We’re not terribly tradition bound with our Thanksgiving meal. Sometimes we stuff the turkey and sometimes not. Sometimes it’s cornbread and made with stale baguettes. Vegetables are whatever looks good in the market. Gravy is a matter of last-minute inspiration (or whatever replaces inspiration in the clutch).
But there are two dishes that we always have: 1) cranberry salsa made with lots of ginger, hot peppers and cilantro, and 2) a chile relleno casserole (left). I think because we were living in the West when we got married and had our kids that those flavors really seems to resonate.
The leftover salsa makes the best turkey sandwiches on the planet. There never is any leftover chile relleno, which plays along with all the other contents of the plate a lot better than you’d think.
Do you have any similar oddities?
If you’re interested in the recipes, here they are:
Chile Relleno CasseroleMakes 8 servings Preparation time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 60 minutes
A San Diegan with whom we often share the holiday prepares this chile-cheese bake. Though it seems a weird interloper on the table, I now couldn’t imagine Thanksgiving without it.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter bottom and sides of a 3-quart casserole or souffle dish.
Layer cheeses and chiles in bottom of dish. Beat eggs, flour, milk and seasonings and pour over cheese and chiles; dish should be half full. Bake for 1 hour. Mixture will rise, brown and should be relatively firm in the center.
Per serving: 414 calories (percent of calories from fat, 56), 24 grams protein, 21 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 26 grams fat, 211 milligrams cholesterol, 653 milligrams sodium.
Cranberry SalsaMakes 10 servings Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 5 minutes Chilling time: at least 1 hour
I started making this dish when we lived in Colorado. Try to find the small serrano peppers, which taste so good in combination with fruit, to use for this salsa. If you can’t, jalapeno peppers are an acceptable substitute. And don’t hesitate to add more sugar, lime juice, rum or minced pepper, to your taste.
Combine the minced orange zest, minced ginger, sugar and water in a small, nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Meanwhile, chop the cranberries finely in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Transfer cranberries to a nonreactive bowl. Cook the sugar mixture until very thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes. Pour over the cranberries, using a rubber spatula to scrape every bit. Add minced peppers, salt, cilantro, lime juice and rum. Mix well. Taste and adjust sugar if necessary. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Note: May be made up to a week ahead.
Per serving: 65 calories (percent of (calories from fat, 1), less than 1 gram protein, 16 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, less than 1 gram fat, no cholesterol, 16 milligrams sodium.
-by John Kessler for the Food & More blog