- Test Kitchen Talks
- Season 1
- Episode 32
6 Pro Chefs Make Their Favorite Thanksgiving Sides
Released on 11/15/2022
This is what Thanksgiving smells like.
Butter, wine, sage, rosemary.
Today we're in the Test Kitchen making Thanksgiving sides.
[jazzy music] I love Thanksgiving.
I like any holiday where the premise is, eat.
[Shilpa] The sides are 100% the star of the show.
[Hana] I love a cranberry sauce.
[Rachel] I love the Brussels sprouts.
[Kendra] At the very least, there will be stuffing.
You are making the things that you love,
and then you get to share with people
who you enjoy being around.
Burnished potato nuggets.
These potatoes celebrate
Their ability to combine this really lovely,
deep golden crunchy exterior, with a fluffy interior,
is what really sets them apart
from most roast potato recipes.
These are kind of incredible.
They're a little bit of a labor of love,
but honestly not anymore so than mashed potatoes.
Potatoes are simmering and I'm gonna go ahead
and heat up my oil.
I like to use a combination of olive oil and neutral oil.
I find, like, a mix of both is great
just to give a little bit of flavor to the oil.
But traditional is just pretty neutral.
You need enough in there to provide, like,
a pretty generous coating.
You wanna preheat the oil.
When those potatoes are done, they're gonna get lain,
one by one, and turned to coat in that hot fat.
That is gonna give us a massive head start
in terms of creating that crispy crust.
That is the entire point of this exercise.
The potatoes have been simmering,
let's say about 10 minutes.
You push a fork into it.
It'll want to go through into about the first,
kind of, half to three quarters of an inch.
But there's gonna be a pretty, like, firm
kind of center that you're not gonna have
as easy a time, kind of, pushing into.
I wanna drain off pretty much all the water.
Like, I want these to get dry.
I'm shaking the potatoes to agitate them,
which is gonna fluff up their exteriors.
And that kind of starchy coating
is gonna be what gets super crisp in the oven.
See all that starchy coating?
That's what it's all about.
That's what's gonna, kind of, absorb the fat in the oven,
and it's gonna get super crispy
and form this almost shell of an exterior.
Season those potatoes.
Super important to, kind of, get them fully coated here.
You just gotta be real careful.
This oil is hot.
So the key thing here,
see how it's sizzling as soon as the potato hits that?
That's what we're looking for.
The potatoes' exterior to be basically starting a crisp.
Oh, lost a piece.
Very much the spirit of Thanksgiving there.
The fat is what is gonna transfer the oven's heat
to the potato, and get it crispy on all sides.
So you don't wanna rush this step.
Get comfortable, get your favorite pair of tongs.
Have a glass of wine, listen to some great music.
I feel like by this point in the day,
I've got, like, calming classical on, you know,?
Just, like, anything to just keep breathing and stay calm.
Put these in the oven.
Same temp, 425.
For the last, kind of like, 10 minutes or thereabouts,
I like throwing in, kind of, a handful of garlic cloves.
You've got this, kind of, sweet spot
where you get the aroma,
and you get some of the flavor intensity of the garlic,
and rosemary for that matter.
That's, like, the good part of Thanksgiving.
Oh yeah! [imitating a low voice]
Rosemary, garlic, hitting that oil.
Going right back in now.
I'll see you in, like, eight to ten.
That level of browning is wonderful.
These will hold for a little bit.
They are wildly hot.
All this zhuzh?
This is, like, kind of where it's at too.
Ooh, it's a beautiful thing.
English roast potatoes.
To me, like, that's what it's all about.
Getting, like, a little gravy, a little potato,
all that texture just clinging to it.
It's so hot.
It was really hot.
Even as the temperature comes down,
the crispiness just stays.
This to me was, like, what Thanksgiving's about.
My side dish of choice that I make every Thanksgiving
squishy garlic dill rolls.
They're super soft, they're very garlicy,
but they're mild enough to go with everything else
that's on the table.
And who doesn't want a bread to, like, wipe your plate clean
and, you know, kind of, tie everything together?
The key to these rolls is from this technique.
It uses a cooked pudding.
It's called tangzhong.
It's used in both Chinese and Japanese cultures
and baking traditions.
And we're gonna start with that.
We're gonna start with water, milk, flour.
And the reason why this technique is really brilliant
is it adds a bit of extra moisture
to the dough that you're making.
And this added moisture in this form
is the one that's responsible for keeping your rolls
fresh for longer, and really springy and bouncy.
