Sunday, November 16, 2008

Pre-Thanksgiving: Creamed succotash, orange-cranberry sauce

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Here are two things I made for a graduate teaching assistant Thanksgiving potluck—which took place two and a half weeks before actual Thanksgiving Day. Now you see how behind I am.

Because I had both corn and lima beans, I took a recipe for creamed corn and a recipe for lima beans in cream and mashed them together to make what I later realized was a creamed succotash. It turned out really well! Here's the recipe:

Take half an onion, minced, and cook it in half a stick of melted butter until it is translucent. Add the kernels from about six or seven ears of corn and a one-pound bag of frozen lima beans. Add half a cup of water, bring to a boil, and then lower heat and allow the vegetable to simmer for about ten or fifteen minutes to cook through. Add a cup of half-and-half (both recipes call for heavy cream, but I decided to lighten things up a little). Simmer over low heat until the lima beans plump up and the corn is tender. Add salt and pepper to taste; I had to add a bit of sugar too as the corn I used was not quite sweet enough on its own, but you may not have to.

This makes quite a large potful, somewhere between 2.5 and 3 quarts, I think.
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I also made cranberrry sauce for the first time, following the directions for "Fresh Cranberry Sauce" on the bag of Ocean Spray cranberries I bought. Always one to gild the lily, though, I substituted a cup of orange juice for the cup of water, and cut back the sugar by a third to compensate for the sugar in the orange juice. Unfortunately, while the final result was good it didn't boast much orange flavor. Zest would definitely help next time.

I liked watching the berries pop as they simmered, gradually softening and releasing their juices until the sauce was a deep, rich crimson. Making cranberry sauce is fun.
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At SON's house, the table was loaded with food: classics like turkey, stuffing, rolls, and mashed potatoes side by side with greek-style pasta and deviled eggs. Later, there was homemade pecan pie and vanilla ice cream to top it. Altogether a fine preview to the feasting in store later on.

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