Easy Dishes to Bring to Your Thanksgiving Gathering: The GW Hatchet

Come Thanksgiving season, putting together a feast-worthy dish can be a lot of pressure.

Whether you’re attending Thanksgiving with family, friends, or members of your local community, offer to bring one of these affordable dishes instead of showing up empty-handed. Discover four recipes that won’t take all day but are sure to wow your loved ones.

Bittersweet chocolate mousse
If you’re looking for a quick recipe that looks like it took a lot more time and effort than it actually did, look no further. This chocolate mousse requires only two ingredients and produces a light yet creamy dessert through a simple three-step process. An easy recipe with a delicious result, this smooth and slightly salty mousse allows the chocolate to take center stage and will serve as the optimal after-dinner dessert to leave your taste buds on a sweet and sour note.

10 ounces dark chocolate
Sea salt flakes, to taste

Combine ice and a small amount of water in a large bowl to create an ice bath. Place a smaller bowl in the ice bath, being careful not to completely submerge it in the water.

Put the chocolate and a cup of water in a small pot in the oven over medium heat. Beat for about three to five minutes or until the mixture is melted and smooth.

Immediately pour the melted chocolate into the bowl in the ice bath. Beat the chocolate mixture briskly by hand for about three to five minutes until thick. Once the chocolate is fluffy and can form a mound when whipped with the whisk, the mousse is ready to use. In the event that the mixture hesitates to thicken, add a little more chopped chocolate and melt again on the fire. Serve the mousse in bowls and sprinkle a small amount of sea salt flakes on top.

potato cake
Although it’s a more complicated recipe, this tasty addition to a meal still delivers a big hit for your Thanksgiving celebration. For those of us who can’t get enough of potato dishes during the holiday season, this soft yet crunchy effort is just for you. This potato cake elevates and gives more definition to a typical potato dish like the classic mashed potato. The product will leave your loved ones begging for the recipe.

3 pounds red potatoes (about 6 medium-large), scrubbed
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
A pinch of ground nutmeg
½ cup crème fraîche or sour cream, at room temperature
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives

Heat the oven to 425 degrees and bake the potatoes directly on the oven rack until they are tender-done on the inside with crispy skin, which should take between an hour and an hour and 15 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the oven and let them sit at room temperature until they are cool enough to handle but still warm. Lower the oven temperature to 400 degrees.

Heat a 10-inch oven-safe nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place the butter in the pan and stir until melted to a foamy consistency before adding the garlic to cook, stirring occasionally. Once both the garlic and butter are golden after about three minutes, remove the pan from the heat and set it aside.

Cut the hot potatoes in half and scoop out the insides on a cutting board while saving the skins to eat or discard. Chop the pulp with a knife to produce pieces of various sizes, but no larger than the size of half a walnut.

Deposit the inside of the potato in the pan, season generously with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with a pinch of nutmeg. Add the crème fraîche or sour cream and fold in the mixture while evenly coating the potatoes. Flatten the mixture gently into one layer. Place the skillet over medium-high heat to cook for about five to eight minutes until all the moisture has evaporated and the potatoes begin to develop a golden hue on the bottom.

vanilla crème brûlée
A warm and comforting dessert for both body and mind, this crème brûlée uses five ingredients, but it will look particularly striking among your selection of Thanksgiving desserts. The classic French recipe offers a creamy base contrasted with a caramelized sugar crust, easily achieved under the broiler. If you’re looking to indulge in a deliciously rich treat this year, this is the one to try.

2 cups heavy or light cream, or half and half
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon salt
5 egg yolks
½ cup sugar, more for topping

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a saucepan, combine the cream, vanilla bean, and salt. Cook over low heat until the mixture is heated through. Let stand for a few minutes. Discard the vanilla bean. If you opted to use vanilla extract, add it to the saucepan now.

In a bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar until smooth. After adding about a quarter of the cream to this mixture, pour the sugar-egg mixture into the cream and stir. Pour into four 6-ounce ramekins or small ovenproof bowls and place ramekins in a baking dish. Fill the dish with boiling water until the waterline is halfway up the side. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the centers of the crème brûlée are just set. After cooling completely, refrigerate for several hours.

Before serving the dishes, top each flan with a teaspoon of sugar in a thin layer. Place ramekins on a broiler two to three inches from the heat source. Turn on the broiler and cook for about five minutes until the sugar is melted and browned and maybe even a bit blackened. Serve in two hours.

Butternut Squash and Apple Cider Soup
The last recipe is a cozy side dish to warm up your guests on a chilly Thanksgiving night. This soup combines all the seasonal ingredients to create a delicious fall dish, and includes apple cider as a surprise element to tie it all together. This delicious fall recipe only takes 30 minutes to prepare.

– ½ large white or yellow onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
8 cups pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and cubed
1 cup chicken broth (or water) with more to thin as needed
1 ½ cups apple cider
– ½ cup to ⅔ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
ground black pepper
bread to serve

Place a medium saucepan over low heat and add the onion, garlic and ½ Glass of water. Cook for about five to seven minutes until the shallot and garlic soften, being careful not to let them burn. The water will have almost completely evaporated at this point.

Add the pumpkin and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover with lid, and simmer for about 20 minutes until pumpkin is soft.

Carefully pour the mixture into a blender. Holding the top down, mix until smooth. Add the cider, one ½ cup of sour cream and salt. Continue blending until well combined. Taste and add more salt and sour cream if needed. Thin the mixture with more broth; you may need as much as another cup. Taste and adjust seasoning again as needed. Serve the soup immediately with fresh bread.

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