Just cook it until it becomes kind of like a paste.
From here on out, it's just a matter of dumping everything
in the stand mixer and letting it run.
My melted butter.
I have salt, garlic powder, dried dill.
The garlic powder and dried dill,
just absolutely fantastic ways
to get flavor into your dough.
I added sugar, milk powder here.
Mix all of these liquid ingredients together.
This is bread flour.
You want the additional gluten and protein
from bread flour to support these rolls.
Start at a low speed.
The dough should all come together by itself.
You can see the dough start to change.
It's going to go from shaggy, to smooth and satiny.
Okay, I'm going to turn it up to four.
The dough has come together
and we're gonna let this run for 15 minutes.
You can see how stretchy that dough is,
so you know that it's built a good bit of gluten in there.
And you can see how it's not really sticking to my hands.
It's a good dough, it's properly hydrated.
Transfer it into a greased bowl.
Let it rise for about 30 to 45 minutes.
And I'm going to put it in the fridge after
where it's going to chill overnight.
You can see here it's puffy, it's grown in size.
And it looks more like the bread dough
that you might be used to.
This dough is going to get portioned into 10 pieces,
but I personally like to weigh everything.
672 grams, so I'm aiming for each portion
to be about 67 grams.
Just flatten them, trying to get rid
of the excess gas and air in them.
The goal here is to really tighten the shape.
There is such a thing as rolling it too much, okay?
Here is a perfectly formed ball, and this is super smooth.
And here's what happens if you're really trying to get it
you know, perfect, perfect, perfect,
and you over roll it.
It's not working.
I'm too good at my job [laughing].
Lightly spray with, you know, non-stick spray.
So as they proof it doesn't quite stick to them.
The rolls have risen, they're almost doubled in size.
I am going to test to see if they're ready.
If you press them down
and they didn't leave an impression at all,
or they fill that really fast,
that means they need some more time to proof.
I'm going to egg wash these.
You don't have to egg wash these rolls.
I mean, egg wash just makes them look really pretty.
But you don't have to.
Okay, now these are ready to go into the oven.
I'm going to make the garlic butter
that I'll be brushing on top of the rolls.
So butter, I have fresh garlic.
And I'm going to double down on the garlic flavor
by using a little bit of garlic powder as well
for extra intensity.
Little bit of salt.
Just waiting for it to melt.
And that's it, it smells fragrant.
The buns are outta the oven.
Look how glossy and shiny.
I'm going to add some freshly chopped dill,
doubling down on that flavor.
I like doing these while the rolls are still warm
because then I feel like it absorbs some of that butter,
and awakens the flavor a bit more.
Towards the end, if you lose a little bit of patience
like me, just pour everything on top.
Make sure it gets into every little crevice.
Okay, first of all, I just want to showcase
how bouncy and springy these guys are.
I mean this much garlic,
it obviously smells super garlicy.
Yeah, it should kind of spring back on itself.
Okay, that when you know it's it's well-made.
The fresh dill really bringing the game.
There is a reason why I always make this
every single Thanksgiving.
They're bringing me more than joy.
They're my life's purpose right now.
[chuckles] They're really good.
What is there not to love about
a melty cheese situation
enveloped in a puff pastry sheet?
It is one of those things that I have been making for years.
If you know how to just cut things, and assemble,
and stick it in the oven, you are already there.
Start by cutting up our Brie.
The firmer your Brie, the easier it'll be to just, like,
shave off the rind.
Everything should be as cold as possible.
What I would recommend,
especially if you forgot to preheat your oven,
just take it in the fridge.
Have a beer, take a minute.
So here is our pastry dough defrosted.
It comes to you with lines,
so it's already, like kind of, ready to cut.
So we're gonna make about 16 here.
If you have someone who is eager to help,
like, this is the perfect opportunity for them to help you.
We're going to make these cool little windmill shapes.
And all that means is a slight notching of each corner.
And, you know, I'm not being precise.
Though, if that's your style, you can be precise.
This is how they should look,
and they don't have to be perfect.
So I'm just brushing off excess flour.
And we have a square of Brie.
Pop a little bit of cranberry sauce, chopped nuts.
You just take one of the two corners
You can stick to left or right but don't switch it up.
And what I like to do with, like, a little fork
is just, kind of, press it down,
press it into each other.
But just give it a little pinch.
Encourage it to, kind of, just stay together like that.
It is really relaxing once you get in the groove, right?
Anything with melty cheese feels like a delicious,
approachable, like, crowd-pleaser.
