If you want to impress guests, here are some untraditional takes on Thanksgiving classics, courtesy of chefs Cat Cora, Ian Bryant, Aarón Sanchez and Devin Alexander.
Cat Cora’s Signature Brussels Sprouts
3 pounds Brussels sprouts
¼ cup unsalted butter
1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoon capers
2 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoon Parmesan cheese (grated), for garnish
- Prepare the Brussels sprouts by peeling off the tired outside leaves and cutting off the stem. Mark the core where the stem was with an X using a paring knife. Cut the sprouts in half.
- In a 4-quart sauce pan bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Season with 1 tablespoon of salt. Blanch the sprouts for 10 minutes, or until fork tender.
- In a 10-inch sauté pan, brown the butter and add in the sprouts. Cook on medium-high heat, rolling the sprouts in the pan, until the sprouts are caramelized, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, and add the capers and lemon juice. Sprinkle with cheese.
Courtesy of Cat Cora, world-renowned chef, restaurateur, author, television host and personality, and avid philanthropist. And genuinely very nice person. catcora.com
NOTE: If you find yourself waiting to board a flight — I know, unimaginable right? — and still have a hankering for Thanksgiving fixings, Cat Cora’s Kitchen is located in airports throughout the U.S., serving up these very same Brussels sprouts.
Gluten-Free Brown Rice Fettuccine with Butternut Squash Cashew Alfredo Sauce
Butternut Squash Alfredo Sauce
Makes 1 quart
1 onion, small diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup cashews
2 cups vegetable stock
¼ cup nutritional yeast
Pinch of green peppercorns
Pinch of herbs de provence
Salt and pepper to taste
1 butternut squash
One box of gluten-free brown rice fettuccine
Roast the Squash:
- Halve butternut squash. Place skin up on a lined oven sheet pan, either using parchment paper or a silicon mat. Roast for approximately 1 hour at 300° F until soft. Once softened and cooled, scoop out the inside of the squash and put aside.
Prepare the Sauce:
- Add a high heat oil (avocado oil) to a medium or large sauté pan, on high heat. Add the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt, stirring occasionally, until they are translucent and sweet.
- Add the sautéed onions and garlic (once cooled), 2 cups of vegetable stock, ¼ cup yeast, pinches of the peppercorns, herbs de provence, salt and pepper to a blender and blend on high until smooth.
- Next, add the cashews to alfredo sauce, adding ½ cup at a time to the blender. Blend until smooth.
- Add one cup of the cooked and softened butternut squash to the blender and blend. Depending on how sweet the squash is, add a ½ cup at a time to taste until a balanced sauce is achieved.
Prepare the Pasta:
- Meanwhile boil 8 cups of water and add one box of brown rice gluten-free fettuccine. Simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until al dente. Strain and rinse under cool water once done.
Heat the Sauce:
- While the pasta is cooking, pour the sauce into the pan. Bring the sauce to a simmer then remove from the heat.
- Add pasta to the warmed sauce to any desired amount and serve.
Chorizo and Cornbread Stuffing
Makes 3 cups
1 pound fresh Aarón’s Chorizo (see below)
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cups coarsely crumbled cornbread
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish (optional)
½ cup low-sodium chicken stock
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Grated cotija cheese, for garnish (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and cook the chorizo, breaking it up with a spoon and stirring occasionally as it cooks, until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic to the chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have browned, about 10 minutes. Add the crumbled cornbread and cilantro. Gradually stir in enough of the stock so the stuffing is not too dry but at the same time not too wet. Stir gently and well.
- Butter a small casserole dish. Spread the stuffing in an even layer. Bake until it’s heated through and lightly browned on top, about 20 minutes. Serve right away, garnished with the cilantro and cotija, if desired.
Makes 2 pounds
1 pound ground beef chuck
1 pound ground pork
3 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
1 tablespoon salt
¼ cup white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground canela (Mexican cinnamon) or ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground star anise
½ teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoon crushed dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
¼ cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon sugar
½ cup ancho chile powder
- Put the ground beef and pork in a large bowl. Add the garlic, salt, and vinegar and mix well (your hands are the best tools for this job). Add pepper, canela, star anise, cloves and oregano and mix well. Add the wine and sugar and mix well.
- Bring 1 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan. Put the chile powder in a small bowl, pour in the boiling water, and stir well to make a paste. Let it cool to room temperature. Work the paste into the meat with your fingers until it’s well incorporated. Cover and refrigerate overnight before you use it. Store in 2-ounce portions in Ziploc bags in the refrigerator for up to a week, or freeze for up to 3 months.
Perfect Pumpkin Pie-lets
9 mini fillo shells
2 large egg whites
¼ cup solid pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon Truvia
1 teaspoon brown sugar
½ tablespoon whole grain oat flour
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ + 1/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/16 teaspoon salt
9 teaspoons “Devinly Whipped Topping”
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a small baking sheet with nonstick foil. Place the fillo shells side-by-side on the baking sheet so they don’t touch.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the egg whites, pumpkin, maple syrup, Truvia, brown sugar and flour until well combined. Whisk in the vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking powder and salt, and continue mixing until well combined. Divide the filling among the fillo shells, about 1 tablespoon in each.
- Bake the pie-lets for 10-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out sticky – shouldn’t be runny, but won’t be dry. Allow them to cool to room temperature. Just before serving, top each bite with 1 teaspoon whipped topping. Enjoy immediately.
Devinly “Whipped Cream”
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
¾ cup light agave nectar
- Add the egg whites, cream of tartar, and xanthan gum to the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on medium speed until combined and the egg whites have just started to foam.
- Pour the agave in a small saucepan and place it over medium heat. Making sure to watch it very carefully, heat the agave until it comes to a boil – it boils quickly and may burn if unattended even for seconds.
- Turn the mixer to high and slowly pour in the hot agave (stand back, making sure that it does not accidentally splatter on you). Let it continue to whip until the topping is very thick, very fluffy, has very stiff peaks, and has turned white. Enjoy immediately, transferring any leftover to an airtight plastic container and store in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.