Spiced Squash Soup
This beautiful squash soup can be heated up in a slow cooker to save space when the stovetop is occupied with other items being prepared for the Thanksgiving feast.
Look for a squash that's heavy for its size for the best flavour and texture.
1 small butternut squash (about 1 kg/2 lb)
15 ml (1 tbsp) canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
10 ml (2 tsp) dried oregano leaves
5 ml (1 tsp) paprika
1 ml (1/4 tsp) ground cinnamon
1.25 l (5 cups) vegetable broth
30 ml (2 tbsp) chopped fresh coriander
Cut squash in half crosswise and peel using a vegetable peeler. Remove seeds and chop squash to yield about 1.25 l (5 cups).
In a soup pot, heat oil over medium heat and cook onion and garlic for 3 minutes. Add squash, oregano, paprika and cinnamon and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for about 25 minutes or until squash is very tender.
Using an immersion blender, puree soup until smooth. Alternatively, ladle into blender or food processor in batches and puree until smooth. Return to soup pot, stir in coriander and warm through.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Corn and Sage Bread
Corn is sweet and creamy and fills every pocket of this bread. Any leftovers will make a delicious cornbread stuffing to enjoy with turkey.
75 ml (1/3 cup) butter, melted (divided)
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
15 ml (1 tbsp) chopped fresh sage or 5 ml (1 tsp) dried sage leaves
4 cobs corn, shucked
500 ml (2 cups) all-purpose flour
375 ml (1 1/2 cups) cornmeal
20 ml (4 tsp) baking powder
7 ml (1 1/2 tsp) salt
375 ml (1 1/2 cups) milk
To a non-stick skillet, add 15 ml (1 tbsp) of the butter with onion, celery, jalapeno and sage and cook over medium heat for about 7 minutes or until softened. Set aside to cool.
Using a chef's knife, cut kernels off corn cobs and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk together milk, eggs and remaining melted butter. Add milk mixture to flour mixture along with cooked onion mixture and stir to combine. Stir in corn kernels until well combined.
Scrape batter into six 15-by-8-cm (5 3/4-by-3 1/4-inch) parchment paper-lined loaf pans and smooth top. Bake in a 190 C (375 F) oven for about 30 minutes or until cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean.
Makes 6 loaves.
Cheese Option: Sprinkle 175 ml (3/4 cup) shredded cheddar, dividing evenly, over top of cornbread before baking.
Cornbread Muffins: Divide batter among 12 greased muffin tins and bake for about 20 minutes.
Mandarin Orange Cranberry Relish
This uncooked relish is quick to prepare and once it ripens overnight in the refrigerator can last for up to two weeks in an airtight container. This pairs perfectly with turkey.
2 mandarin oranges, scrubbed
500 ml (2 cups) fresh or frozen cranberries
250 ml (1 cup) granulated sugar
175 ml (3/4 cup) finely chopped toasted walnuts
15 ml (1 tbsp) orange liqueur
Using a microplane (rasp) remove 7 ml (1 1/2 tsp) of the mandarin rind. Peel and section mandarins.
In a food processor, pulse mandarin sections and cranberries until chopped. Scrape into a bowl.
Stir in sugar, walnuts, liqueur and mandarin rind until well combined. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.
Makes enough for 8 to 10 servings.
Tip: If mandarin oranges are unavailable use one large seedless orange.
Egg Bread and Mushroom Stuffing
This recipe makes enough to fill your turkey and have a casserole alongside or simply fill a large casserole dish for a delicious side dish that's crunchy on the top and moist inside.
1 large loaf (750 g/1 1/2 lb) egg bread or challah (or two smaller loaves), cut into 1-cm (1/2-inch) cubes
125 ml (1/2 cup) butter, divided
2 pkgs (114 g/3.5 oz) each oyster and shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch green onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
45 ml (3 tbsp) chopped fresh sage
10 ml (2 tsp) chopped fresh thyme
1 red pepper, diced
250 ml (1 cup) fresh apple cider
2 ml (1/2 tsp) each salt and pepper
175 ml (3/4 cup) shredded Manchego cheese
In a large non-stick skillet, melt half of the butter over medium-high heat and cook mushrooms, onions, garlic, sage and thyme for about 8 minutes or until liquid has evaporated. Add red pepper and cook for 2 minutes or until softened.