You know, Thanksgiving is not really supposed to be
for fancy, showoffy dishes.
You're just trying to make people feel warm and happy.
Just a little bit of egg wash on the top
where the four points meet.
I also like putting it on top
'cause it acts as a little glue stick.
You can see there is a few inch margin between them,
so don't overcrowd them.
So we've pulled these from the oven.
You can see like this deep golden shade.
We're not mad at a little bit
of the cheese, kind of, oozing out.
Did you hear that?
I love these so much.
There's a reason I've been making them
for years and years and years.
I would just caution your guests not to go too crazy
and eat too many of these before the actual dinner,
because it's really easy to get full on a handful of these.
My Thanksgiving side is crispy Brussels sprouts
with a lemony, turmeric ginger sauce.
I love the texture of crispy gone soggy.
And when you drizzle this, like, really glazey sauce
on those crispy Brussels sprouts,
you get this super interesting texture.
This is a low rush recipe.
I don't wanna make your life harder than it already is.
The first thing I'm gonna do is preheat my sheet pan.
It's going to heat up the surface,
so as soon as the Brussels sprout halves hit it,
they're gonna sear it instantly,
as opposed to everything coming up to temperature
if the sheet pan is not hot.
That's at 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Trim the end because this bit is, like,
really fibrous and you don't want to eat that.
Cut this in half.
So you'll get two little pretty halves like that.
Any of these leaves, save them because I'm gonna fry them,
and that's going to be the best bit.
I'm going to make sure that all of these outer leaves
that have bruises on them, or just not very pretty looking,
you wanna trim those off, and then trim the end.
You could totally grate the ginger if you wanted.
But if you mince them, you're gonna get those, like,
really small bits of ginger that'll add texture,
and really makes the sauce, like, super gingery.
Toss the Brussels sprouts with some olive oil.
Make sure that all of them are really well-coated,
and a little bit of salt.
You can certainly do it in a pan.
I just find that it's easier to do it in a bowl.
The sheet pan has been hanging out in the oven
for about 10-15 minutes, and it's going to be ripping hot.
Hear that sizzle, that's how we know
that it's at the right temperature.
So quickly turn all of this around, face down,
that way they're gonna get nice and charred.
This goes back in the oven until they're crispy and golden.
And now I'm gonna work on the ginger turmeric lemon sauce.
Two teaspoons of oil, and let that heat up
until it's shimmering.
The ginger is cooking in it, and add some turmeric,
and just kind of bloom the turmeric in there.
And then some chili flakes and honey.
The butter is going to melt and emulsify with the honey
and make this really, kind of, creamy sauce.
Once the butter is melted, squeeze in my lemon juice,
and then season with salt.
When I'm cooking for Thanksgiving,
I have my Bollywood playlist going.
I am probably drinking a cocktail,
and I have my friends or family over
and we're just, you know, gossiping [chuckles].
Once it starts coating the spatula like that,
it means I have the right consistency.
So I'm gonna turn this off and let it hang out.
I have a pan here with vegetable oil.
When you cook Brussels sprouts in a sheet pan,
what tends to happen is that the leaves get, like,
fully burnt and super bitter.
And to avoid that, this is, kind of, my little trick.
And you gotta step away
'cause this this thing is gonna splatter.
Oh my god.
And they don't all fully have to be brown and crisp.
As long as there's some golden ones, it's gonna be crispy.
Now I'm gonna check on our Brussels sprouts in the oven.
Ooh, they are perfect.
They look so good.
The best part is snacking.
It's just, like, the perfect consistency.
It's, like, going to hug these Brussels sprouts perfectly.
So let me just try a little bit.
It's so good.
All right, the best part, the crispy Brussels sprout chips.
Once you make these,
is gonna be so hard to keep people's hands off of it.
They're so crispy.
The sauce really seeps into each layer
of the Brussels sprouts.
And they get, kind of like, jammy.
And then you have this, like, charredness with the tanginess
and the warm spice of the ginger.
We're gonna do a roasted sweet potato
with some pecans and a maple syrup, kind of, glaze.
It's really an inspired just, kind of, sauce up version
of something I grew up with.
My mom would always, you know,
we'd probably have a roasted sweet potato once a week,
you know, wrapped in foil and they would come out,
and they would be caramelized and the inside would just be,
like, this perfect custardy-ness where we'd
cut 'em open and put butter in there and it was just
one of my favorite things to eat, to just jazz it up
and, kind of, elevate it.
