Written By Cynthia Annett-Hynes Recipes Apr 8, 2011 Holiday Dinner Side Dishes SHARE VIA: Facebook Twitter PinterestRecipes by Nathan FongPhoto by Tracey Kusiewicz Whether it be the prized roasted turkey or a succulent prime rib roast, the main holiday meal centerpiece is always shared with side dishes that are usually overshadowed. Traditional mashed potatoes, over cooked Brussels sprouts and the ubiquitous carrot and corn medley are the usual typical holiday table fare. Here are some contemporary recipes to help spruce up your festive meals this year! Wild rice and Cranberry Pilaf Nothing is more comforting for the winter holiday season than this mixture of wild rice, brown rice, herbs, nuts and cranberries. Use as a side dish or a stuffing. Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish ¼ cup butter1 medium onion, finely chopped¼ cup finely chopped carrot¼ cup finely chopped celery1 to 2 cups coarsely chopped wild mushrooms (chanterelles, morels etc)2 cloves garlic, minced¼ tsp freshly ground pepper1 tsp ground sage1 tsp ground thyme¾ cup wild rice2 ¼ cups chicken stock1 cup brown rice1 cup dried cranberries2/3 cup coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts¼ cup flat leaf parsleySalt and freshly ground pepper. Melt the butter over medium high heat in a heavy saucepan. Add the onion, carrot, celery, mushrooms and garlic and sauté until tender, about 5 to 6 minutes. Meanwhile, bring 1 litre of water to a boil, add wild rice and cook uncovered for 10 minutes, or until rice starts to open. Drain well. Add the wild rice, stock, brown rice, ground pepper, sage and thyme to the sautéed vegetables. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, tightly cover and cook for 35 to 40 minutes or until cooked. Fluff with fork and stir in cranberries, hazelnuts and chopped parsley. Season to taste. Creamed Spinach It’s amazing how this retro dish is popping into chic menus again but instead this recipe is not the overcooked grayish murky green mush we’ve been accustomed to. In this recipe, spinach is lightly sautéed to keep its vibrant green and quickly tossed with heavy cream and a hint of nutmeg. Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish 2 lbs. fresh spinach, washed and coarse stems removed, coarsely chopped2 Tbsp. unsalted butter2 shallots, finely chopped1/2 cup whipping creampinch fresh grated nutmegsalt and freshly ground pepper, to taste Bring 1 inch of lightly salted water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the spinach and cook until it’s completely wilted. Drain in a colander, pressing it with a spoon to remove as much water as possible. Melt the butter in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and sauté until it’s translucent. Add the spinach and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the cream and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook until most of the cream is absorbed. Baked Trio of Squash Another traditional holiday favourite is usually squash. In this recipe, three varieties are roasted to bring out their natural sugars and then brushed with a spiced honey butter mixture to make them more tantalizing. As a young kid, I detested any squash what so ever. This recipe has made it certainly more appealing. Leaving the skins on the squash give this dish its appeal. Hopefully your kids will love this one! Serves 6 to 8 as a side dish 1 small turban squash, cut into 1-inch thick slices and seeds discarded1 small butternut squash, cut into 1-inch thick slices and seeds discarded1 acorn squash, cut into 1-inch thick slices and seeds discarded2 Tbsp melted buttersalt and freshly ground pepper, to taste1/3 cup butter1/3 cup honey½ tsp ground gingerpinch ground cinnamonpinch ground nutmeg Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly brush the squash slices with the 2 Tbsp. of melted butter. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Bake until the squash is tender, about 35 to 40 minutes, turning once and basting with a little more butter. Melt the 1/3 cup of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and add the honey, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. Heat until well combined. Remove the squash from the oven and brush with the honey-butter mixture. Arrange on a serving platter and serve. Lemon, Dried Fruit and Pistachio Couscous This Morrocan staple also makes an interesting side dish to the traditional Holiday table. Fragrant with lemon and mint, delicate grains of couscous are mixed with dried currants and apricots with pistachios. This can be served hot or at room temperature. Makes about 6 ½ cups, Serves 6 to 8 as a side dish 1 Tbsp. (15ml) butter1 Tbsp olive oil1 shallot, minced2 cups chicken or vegetable stock1 lemon, juiced and zested (finely minced)2 cups instant couscous3 green onions, finely chopped½ cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped½ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped½ cup dried currants or raisins½ cup coarsely chopped dried apricots½ cup coarsely chopped pistachios In a medium saucepan, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot and sauté until translucent. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice, zest and couscous. Cover tightly and allow to sit for 5 to 8 minutes or until the couscous is soft and tender. Fluff with fork and mix in remaining ingredients. Serve immediately or keep warm covered. Creamy Brussels Sprouts with Pearl Onions and Pancetta Brussels sprouts are certainly not everyone’s favourite holiday vegetable, probably because they were served overcooked grayish-green ones. I’ve always enjoyed them as my family stir-fried them and kept them brilliant green and crisp, which they should be! In this simple recipe, the pearl onions and sprouts are steamed until just tender (try and pick sprouts and onions that are similar size so that they cook at the same time), and then tossed with a pancetta cream sauce. Anything with bacon or pancetta always tastes better! Serves 4 as a side dish 1 lb small to medium Brussels sprouts, trimmed (about 3 cups)1 ½ cups pearl onions, peeled and trimmed (about ½ lb)2 Tbsp butter2 ¼-inch slices pancetta, cut into ½-inch pieces2 Tbsp all-purpose flour½ cup milk½ cup chicken stock1 tsp kosher saltpinch cayenne2 Tbsp chopped Italian parsley Place Brussels sprouts and onions in a top part of steamer or steamer rack. Fill bottom of steamer with water and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Place vegetables on top and steam for 10 to 11 minutes or until a knife cuts into a sprout easily. Set aside. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and when bubbling, add the pancetta and sauté until nearly crisp. Reduce heat and add the flour and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring. Slowly add the milk and stock, stirring briskly to prevent lumps. Add the salt and cayenne. Increase heat to medium and s tir until thickened. Stir in vegetables and parsley. Cook over low heat until well heated and serve. Dried Cranberry, Ginger and Almond Relish An alternative to the ubiquitous tinned cranberry sauce and jelly, this recipe uses dried cranberries infused with orange and ginger and finished with chopped apples and almonds. 1 cup sugar3 Tbsp water1/3 cup finely chopped orange zest1 ½ cups orange juice¼ cup finely chopped fresh ginger1 lb dried cranberries3 cups peeled and diced apples1/3 cup whole grain mustard½ cup macadamia, walnut or hazelnut oil1 ½ cups flaked almonds, toasted (optional) Place the sugar and water in a medium saucepan and place on medium heat until the sugar dissolves and starts to caramelize into a golden brown. Immediately stir in the orange zest, orange juice, ginger and cranberries. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes then add the apples. Cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then remove from the heat to cool. It should have a jam-likeHoliday recipesRecipesSide Dishes SHARE VIA: Facebook Twitter Pinterest Written By: Cynthia Annett-Hynes ... 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