thanksgiving replay

This Thanksgiving was different than the past several ones. Normally, we buy a prepared meal from a local restaurant and eat it in the comfort of our own home. We've been doing it like this for as long as I can really remember post getting my driver's license... since I was often the one sent out with a check, the car keys, and an empty backseat.

But this year ... we cooked. Everybody made a little something and it was awesome.

Things I made for Thanksgiving: cranberry sauce, brown butter sweet potatoes, and brown butter apple clafoutis. Also, I made bagel bombs for breakfast. Bagel bombs aren't new to the repertoire but they are quite great.
A few other notes:
  • During a quick review of my recent recipes, it does appear that I've been specializing in all things brown butter. This is purely by accident - but a delicious, buttery, nutty flavored accident. I recommend you follow suit.
  • I like to relax and do as much prep as far in advance as possible. Both of these Turkey day recipes allow for plenty of time to watch Netflix and walk by the ocean. I actually even went for a run.
  • I've always wondered what I can do with the peelings from potatoes... this year I figured I would see what would happen if I tossed them with some olive oil and kosher salt... and tossed them in the oven. The answer? Essentially sweet potato chips. Pretty great.

So, here's how the new dishes come together. I didn't take many pictures during the cooking process so you'll have to refer to the top picture to see the finished product.

Cranberry Pomegranate Sauce
The decision to make cranberry sauce was slightly unexpected given that I never put it on my plate - only put it in burritos, specifically Thanksgiving burritos from my undergrad days at BC ... so that'd be a decade ago. Cranberry sauce is really easy to make - but I think you can also kill it very easily by not paying attention and over-cooking it. So, don't be scared... but be careful.

(Step 1) Mix the juice, fresh cranberries and sugar in a medium saucepan
(Step 2) Heat on medium heat until boiling and then reduce to lower temperature.
(Step 3) Simmer the "soon to be" sauce until the mixture reduces and thickens. It will be about 20 minutes. I was multi-tasking in the kitchen and so I kept the heat fairly low so I wouldn't have to pay as much attention to it ... so mine took about 25-30 minutes. No biggie.
(Step 4) Remove the pot from the stove and serve. As a friendly fyi/reminder, the sauce will thicken as it cools.

Brown Butter Roasted Sweet Potatoes
The worst part about this dish is the dicing of the sweet potatoes. The best part about this dish? Making the brown butter and tossing in the sage. I was a little insecure about making too little brown butter - but I was wrong. I had made too much. It's not the worst problem in the world ... it just makes for some slightly softer and less crispy sweet potatoes but maybe you like them like that anyway.

(Step 1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
(Step 2) Toss the sweet potatoes with the brown sugar. Set aside. I wanted to reduce the amount of dishes - so I did all the prep and cooking in two foil pans. Do what you want - but doing extra dishes is dumb.
(Step 3) In a sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter until it turns brown and nutty, about 6 minutes. One way that I can gauge my butter is "brown" is by when the bubbles turn a shade of brown, as opposed to white.
(Step 4) Remove the butter from the heat and add the sage and thyme. Pour the brown butter and herbs over the sweet potatoes, making sure to get all of the brown bits. Toss well, thoroughly coating all of the sweet potatoes with the brown butter and herbs. (BTW, at this point I had quite literally put the pot in my mom's face twice and said "doesn't this smell amazing!")
(Step 5) If you haven't already ... transfer the sweet potatoes to a roasting pan, large enough that the potatoes are in a single layer-ish. My foil pans didn't quite allow for this but it really turns out just fine. 
(Step 6) Roast for 40 minutes to 1 hour at 400 F, or until the sweet potatoes are tender and caramelized. A couple times you should probably mix them up a bit with a spoon or spatula just to make sure you've got brown butter all over those potatoes.

Shopping List 
Cranberry Sauce (makes approx. 2 cups and based on this recipe)
2 cups Pomegranate juice
3 cups fresh cranberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh pomegranate seeds

Sweet Potatoes (makes approx. 8 servings)
4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” cubes
¼ cup dark brown sugar
8 T butter
1 T thinly sliced sage leaves (or about 3 leaves?)
1 T finely chopped thyme leaves

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