Make it a real treat.
Give it a little wash.
These are pretty good as far as being clean
but we were just picking up some water.
Just that residual water is is plenty to help,
kind of, get the steam going.
We wanna get a good seal on it
'cause you want to trap that water in there
and let it steam.
We got 'em wrapped up in the foil.
Little bit of water in there, no salt, no nothing.
And we're just gonna pop 'em in the oven.
I got it preheated at 400.
Keep an eye on 'em, test 'em.
Open your biggest one up every now and then.
Open the smallest one up, see what's happening.
Don't overthink it.
I'm gonna finish up the next components of this dish.
We'll start it off.
We'll do a little, say about a half a cup, a third of a cup,
half a cup of sour cream.
A little bit of lemon juice just to, kind of, loosen it up.
Give it a little bit more acidity to it.
Yeah, so we got a little bit of lemon in the sour cream
to add a little bit of acid.
Just a little pinch of ground cinnamon.
If you have ground cardamom, it would be amazing.
We're gonna do just a little bit.
Mix that together.
My low boy salt and pepper.
I'm gonna add just a squeeze more lemon.
We got four tablespoons of butter.
I use salted, but you can use unsalted.
We're gonna let that melt.
And then as soon as it starts to melt
and get a little bubbly, we're gonna add our pecans.
Let them bloom, get a little toasty, get nice.
I like to do a bunch of different sizes
being, you know, chopped into finer powder,
whatever kind of texture you want.
Now you can start to really get those big pecan notes
and don't go walking away here.
I turned the heat down a little bit.
Once you start burning these nuts,
there's no bringing 'em back.
Two tablespoons of maple syrup.
And one whole pod, maybe two, of cardamom.
It's a wonderful aromatic pod, little seed pod.
Just has a very unique smell.
Lends itself really well to, like, nutty other warm spices.
We'll do a pinch of ground cinnamon.
I do it over my hand because, you know, all of a sudden,
A big ol' chunk of it falls out.
And, again, you ain't getting it out.
And those are just gonna add a really nice, kind of, warm
traditional Thanksgivingy kind of spices.
And what you're looking for is some of that maple syrup
to just, kind of, start to get real glazey and sticky,
but just kind of a texture like that
where it's nice and saucy.
So right in there, you see on the bottom,
there you get that like-
oh, they're hot as hell.
But yeah, you can see that nice little caramelization.
I like to flip 'em over and serve that end up.
And then we'll, look,
we'll do a little split down in the middle.
They're just nice.
Like, that's the sweet potato I want.
I'll endure the pain for you guys.
I'm gonna add my reserved liquid
I got from outside of the tins into our nut mixture.
That's gonna add back some of those natural sugars
from the potato.
Just give it a whole nother layer of flavor.
Cool, and then we'll just do a little
scoop of the nuts in there.
Well, that's my favorite sweet potato right there.
I got dibs on that one.
That one might not even make it onto the platter.
If I was plating back kitchen,
this one's going back to the chef.
Whoever's helping me right now, all right.
You know there's always, like,
two people that are doing all the work.
We're eating that one.
Aunt Mary, she's in there drinking wine not doing nothing,
she ain't getting that potato.
You can bet your button, Aunt Mary.
Little sour cream dollop.
The sour cream and the chive is not really,
like, a traditional sweet potato moment or roasted.
This is almost, like, riff on, like,
the marshmallow covered sweet potato dish
on top of, like, a loaded baked potato.
Go ahead and throw some bacon on there, knock yourself out.
Seems like a bit much.
But, hey, that's Thanksgiving.
I'm a spoon guy.
So let's get in there.
Let's get right in there.
That's the bite right there.
We got everything built up.
I love when you can, kind of, peel the skin right off.
I mean, the sweet potato skin on these,
you can go ahead and eat 'em.
And what you're left is that nice custardy, not dried out,
perfectly cooked, kind of, sweet potato.
And that little bit of moisture in there,
I really feel like makes a big difference.
This kind of keeps everything
steamy but also allows those natural sugars to caramelize,
making the perfect sweet potato.
Today I am making a caramelized onion
and sausage stuffing.
What's exciting about this recipe in particular
is that it is almost entirely make-ahead.
So you're gonna start with a, can I say?
A [beep] ton of onions in this recipe.
And they will cook down into, like,
this gorgeous, deeply caramelized mass.
And that will get folded into your stuffing.
That is a technique that takes like 40 minutes.
