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A Very Chicagoist Thanksgiving 2K9: Recipes From Local Chefs

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Nov 24, 2009 5:00PM

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In what has become a site tradition, the staff at Chicagoist have shared some of our favorite family recipes for readers at Thanksgiving. This year we decided to do something a little different. We reached out to some of our favorite local chefs to come up with side dishes that best complement the Thanksgiving turkey. How you may want to prepare the bird Thursday is up to you. We're hellbent on cooking the turkey sous vide, after watching the Grant Achatz/Nick Kokonas video from last year and this one with PolyScience's Phillip Preston and Erick Williams of MK. These side dishes our chefs have sent us should complement any Thanksgiving table.

Brussel Sprouts from Jill Barron of MANA Food Bar

1 cup Brussels Sporuts
1/2 cup dried, soaked in water to rehydrate
1/2 cup cream
1 tsp butter

Slice soaked dried chestnuts into thin slices. Slice Brussel
sprouts thinly. Cook with butter, salt and pepper. Toss with heavy cream and
reduce just till coated.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Vanilla and Spanish Chorizo from Dirk Flanigan at the Gage

4 medium sweet potatoes
4 ounces Spanish chorizo
1 large vanilla bean, scraped clean

Bake sweet potatoes, remove from skins, add scraped vanilla bean, whole
butter and crisped Spanish chorizo.

Apple Salad from Randy Zweiban at Province

4 Cups Julienned Apples (preferably honey crisp or gala)
3 Cups Peeled and Julienned Jicama
¾ Cup Chopped Candied Arbequena and Coquille Olives
¾ Cup Toasted and Chopped Almonds (Marcona are the best)
¼ Cup Fine Chopped Chives
½ Cup Apple Cider Vinaigrette
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
1Tbsp Fresh Toasted and Ground Black Pepper

To candy the olives:

1 Cup Water
1 Cup Sugar

Bring the Water to a boil and dissolve the Sugar. Let cool to about 170 degrees then pour over the pitted Olives and let cool to room temperature. Let the olives marinate for about 15 minutes then strain the olives and chop them.

For the Vinaigrette:

2 Cups Apple Cider
1 Cup Olive Oil
¼ Cup Champagne Vinegar
Kosher Salt and Fresh Toasted and Ground Black Pepper.

Reduce 2 Cups of Apple Cider by half to 1 Cup. Whisk in the rest of the ingredients.

To assemble the Salad:

Toss the Apples, Jicama, Olives and Chives and then add some of the vinaigrette. Add the nuts and season the salad. Plate the salad and drizzle some vinaigrette around the plate.

Ricotta Gnocchi from Kristine Subido of WAVE Restaurant

1 pound fresh ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1/3 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese (about 1 ounce) plus additional for serving
1/2 teaspoon salt
Large pinch of ground white pepper
3/4 cup all purpose flour plus additional for coating

Sauce and garnishes

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
6 thin prosciutto slices
12 whole fresh sage leaves
2 pounds fresh wild mushrooms (such as crimini, oyster, and stemmed shiitake), sliced
2 large shallots, chopped
6 fresh thyme sprigs
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
2 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 teaspoon black truffle oil
1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) chilled butter, diced

For gnocchi:

Line medium bowl with several layers of paper towels. Spoon ricotta cheese into bowl. Let drain at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour. Beat egg, 1/3 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, salt, and white pepper in large bowl to blend. Mix in ricotta. Sprinkle 3/4 cup flour over and stir gently
to blend. Cover and chill dough 1 hour. Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. Line rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap. Place some flour in bowl.

For each gnudi, gently roll 1 heaping teaspoonful of dough into ball. Add to flour; toss to coat lightly, shaping into short log. Place on baking sheet. Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover; chill.

For sauce and garnishes:

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large pot or extra-large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3 prosciutto slices. Cook until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels. Repeat with remaining prosciutto. Add whole sage leaves to pot; sauté until crisp, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to paper towels. Heat remaining 4 tablespoons oil in same pot over medium-high heat. Add all mushrooms, shallots, thyme, and chopped sage. Sauté until mushrooms brown and liquids evaporate, about 12 minutes. Transfer mixture to bowl. Add
broth to same pot and boil until slightly reduced, scraping up browned bits, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat. Add 1 teaspoon truffle oil and mushroom mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sauce can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Cook gnocchi in large pot of boiling salted water until very tender, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, rewarm sauce. Add butter; toss until blended. Using strainer, transfer gnudi to pot with sauce. Toss over medium heat until sauce coats gnudi. Season with salt and pepper.

Cranberries with Orange Curd from Hillary Blanchard, pastry chef at one sixtyblue

1 bag cranberries, rinsed and sorted

Orange Curd

8 egg yolks
½ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
½ c sugar
Zest of 1 orange
2 ½ oz butter

In medium sauce pan whisk all ingredients and cook over medium heat stirring constantly until it reaches a boil. Remove from heat and strain. Chill for at least 3 hours.

Cauliflower Cheddar Gratin from the Hearty Boys: Dan Smith and Steve McDonough

Kosher salt
2 heads cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus additional for the baking dish
2 bay leaves
Leaves from 1 sprig thyme
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons dry vermouth
3 cups whole milk, scalded
3 cups shredded sharp Cheddar
1/2 cup shredded Gruyère
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Fill a large pot halfway with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Salt the water liberally, and add the cauliflower. Cook until the cauliflower is just fork-tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain and place the pot back on low heat for 5 minutes to dry the cauliflower out a bit. Be sure to shake the pot every minute or so to ensure that the cauliflower doesn’t stick.

Melt half of the butter in a large saucepan and add the bay leaves, garlic and thyme . Lower the heat and cook 3 minutes.. Add the flour all at once and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture is smooth. Continue to cook for another 2 minutes to remove the raw flour taste. Add the vermouth and stir—the sauce will thicken quickly. Next add the milk 1 cup at a time,
stirring until smooth. Add 2 cups of the cheddar, the Gruyère, 2 teaspoons of the salt to taste and the pepper and stir until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth.

To make the topping, melt the remaining 1/2 stick of butter in a small saucepan or in the microwave. Mix the bread crumbs, remaining Cheddar, and parsley together in a bowl. Add the melted butter and stir well with a fork.

Butter a casserole dish and put the cauliflower into it. Pour the sauce over all. Cover with the crumb topping and place the dish on a baking sheet to catch any drips. Bake in the top half of the oven until the topping has browned, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.