A Virtual Thanksgiving Feast!
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.
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!
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.