pumpkin/squash recipes, as they are not always suited to European taste tradition. But this is sooo good. I fell in love but I only have one squash left and the season’s already over. But this dessert definitely goes on my always-to-do-in-the-squash-season list. It’s perfect. Thank you so much for sharing such a treasure :)

  13. November 30, 2008 4:30 pm

    Made the squash and apple bake for Thanksgiving…..may I just say, Yum Yum…..I did sub the spenda and sugar free syrup and it worked perfectly. Everyone liked it.

  14. Lily permalink
    November 30, 2008 5:49 pm

    Yum!! Everything looks so delicious. I made the stuffed delicata squash you posted a while back for thanksgiving this year. It was really a hit — very delicious!! Thanks!

  15. November 30, 2008 6:46 pm

    This is really such a cute idea. Thanks for sharing!!

  16. December 1, 2008 8:26 am

    What a great idea squash and apple bake. It sounds so delicious and great for the holidays.

  17. December 1, 2008 7:43 pm

    You all had a great meal! Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving holiday!

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