Perhaps I am stating the obvious, but, Thanksgiving is this week. Everyone here in Minnesota has been too busy enjoying the extra bonus round of Summer, oblivious to the holidays right around the corner. I never got around to raking the last of the leaves, but here we are. So if you haven’t got your Thanksgiving sides planned yet, I have a fun one for you.
Shake Up Your Thanksgiving Sides
Certain foods are required for a Thanksgiving meal. Mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, stuffing, cranberries, perhaps a hot roll or biscuit, maybe green beans or Brussels sprouts. Let’s face it, the Thanksgiving side dishes are where the action is. Depending on your crowd, this is an opportunity to riff a little bit on the tried and true.
Today, I’m fooling around with that Thanksgiving staple, mashed potatoes and gravy. Potatoes are a blank canvas, and the traditional version is primed with lots of butter and salt, then painted with thick gravy. To give it a little makeover, I thought I’d go with coconut milk and wasabi in the potatoes, and make a creamy gravy from red miso and sweetly sauteed onions. Will there be riots?
I’m betting it will go over big, as everyone realizes how bored they were with the standard mash. Keep reading for the recipe.
If you’re still putting your Thanksgiving shopping list together, here’s a handy list of some of my favorite Thanksgiving appetizers, main courses, some sides, even a couple of desserts.
A Handy, Clickable List of Thanksgiving Recipes
For a fantastic veg main course that will appeal to everyone:
Homemade Mock Turkey (please forgive the photo-it’s delicious!) with a pomegranate salad recipe, too
For Holiday themed appetizers with a twist:
To shake up your sides:
Mashed Potatoes with a Twist
I love Thanksgiving. It’s a pure feast holiday, with none of the cards to mail or gifts to buy. Just a big meal to plan and a moment to practice gratitude. I’m glad that we take a whole day to give thanks for food, family, and friends. That’s what I’ll be doing, as I cook up a bunch of sides to take to a friend’s house. I’m the lucky one, she makes the main meal for her extended family, with turkey and all the fixings, and I can bring what I like the best. The sides. Of course, they will all add up to a more than bountiful meal for the vegetarians, and everyone who feels adventurous can have some, too.
For my potatoes, I bought some purple skinned potatoes that turned out to be snowy white inside. They were delicious, but you could use your favorite potato. I’d lean toward Yukon Golds, or you can always be traditional and go with a russet potato. I always like to boil my potatoes whole, so that they retain more vitamins, and don’t absorb as much water. Wet potatoes make the mash watery, diluting the flavors. The vitamins in the potato are just below the skin, so if you strip the papery skins off after boiling, you get the nutrition without the skin.
Coconut milk is perfect for mashed potatoes. Use full fat, and don’t skimp. A 15 ounce can contains about a cup and a half, so you will have a half cup left over. It freezes well, or you can use it in the yams with peanut sauce recipe above. You can use wasabi paste in a tube, or mix powdered wasabi with water, in a 1 to 1 ratio.
For the gravy, I went with a nice slow saute of onions in olive oil, and then sprinkled in flour. If you have a GF diner coming, sub sweet rice flour for unbleached. Everyone will be too busy marveling at the miso flavor to notice. I used plain rice milk, but you can use almond, soy, or your favorite, as long as it’s not sweet.
So to all of you, I wish a bountiful and happy Thanksgiving. Despite all that goes wrong in the World, if we are lucky enough to sit down to a feast this week, we truly have a reason to be thankful.
Coconut Wasabi Potatoes with Miso Gravy and Crisped Sage
The beauty of this is that you can make it gluten-free just by subbing rice flour for unbleached, and nobody will notice at all. I used a good local cider with a balance of sweet and tart flavors, for a hint of apple.
Makes 5 cups potatoes and about 4 cups gravy
2 pounds potatoes
2 teaspoons wasabi paste
1 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion
3 tablespoons unbleached flour or sweet rice flour
2 cups rice milk, plain
1 cup vegetable stock
2 tablespoons apple cider
1/4 cup red miso
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh sage leaves
Boil the potatoes whole, strip off the skins while hot and put through a potato ricer or mash by hand. Whip in the coconut milk, wasabi and salt. Keep warm.
In a medium pot, heat the olive oil and add the onions. Stir over medium heat until they start to sizzle. Reduce the heat as needed to cook for about 20 minutes, let the onions get some color and really get soft. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir it in. Cook, stirring, for a few minutes. Whisk in most of the rice milk, vegetable stock, and cider, and save about half a cup. Whisk the mixture in the pan over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Whisk the miso into the reserved liquids, then whisk into the simmering gravy. Add salt to taste.
Heat the olive oil in a small saute pan over medium high heat, and drop in sage leaves, they will sizzle and crisp quickly. Transfer to a paper towel.
Serve potatoes with gravy and topped with crisped sage.