We are the perpetual go-ers. We traditionally pack our car and “head home” for Thanksgiving and probably always will until we have 100 babies and people start coming to us. But for the time being, we’re happy to be the ones to go, and I’m more than content to leave behind my own house and life responsibilities in order to sit on the comfortable couches of my parents’ or in-laws’ houses.
So, that’s why on this seasonal food blog, you won’t be seeing any turkey recipes, because let’s face it, I won’t be the one making the turkey for a long, long time. (However, when I do, I have a curry-rubbed turkey recipe that I can’t wait to shock my Scandanavian family with). But what I do contribute are side dishes, which I love to make.
Last year, at my family’s house, I made this stuffing, which we happily ate for days afterward. It was so good that I would sneak downstairs in the morning and take spoonfuls of it straight out of the fridge for breakfast. Yeah. That’s real life.
But this year, I knew I wanted to make this green beans almondine recipe that my mom had made for Christmas last year. I made it last year for my twenties-themed birthday party, and have been waiting for an opportunity to make it again.
I did a test run yesterday for a Somali/Thanksgiving fusion dinner. We have been working with a refugee family for the last couple months along with some others from our church, and this dinner was a chance for them to get to know a few more people. It was such a joy to eat the mandi rice they contributed right alongside of the turkey and mashed potatoes…to talk with them about how they felt about seeing and experiencing snow for the first time ever (we had our first snow yesterday)…and to simply share a meal with our new friends.
These green beans are phenomenal. They will make you love green beans, even if you hate them presently. You blanch the green beans until tender-crisp, then saute them in a holiday amount of butter with almonds, seasoning, sugar, and the secret weapon: maple syrup. This is a super-simple side-dish to whip up on the day of Thanksgiving and a snap to keep warm in a low-temp oven. So, whether you are a stayer or a go-er this Thursday, make these green beans and be secretly glad there is a little bit left for you to eat later that night.
(recipe from chef Dean Hamilton, passed along via my mom)
(yields 16 servings)
I only changed 2 things from the original recipe. One, I doubled it, so if it seems like a ton, it is. Two, I also used fresh green beans instead of frozen, so I had to blanch them first.
2 sticks of butter
2 lbs. green beans, edges trimmed, roughly chopped in half
1 3/4 c. sliced almonds (or 4 oz.)
2 tbsp. season salt (I like Lawry's brand)
2 tsp. lemon pepper seasoning
2 tsp. ground thyme
1/2 c. sugar
6 tbsp. maple sugar
Bring a large pot of boiling water to boil. Add green beans, cover, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from pot with a slotted spoon and immediately place green beans in a cold water bath to stop them from cooking more. (I had to do this in 2 batches with so many green beans).
Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add green beans and almonds and saute until almonds start to brown slightly, about 3-4 minutes. Then, stir in your season salt, lemon pepper, thyme, sugar, and maple syrup. Stir and cook over med-high for a few more minutes until sauce has thickened slightly.