Creative yet simple Thanksgiving Side Dishes with Chef Ric Orlando

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Thanksgiving is just a week away and you can practically smell all the delicious food. While many love the Turkey, you can’t forget about side dishes! NEWS10’s Ben Ryan stopped by the New World Bistro Bar in Albany to speak with Chef Ric Orlando on creative yet simple dishes.

Recipes courtesy of Chef Ric Orlando:

Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Roasted, caramelized, luscious!

Brussels Sprouts are finally very trendy! They are bred to be less bitter, and thus have become the hottest vegetable in the market! Here is a very simple recipe to get them on your Thanksgiving table. You can pop them in the oven for the last half hour of roasting your turkey. You can even cook them a day in advance and reheat them. They should be pretty well cooked to bring out their sweetness and caramelize the vinegar. ( Some sprouts are wound tighter than others, so the roasting time may vary depending upon the particular batch of sprouts you are cooking. Make sure they are nicely browned, but not black)

Serves 4

  • 1 1/2 pound medium Brussels sprouts
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 8-cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 4 medium shallots, cut in half
  • 6 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Prepare Brussels sprouts by trimming off any dry or loose leaves. Cut off brown end off of the stem to expose the white core of the stem.

Cut an “X” into the bottom of the core of the stem, about 2 or three millimeters deep.

In a mixing bowl, toss all ingredients to coat well. Let marinate at least 15 minutes or up to an hour.

Put everything in a roasting pan and loosely cover with parchment paper or foil. Bake about 30 minutes, then check the sprouts. They will begin to soften and become golden. Poke a big one with a skewer or toothpick. It should be tender. If they need a little more time, let it happen. When they are just tender, remove the covering and allow to cook 10 more minutes until lightly browned. They should be very tender when done. 

Serve them right in the roasting dish and make sure everyone gets a piece of shallot and a clove of garlic.

Four Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

These are a big favorite at all parties, but especially Thanksgiving, and why not? They are so simple and delicious, vegetarian, gluten free and…addictive.

You really should stuff button mushrooms here, they have the shape you need. If you forage or just have a love of shiitakes,  the filling can handle a mix in of any mushroom. As a matter of fact, it’s a great place to use up the trim and broken pieces of Morels, Chanterelles or Boletes. Juts avoid any woody, stringy stems.

And don’t be weird. There is absolutely nothing wrong with white cultivated mushrooms. It’s not like the are white versus whole grain. Someone once asked me if brown mushrooms were healthier. People get the stupidest ideas sometimes! These work GREAT for stuffing and taste delish.

INGREDIENTS

  • 32 large button mushrooms
  • Neural vegetable oil as needed, I like sunflower or grapeseed oil and
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup grated smoked gouda or smoked gruyere cheese
  • ¼ cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
  • ¼ cup grated Parmigiana cheese, divided in half

METHOD

Preheat oven to 400.

Examine the mushroom and brush any debris from them. Do not wash! Carefully remove the stems from the mushrooms and reserve.

Put the mushroom caps in a large mixing bowl. Add ½ cup vegetable oil and gently toss to coat well, getting the mushroom good and wet. Season with salt and pepper. Yea, it seems like a lot of oil, but as they roast they will give most of it back, which you can use for roasting the stems in step two.

Arrange the 24 biggest, prettiest mushroom caps on a cookie sheet and bake for 4-6 minutes until sizzling but still a little firm.

Pour off any oil and juices that accumulated on the pan and reserve.

Meanwhile roughly chop the remaining 8 mushroom caps.

Mix these with all of the stems and toss back in the mixing bowl with the reserved oil and juices from the first roast. 

Add a little more oil if needed to coat them thoroughly, then season  with salt and pepper generously.

Lay out on a cookie sheet, roast for about 8 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges.

Put this roasted mix in a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground. Mix with all of the cheeses except half of the Parmigiana. Stuff the mushroom cheese mix into the roasted caps. At this point the mushrooms are ready to bake.

Bake at 400 for about 4-5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. You can also refrigerate them up to 48 hours or freeze for later use. If reserving, sprinkle with the remaining Parmigiana before baking.

Shaved Fennel and Orange Salad

This is a light, bright, crispy salad that showcases the seasonally fresh fennel in a great way. This is a great salad alternative to serve with a rich hearty dinner like Turkey! It’s pretty, bold, and super Italian.

Serves 4

  • 2 Bulbs Fennel
  • 2 oranges or 4 clementines
  • ¼ cup Kalamata or Oil Cured black Olives
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional shaved Ricotta Salata cheese

To prepare the fennel, remove the stems and core and slice the white bulb as thinly as possible.

  • Put in a bowl.
  • Peel the oranges or clementines and separate into segments.
  • Add to the fennel.
  • Add the olives.
  • Drizzle with a little olive oil and fresh lemon juice and season with salt and black pepper to taste.

Too simple, too good!”

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