This year the Accidental Locavore snuck off to California and will actually be on an airplane for the big event. Which is not to say that I don't have your back in the kitchen come next Thursday. If you want to know how gravy can go wrong, check it out here. And if you're looking for a couple of delicious, no-fuss side dishes, here you go! The cranberry confit can even be made ahead.
Cranberry, Onion and Apricot Confit:
• 2 pounds onions, thinly sliced
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 1/2 stick unsalted butter
• 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
• 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
• 1/4 cup water
• 2 cups cranberries
• 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped (I use the slab apricots from Trader Joe's)
Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over moderate heat, add the onions and sugar, stir and cook until the onions are pale golden. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Add the vinegar, water, cranberries, a pinch of salt and cook the mixture, stirring for 10-15 minutes until the cranberries have burst and are soft. Stir in the apricots and cook for one more minute. Serve warm or at room temperature. You can make this ahead as it will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks covered.
Brussels Sprouts and Pearl Onions in Horseradish Cream
• 1 bag frozen pearl onions thawed (true confessions, I always buy pearl onions frozen, it's such a pain to peel them, but if you want to go the fresh route, blanch and then peel them)
• 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half the long way
• 3 tablespoons horseradish (feel free to use more to taste)
• 2 teaspoons flour
• 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice (you could use nutmeg)
• 3/4 cup heavy cream
• 3 tablespoons butter
• salt and pepper
• 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Cook the Brussels sprouts until just tender, either in a microwave for 5 minutes or boil them in salted water for about 6 minutes. Drain well and set aside. Combine the horseradish, flour and allspice in a small bowl, mix well and whisk in the cream. Set aside. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the thyme and stir 30 seconds. Add the onions and Brussels sprouts and sauté until heated through, about 4 minutes. Add the horseradish mixture, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cream is reduced to a glaze, coating the vegetables, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and more horseradish if you like. Serve and enjoy.