New dishes expand holiday repertoire

November 17, 1993|By Karol V. Menzie | Karol V. Menzie,Staff Writer

Some people already have a repertoire of favorite recipes at hand for the holidays -- something Mom or Grandmom always fixed, something Aunt Ethel always prepares. . . . But if you're just starting out in the holiday-cooking world, you may not have a lot of recipes collected; or you may be tired of the old ones and want to try something new. Here are a few variations on popular Thanksgiving dishes.

The first is from a new cookbook by Susan Wyler, "Cooking from a Country Farmhouse" (HarperPerennial, $14 paperback). She calls this vegetable dish "a classic country match," and suggests serving it with roast turkey or roast pork:

Brussels sprouts and carrots with dill butter

Serves six to eight

1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts

1 pound carrots

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or 2 teaspoons dried

1 tablespoon lemon juice

salt and freshly ground pepper

Trim and rinse Brussels sprouts and cut a small X into the root end of each. If they are very large, cut them in half lengthwise. Peel the carrots and cut them on the diagonal into 1/2 -inch slices.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the carrots for 3 minutes. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook the vegetables together until they are both tender but still firm to the bite, about 5 to 7 minutes longer. Drain well. (The vegetables can be prepared ahead of time to this point.)

Shortly before serving, melt the butter in a saucepan over moderate heat. Add the vegetables and sprinkle on the sugar. Toss over the heat for a couple of minutes, until hot and glazed. Sprinkle on the dill and lemon juice and toss until well-mixed and coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

The next recipe is from the new book by Collins Publishers, "American Food: A Celebration" ($50), which presents culinary traditions and favorite precipes from contributors in 10 regions of the United States. Among them is this choice for a relish. Contributing editor Joanne Weir notes that Native Americans liked serving meat with fruit sauces, and the ripening of cranberries at this season makes this dish a perfect match for a Thanksgiving turkey. Ms. Weir, who grew up in New England and now lives in California, says she sometimes uses California zinfandel wine instead of apple cider in this recipe.

Cranberry-apple cider relish

Makes 2 cups

3 cups apple cider

3/4 cup sugar

4 cinnamon sticks

3 4-inch pieces of orange peel, white pith removed

12 cloves

12 ounces cranberries

Combine cider, sugar, cinnamon sticks, orange peel and cloves in a saucepan and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Strain.

Add cranberries to cider liquid, increase heat and cook for 10 minutes, until berries pop. Simmer for 30 minutes, until relish thickens slightly. Place in a bowl and cool.

The last recipe was developed by noted cookbook author Sarah Leah Chase for the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line. Boursin cheese is a soft French cheese laced with garlic and herbs that's widely available in supermarkets.

Boursin mashed potatoes

3 1/2 pounds all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks

2 packages (5 ounces each) Boursin cheese with garlic and herbs

1/2 cup whole milk or half and half

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover amply with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and continue to cook until the potatoes are very tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander. Return the potatoes to the pot and cook over low heat for 30 seconds or so to evaporate any water that may be remaining on the potatoes.

With a hand-held mixer, beat the potatoes until they are smooth. Add the two rounds of Boursin and continue beating until thoroughly incorporated. Thin the potatoes by beating in the milk or half and half. Season the mashed potatoes with milk or half and half.

Transfer mashed potatoes to oven-proof casserole. Bake in 350-degree oven until potatoes are piping hot. Or, reheat in microwave until piping hot. Serve at once.

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