Thanksgiving Sides

I made two fabulous side dishes for my mini Thanksgiving dinner for two this past Sunday.

Mashed Potatoes with Crispy Shallots

mashed potatoes with crispy shallots
Roasted Vegetables With Pomegranate Vinaigrette

roasted vegetables with pomegranate vinaigrette
I thought both were great choices for a simple Thanksgiving dinner.

Before deciding on the mashed potatoes with crispy shallots, I tossed around other starch ideas, like a number of different stuffings, pommes Anna, and some other potato dishes. I ultimately went with these potatoes because they seemed simple but elegant. And they were.

You could honestly use any mashed potato recipe you want. It's the shallots that really add something. I kind of wish I had kicked up the mashed potato part a little because they really were just your typical mashed potato. My mom usually adds cream cheese when she makes hers, and I think it would have been perfect in these.

Below is the recipe, adapted from Food & Wine, to make enough for dinner for two and a couple days of leftovers.

Mashed Potatoes with Crispy Shallots (adapted from Food & Wine, November 2009)

3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 peeled garlic cloves
1 cup canola oil
3 large shallots, thinly sliced
1/2 cup half-and-half
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
Kosher salt


In a large pot, cover the quartered potatoes and garlic cloves with cold water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat the canola oil until shimmering. Add the shallots in a single layer and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until they are golden, about 15 minutes (This takes nowhere near 15 minutes, so watch them carefully. As soon as the shallots start to get golden, scoop them out because they'll brown up a little more out of the oil). Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shallots to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle the shallots with salt.

shallots in oil

crispy shallots
Drain the potatoes and garlic in a colander, shaking out the excess water. Discard the garlic. Toss potatoes in bowl of electric mixer and add the half-and-half and butter. Mix on medium speed until potatoes are smooth. Just before serving, garnish the potatoes with the shallots.

Make Ahead
The mashed potatoes can be made earlier in the day and kept at room temperature; warm over moderate heat, stirring constantly (or just toss them in the microwave). The fried shallots can be kept in an airtight container for up to 3 days; reheat in the oven if desired.

mashed potatoes with crispy shallots
You've probably noticed I've been on a little pomegranate kick lately -- inspired by National Pomegranate Month and free samples from PAMA and POM Wonderful. It seemed only appropriate that after looking at numerous vegetable side dishes, I should end up with one that includes pomegranate juice and pomegranate seeds.

Roasted Vegetables with Pomegranate Vinaigrette (adapted from Martha Stewart Living, November 2009)


1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 sweet potato, cut into half-inch chunks
1/2 pound brussels sprouts, halved
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/4 cup pomegranate juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, toss vegetables with 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Spread vegetables on baking sheet lined with foil. Roast for about 30 minutes, mixing halfway through.

While the veggies are roasting, make the vinaigrette. Pour pomegranate juice into a small bowl, and slowly whisk in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Just before serving, drizzle pomegranate vinaigrette over the vegetables, and toss with pomegranate seeds.

What are your favorite Thanksgiving sides? Are you trying any new recipes this year?