More Unique Thanksgiving Side Dishes

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Heide Lang, owner of the Fig Cooking School, is back with two more new Thanksgiving side dishes for you to try: bourbon mashed sweet potatoes and pancetta cups with goat cheese and grapes. Her recipes are below.

Bourbon mashed sweet potatoes
This recipe is easy and a real crowd pleaser. It is also a wonderful alternative to the traditional sweet potato casserole.

Ingredients:

  • 4 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup heavy cream at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup bourbon whiskey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)**
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)

**Adding cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg will give the potatoes more of a autumn taste, but will slightly take away from the pure sweet taste of the potatoes and bourbon.

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Put the potatoes on foil or parchment paper and brush with olive oil.
  3. Bake until soft and the potatoes start to “ooze” syrup, approximately 45 to 60 minutes (depending on the size of the potatoes). Remove and let cool slightly.
  4. Remove the skin and put the contents of the sweet potatoes in a medium size bowl (if using a hand blender) or place in a food processor.
  5. Add salt, bourbon, heavy cream, brown sugar and cinnamon (optional) and nutmeg (optional). Puree until smooth.
  6. Serve or cover and refrigerate overnight. This dish can me made the day before and re-heated in a microwave or oven at 350 degrees.

Pancetta cups with goat cheese and grapes
This appetizer is truly one of the best and easiest for any gathering. They are quick, easy and delicious. Your friends and family will not only love the way they look, but how they taste as well.

Ingredients:

  • 16 thin to medium slices of pancetta
  • 16 to 20 teaspoons fresh goat cheese (room temperature)
  • 8 red grapes cut in half*
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme or rosemary (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place the pancetta slices snugly in a mini-cupcake muffin pan.
  2. Bake until golden, about 10 minutes.
  3. Carefully remove pancetta from pan and place on paper towel to absorb the oil. Remove the pancetta cups from the paper towel and on to an attractive serving platter.
  4. Top each with one with a heaping teaspoon of goat cheese and a half a grape. Sprinkle with thyme or rosemary (optional) and serve.

* You may also use ripe pears halved, cored and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices or a thin slice of a firm apple instead of grapes.

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