Scrape mushroom mixture into a large bowl; add egg bread and toss gently. Drizzle cider over mixture and toss to soften bread and mushroom mixture. Scrape into a greased 3-l (13-by-9-inch) shallow casserole dish. Melt remaining butter and drizzle over bread mixture. Sprinkle with cheese.
Cover with foil and bake in a 180 C (350 F) oven for about 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 15 minutes or until golden and crispy.
Makes 12 servings.
Make ahead: Cover with plastic wrap before baking and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Add about 10 minutes to baking time.
Roasted Vegetable Medley
Seasonal vegetables are so tasty when their sweetness and texture is showcased. A mixture of vegetables will give you slightly different textures.
2 small red onions
4 parsnips, peeled and cut into 2.5-cm (1-inch) cubes
Half rutabaga, peeled and cut into 2.5-cm (1-inch) cubes
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2.5-cm (1-inch) cubes
45 ml (3 tbsp) canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
30 ml (2 tbsp) each chopped fresh oregano and thyme
2 ml (1/2 tsp) each salt and pepper
30 ml (2 tbsp) pure maple syrup
15 ml (1 tbsp) chopped fresh Italian parsley
Cut each onion into 8 wedges and place in a large bowl. Add parsnips, rutabaga and sweet potato. Drizzle with oil and add garlic, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper and toss to combine. Scrape vegetables onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet and roast in a 425 F (220 C) oven for about 45 minutes, stirring twice or until golden brown and tender. Remove to a large bowl and drizzle with maple syrup and sprinkle with parsley before serving.
Makes 8 servings.
Spicy Sweet Vegetable Option: Add 5 ml (1 tsp) hot pepper sauce with maple syrup.
Squash Cannelloni Baked in Sage Cream Sauce
Richards' family Thanksgiving celebration tends to have an Italian twist because of her heritage. "We do have turkey as our main course, but there's always pasta on the table. We have that first course of pasta and then move on to the turkey. It's something I grew up doing."
The rich squash filling makes these mouthwatering cannelloni a perfect first course or vegetarian offering. Using egg roll wrappers, which require no precooking, speeds up preparation.
30 ml (2 tbsp) butter
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
30 ml (2 tbsp) chopped fresh Italian parsley
500 ml (2 cups) diced squash or pumpkin
125 ml (1/2 cup) vegetable stock
250 ml (1 cup) diced cream cheese
75 ml (1/3 cup) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
125 ml (1/2 cup) seasoned dry breadcrumbs
1 ml (1/4 tsp) each salt and pepper
12 egg roll wrappers
Sage Tomato Cream Sauce
45 ml (3 tbsp) butter
15 ml (1 tbsp) chopped fresh sage leaves or 10 ml (2 tsp) dried sage leaves
1 can (540 ml/19 oz) stewed tomatoes
125 ml (1/2 cup) 35 per cent whipping cream
Sage Tomato Cream Sauce: In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat and cook sage for 2 minutes until fragrant and golden. Add tomatoes and mash with potato masher. Add cream and bring to a boil; set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large non-stick skillet, melt butter over medium heat and cook onion, garlic and parsley for 3 minutes or until softened. Add pumpkin and stock and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes or until pumpkin is tender and almost all of the stock has evaporated. Remove from heat and stir in cream and Parmesan cheeses. Add breadcrumbs, salt and pepper and stir until well combined.
Spoon 45 ml (3 tbsp) of the filling along one side of an egg roll wrapper and roll up. Place in a greased baking dish. Repeat with remaining filling and wrappers, nestling each close together. Pour sauce over cannelloni; cover with foil and bake in a 180 C (350 F) oven for about 30 minutes or until pasta is tender and sauce is bubbling.
Makes 12 cannelloni.
Tip: Use the remaining wrappers in the package for ravioli or cut them into strips for a fresh pasta dish another weeknight.