And if you were, like, trying to rush to the finish line
on the day of Thanksgiving with your stuffing,
you would probably not, for your sanity sake,
go down that path.
But because you have the benefit of an extra day
ahead of time to prep this stuffing,
you're gonna reap the benefit of all of those beautiful,
super caramelized, sweet and savory flavors.
We're just gonna get right into that bread,
and rip it into rather large hunks.
Just big ol' croutony bits.
You undersell, kind of, the drama of what a stuffing can be
if you keep your pieces too small.
When it's, like, all outside pieces,
I kind of just take them aside and don't include them.
You really want the innards happening,
'cause that's what's gonna soak up
all of those amazing juices.
We're gonna throw this in our 250 degree oven
until it's just taking on a little bit of color
and totally dried out.
Now we're gonna make our, sort of, liquid binder
that's going to take all of our disparate ingredients
and make it cohesive when we bake it.
The eggs are really acting as the binder themselves.
The chicken stock just flavors it with that savory,
meaty bit that makes it feel deeply Thanksgivingy.
So we're heating just a little bit of oil in the pan.
And this is just Italian sausage
that we removed from the casings.
Sometimes you can buy it already ground,
like in a ground meat package.
Separate it out in the pan a little bit.
You basically don't want any giant chunks.
Break it apart with a wooden spoon as it cooks
so that you end up with, like, little pieces
that will equally distribute.
A lot of ways to get your
anger out in this recipe
if you're feeling, like, surrounded by family,
and it's stressful, and the holidays are hard.
Just kidding, that's not how I feel about the holidays.
You're basically just looking to cook your sausage
We have all this nice rendered fat on the bottom.
So it's really just, like, eyeballing.
You're gonna want a good amount of fat there.
And now I'm just gonna add a little bit of oil
into this fat.
This is a lot of onion and it's gonna seem like
too much for the pan, but it will shrink down considerably,
because we're gonna cook this for about half an hour.
And that is gonna give this onion
enough time to really, actually, deeply caramelize.
Give it a good salt, which will also help
break everything down, cook everything,
and steam everything,
and get it all loosey-goosey in the pan.
You can see what started as a heap,
shrunk down into this little pile.
Some sliced garlic, some celery.
And usually if you were making a stuffing
that didn't involve caramelized onions,
you would do one onions worth of, like, diced onion,
and celery, and garlic altogether.
But because these onions require so much more time,
we did them separately first.
And now we're adding in our celery and our garlic
for, like, six to eight minutes-ish.
I'm also gonna season this
because now we've got these new ingredients
that we need to make taste like themselves
with a little bit of salt and some pepper.
See, we're building up all this really nice
bond on the bottom of the pan.
It looks messy, but it's a good thing
that you're building up all that bond.
We're throwing in our butter,
and we're throwing in our rosemary,
which is finally chopped, and our sage.
It may seem like a lot of butter,
but you really do need that richness in here.
Oh, it's most so good.
And then once the butter's melted,
then that's gonna be your moment to deglaze your pan
with a little bit of white wine.
And you wanna get in there pretty quickly
and start scraping at the bottom
to just loosen up this brownie bits.
This smells bananas.
It smells so good.
[bread crunching] Yep.
So this was our bread.
Mix together our sausage,
just so we have one caramelized onion, buttery winey,
sagey, rosemary, all the goodness.
I'm, like, shaking but I can't stop
'cause there's a couple pieces.
We're gonna add our liquid component,
which is our egg and stock together.
And then just get a little decorative with it,
filling all the edges.
And bake it for its first round in the oven.
That's just making sure that all that egg mixture
and everything on the inside is fully cooked through.
So this was in the oven for 35-ish minutes.
What we're gonna do now
is you'll transfer it to your refrigerator,
just like this.
And then tomorrow you'll peel that foil off,
bake it for a little bit, and be done.
However, [chuckles] addendum.
We are doing it all today because of movie magic.
We're just gonna pull this foil off,
pop it back in the oven,
and let it go for 10 minutes.
And then it'll be good to go.
The craggy bread bits are perfect.
Look at that.
It's, like, crispy enough that you can hear it.
But bouncy enough on the inside that you know
that it's, like, got that tender juiciness on the inside.
It's so good.
The caramelized onions, like, melt away.
It just tastes super savory.
I think it's perfect.
I'm really happy.
I'm very happy.
If I am not the one hosting Thanksgiving,
I have very few assignments.
My mom is in charge [laughing].
And I'm never given, like, a full dish.
Maybe one day.
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