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Ask An LA Chef: Best Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes

thanksgiving stuffing
(credit: Shutterstock)

(credit: Shutterstock)
As the gastropub generation becomes increasingly enticed with the culinary twists and turns chefs are giving everyday meals, Thanksgiving Day dinner may be long overdue for a revamping itself. While messing with the traditional turkey dinner might be considered sacrilegious by most mothers and grandmothers and the burn-the-house-down-for-the-holidays deep-fried turkey, the vodka-infused turkey or the turducken are culinary crimes in some states; there is a way to put a spin on the holiday feast while cutting down on the risks. Side dishes.

Shad Davis
The Federal Bar
5303 Lankershim Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601
(818) 980-2555

Head chef for The Federal Bar 1 and 2, Shad Davis offers his insight and innovation for the holidays with three contemporary side dishes that are sure to wow even the finickiest of family members. Shad's easy-to-follow recipes will have you serving up amazing side dishes that guests will think came straight from a gastropub.

Related: Vegan Baking Recipes From The Skinny Bitch

brussel sprouts
(credit: istockphoto)

Crispy Brussels Sprouts
• 5 lbs Brussels sprouts cut in half (clean the bottom first)
• 2 lbs pancetta, bake like bacon, get crispy
• 1 lb spicy pecans (buy the package at Whole Foods or look up recipe)
• 1 recipe of apricot gastrique

Procedure for Brussels sprouts:

• In large pot (tall sides), fill 1/4 full with canola oil (or frying oil).
• Bring temperature of oil to 375 F.
• Carefully drop half of the Brussels sprouts and fry until browned, not black.
• With a slotted spoon, take the first batch of Brussels spouts out of oil and place on a pan with paper towel.
• Do the same thing with the last of the Brussels sprouts.

In large bowl:

• Mix crispy Brussels sprouts with the pancetta and then salt and pepper to taste.
• Place in a serving vessel.
• Add the spicy pecans on top.
• Drizzle apricot gastrique generously.

(credit: istockphoto)

Cauliflower & Chestnut Stuffing

• 3/4 cup butter or olive oil
• 1 leek, cut into half moons
• 2 stalks celery, cut into small pieces
• 1 head cauliflower, broken into florets
• 1 cup chestnuts
• 1 cup dried cranberries (reconstituted)
• 1 cup roasted carrots, cut into small cubes
• 2 lemons (juiced)
• 1 teaspoon lemon zest
• 2 garlic cloves (minced)
• 2 tbsp of tikka Masala
• 1/3 cup roughly chopped parsley
• 1/2 tbsp Kosher salt
• 1/2 tbsp fresh ground black pepper

Procedure for stuffing:

• In a large bowl, toss the leeks, celery, cauliflower, chestnuts and carrots with either the melted butter or olive oil, and add salt and pepper.
• Spread it out on a sheet pan and bake at 400 F for 20 minutes.
• Once browned with a bit of crisp to the carrots and cauliflower, take out of the oven.

008_root vegetables_CassandraWalker
(credit: Cassandra Walker)

Quinotto with Roasted Root Veggies

For the roasted root veggies:

• 3 tbsp canola oil
• 3 medium red potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
• 2 cups fresh whole baby carrots
• 1 lb parsnip, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
• 1 turnip, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
• 1 cup pearl onions, pealed
• 2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
• 5 cloves garlic, cut into thin slices
• 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves or fresh thyme leaves
• 1 tbsp olive oil

Procedure for roasted root veggies:

• Toss in a bowl and place on a sheet pan.
• Roast in 400 F oven for 30 minutes.
• Take out of the oven and set aside.

For the quinotto:

• 3 cups of cooked quinoa (about 2 1/2 cups)
• 1/4 cup butter
• 3/4 cup heavy cream
• 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
• 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
• Salt and pepper to taste

Procedure for the quinotto:

• Add quinoa to non-stick pan (high heat).
• Add the butter and cream to quinoa and constantly stir.
• Once cream and butter are melted, add the rest of the ingredients.
• Once thick, add the roasted root vegetables so they can get hot.
• Place in a serving dish and sprinkle with fresh parsley.

Related:;LA Restaurants With Light, Healthy Menus

Kristine G. Bottone is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. Her work can be found at

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