The essential foods: Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, and wine. Of course there is pumpkin pie for dessert. Plus some random vegetable (because some of us don't count green bean casserole as a vegetable), and most years, some type of roll. We all do some parts ahead of time, then at the end its 3 or 4 cooks in the kitchen, mashing potatoes, making gravy, getting out serving dishes, doing the vegetables. If I had to pick one thing to be most thankful for, it's having a family that has fun doing this together.
This year, the random vegetable was carrots. I gotta say, it went over way better than the Brussels sprouts I did a couple of years ago. It is based on a recipe from November 2009 Gourmet but of course I didn't exactly follow it, so I promised to write it down. The original recipe called for a lot more sage, so feel free to be heavy handed with it if you really like sage. And while this went really well with turkey, it doesn't need to be saved for a holiday dinner.
6 – 8 servings
2 pounds carrots, quartered and cut in 2-3 inch lengths
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
3 tablespoons butter
6 ounces chopped shallots (about 4), diced
Salt (about ¼ teaspoon), Pepper (about ½ teaspoon)
1 heaping tablespoon chopped sage
1 heaping teaspoon chopped thyme
Cook carrots in stock until just tender, about 15 minutes. Do ahead: Set aside to cool, then store in refrigerator until ready to finish. If not doing ahead, cook the carrots in a 12 inch skillet, when done put in the serving bowl and set aside.
To finish: melt butter in 12 inch skillet, add shallots, salt and pepper then sauté until shallots are translucent (5 to 10 minutes). Add the broth from the carrots, and let reduce until just a little liquid is left. Add the herbs, then the carrots. Cook until the carrots are heated through (1 to 10 minutes depending on the starting temperature of the carrots.