Vinoteca’s glazed turnips and dried fruits dish makes the most of an underappreciated root veggie.
Welcome to the Day Before Thanksgiving. If, within the next 24 hours, you’re not stuck in interstate traffic, packed tight on a train or bored silly at an airport, you, dear reader, must be the one preparing and/or hosting the big meal tomorrow (lucky you!). Whatever your role, you’ll probably want to eat more than just turkey and mashed potatoes — it’s Americans’ unofficial day of gluttony, after all. That’s why we’re offering a second serving of Thanksgiving side-dish recipes from local chefs (see last week’s batch here). This batch comes complete with suggestions for time-saving shortcuts since, hey, last-minute menu changes happen.
Glazed Turnips With Dried Fruits
Recipe by Lonnie Zoeller, chef of Vinoteca (1940 11th St. NW; 202-332-9463)
Turnips, a typically underappreciated root veggie, get their due in Vinoteca chef Lonnie Zoeller’s dish — a twist on a kale-and-dried-fruits side ($6) on the restaurant’s fall menu. “The turnips add a crispy element,” and their zippy, slightly spicy flavor balances out the sugary profile of the dried fruit. The garlic-butter glaze adds a savory dimension. “To me, the dish represents fall heading into winter,” Zoeller says.
1 whole garlic bulb
Olive oil, drizzle
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 pounds baby turnips, greens trimmed and saved
1 tablespoon dry currents
1 tablespoon dry golden raisins
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons pork, chicken, beef or vegetable stock
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Makes about four servings. Make the garlic butter: Heat oven to 275 degrees. Trim off the top of the garlic, cover with olive oil and place in a saute pan. Add a spoonful of water, cover with foil and place in the oven to roast for about an hour, until garlic is soft and golden. Remove the garlic from the bulb and puree in a food processor with unsalted butter. Set aside 2 tablespoons of garlic butter for the recipe (save the rest to spread on bread).
In a medium pot, place the turnips in enough water to cover and then salt generously. Bring to a very light simmer, until a paring knife can penetrate the turnips and be removed easily, then place the turnips on a towel to dry. When cool, cut them into wedges.
In a small pot, lightly simmer currents and golden raisins in ¼ cup of water until soft. Cool fruit in a bowl; reserve water for sauce.
In a large saute pan on medium/high heat, heat canola oil and lightly brown turnips on several sides, seasoning with salt and pepper. Add garlic butter. Toast slightly, until butter starts to bubble. Add the turnip greens, followed by the fruit, with a little of the reserved water and the stock. Continue cooking at medium heat until the greens are wilted and the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon (4 to 5 minutes). Serve immediately.
Use premade garlic butter (available at local Whole Foods). Buy pretrimmed turnips; instead of turnip greens, sub in 2 cups (unpacked) of kale, Swiss chard or arugula.
Roasted chestnuts, bacon and cornbread are among the key ingredients in Founding Farmers’ and Farmers Fishers Bakers’ stuffing.
Roasted Chestnut Cornbread Stuffing
Recipe from Founding Farmers (1924 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 202-822-8783; 12505 Park Potomac Ave., Potomac, Md., 301-340-8783) and Farmers Fishers Bakers (3000 K St. NW; 202-298-8783)
This stuffing — which will be served as part of Founding Farmers’ and Farmers Fishers Bakers’ Thanksgiving Day menu ($35; noon to 8 p.m.) — takes advantage of chestnuts’ limited seasonal availability to add a nutty flavor. Chunks of bacon lend salty richness. The dish may be prepared a day ahead — just don’t bake it until an hour or so before you plan to serve the meal.
1⁄2 pound day-old white bread, in 1⁄4-inch pieces
1⁄2 cup chestnuts, shelled, roasted and rough-chopped
1⁄2 cup raw, thick-cut bacon, in 1⁄4-inch pieces
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups celery, diced
1 1⁄2 cups yellow onion, diced
2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
2 tablespoons rubbed dried sage
3⁄4 pound baked cornbread, crumbled
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 1⁄2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 1⁄2 cups chicken broth
1⁄2 cup fresh parsley, rough-chopped
Serves six or seven people.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread white bread on cookie sheet and place in oven to dry. Do not brown. Remove from oven and set aside. Spread chestnuts on a cookie sheet and roast for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
In a large, deep skillet, saute bacon over moderately high heat, stirring until browned, about 10 minutes. Add butter, celery and onions and cook, stirring until softened, about 5 minutes. Add poultry seasoning and sage and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from stove and let cool enough to handle.
In a large bowl, toss together cornbread, white bread, bacon mixture, maple syrup, black pepper, salt, lemon juice, chicken broth, roasted chestnuts and parsley. Cover and refrigerate until ready to heat.
Transfer to a casserole dish, cover with foil and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until top is golden brown. Remove from oven and serve.
Evening Star Cafe’s broccoli rabe is a hearty addition to a Thanksgiving menu.
Recipe by Jim Jeffords, executive chef of Evening Star Cafe (2000 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria; 703-549-5051)
The simplicity of Evening Star Cafe’s broccoli rabe recipe belies its strong flavors, says executive chef Jim Jeffords, who prefers the more intensely earthy flavor of broccoli rabe over regular broccoli. “It’s good for anyone who’s looking for a very hearty, bitter winter green,” he says. The restaurant serves the garlicky dish as a side and as an accompaniment to its salmon and dumplings entree ($22), where it’s topped with a black mustard Hollandaise sauce. For advanced home cooks, Hollandaise makes a great topping for this broccoli rabe, Jeffords says.
3 bunches broccoli rabe
10 whole garlic cloves
1 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
Serves six people.
Make the garlic oil: Place the oil and garlic cloves in a saute pan. Slowly bring up the heat of the oil until the garlic starts to brown. Remove from heat and let sit for 45 minutes.
Chop the broccoli stems about 2 inches from the head. Discard the ends. Blanche by submerging the broccoli in a large pot of salted boiling water. Cook for approximately 3 minutes or until tender. Remove and place the broccoli in ice water.
Drizzle some of the garlic oil into a saute pan (reserve the rest for future use). Heat. Add the broccoli and toss continuously until it is heated through. Sprinkle the red pepper flakes on top and mix well.
Use premade garlic oil (find it at Secolari, 7249 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda; 800-946-2077; or at Sapore, 660 Pennsylvania Ave. SE; 202-544-4133).
Extra Bites: Bacon Popcorn Balls
Recipe by Nate Waugaman, executive chef of EatBar (2761 Washington Blvd., Arlington; 703-778-9951)
Find this recipe in last week’s post, “Consider All Sides.”
Editor’s Note: The recipes in this article were submitted by the restaurants featured. They were not tested by Express.
Photo Credit: Samer Farha; Marge Ely/Express; Marge Ely/Express; Marge Ely/Express