Nov. 18--Turkey always seems to grab the spotlight at the Thanksgiving meal. But the holiday table wouldn't be complete without some savory starters and side dishes to dress it up.
Potatoes, green vegetables, fragrant biscuits, maybe even a sturdy soup to start things off, can round out a tasty, satisfying meal. So we've assembled a few recipes to get you started for the weeks ahead.
Traditional holiday foods are a specialty at the Colonial Williamsburg taverns, and the cookbooks published by the foundation, including "Holiday Fare: Favorite Williamsburg Recipes," are handy references. Other Williamsburg recipes, plus a few favorites served over the years, complete the list.
These dishes can bring a variety of colors and tastes to your table or provide a great dish to bring to a friend's celebration. Remember to read the recipe carefully before starting to make sure you've assembled the ingredients needed and allowed enough time to keep the stress level down.
Hot Cranberry Wassail
1 64-ounce container sweetened cranberry juice, or cranberry juice cocktail
2 1/2 cups apple cider
3 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon aromatic bitters
1 cup golden rum (optional)
2 oranges, cut into wedges, for garnish
Whole cloves, for garnish
Fresh cranberries, for garnish
Combine the cranberry juice, apple cider, cinnamon sticks, allspice, nutmeg and aromatic bitters in a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes.
To serve, pour the wassail into a heat-proof serving bowl or traditional wassail bowl and add the rum, if desired. Garnish with the orange wedges studded with cloves and fresh cranberries.
"Holiday Fare: Favorite Williamsburg Recipes," by John R. Gonzales
Sweet Potato and Orange Soup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon water
2 medium leeks, white part only, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large carrots, 1 chopped and 1 cut into strips 1/8 inch wide and 1 1/4 inches long
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
Salt and pepper to season
5 cups chicken broth
3/4 pound sweet potatoes, peeled, cut in quarters and covered with cold water
3/4 pound white potatoes, peeled, cut in quarters and covered with cold water
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup orange juice
Heat butter and 1 tablespoon water in a 5-quart sauce pan over medium heat. Add chopped vegetables and crushed garlic. Season with salt and pepper and saute for 5 minutes. Add chicken stock. Drain and rinse potatoes and add to the stock and vegetables and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Tie the bay leaf and herbs in a small piece of cheesecloth and add to the simmering soup. Simmer slowly until the potatoes are cooked, about 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
While the soup is simmering, blanch the carrot strips in a pot of boiling salted water for 3 minutes. Transfer the blanched carrots to ice water. When cool, remove the carrots from the water, drain and refrigerate. Toast the pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and keep at room temperature.
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