The whirl of the holidays can set our brains spinning, making it difficult to focus on some of the small parts of holiday meals. Side dishes often get ignored, taking a back seat to the prime rib or holiday cookies. You may like to add a bit of pizzazz to your table with some side dishes that dazzle. Instead of serving up a bowl of corn or peas with pearl onions, the bold sweetness of acorn squash or the heat of fire onions can add a new twist to that oft-ignored part of the plate. While you’re at it, add a splash of beer.
Citrus Dressed Squash
Acorn squash with the bold sweetness of orange citrus is simple and elegant.
Recommended Beer: New Glarus Wisconsin Belgian Red, New Glarus Brewing Company, New Glarus, Wisconsin, 4% ABV
Style: Fruit/ Vegetable Beer – Copper-red body with a chunky pink head – A refreshing brew, characterized by big cherry flavors, light tartness and almond.
2 acorn squash, halved and seeded
4 tablespoons butter, melted
¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
¼ cup orange juice concentrate
¼ cup New Glarus Wisconsin Belgian Red
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 orange, sliced thin in curls
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Pour 2 tablespoons melted butter in bottom of baking dish. Arrange acorn squash, cut side down, on butter. Bake in 350 degree oven for 40 minutes, until soft when pierced with a fork.
In small saucepan, combine remaining 2 tablespoons butter with brown sugar, orange juice concentrate, New Glarus Wisconsin Belgian Red, salt and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
Turn squash in baking dish so cut side is facing up. Pour sauce in the center of each half. Return to 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, until edges of squash are lightly browned.
Remove squash halves carefully from baking dish, taking care to keep sauce intact. To serve, garnish generously with orange slice curls.
* Health Benefit: Rich in vitamin A, B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, zinc, copper, pantothenic acid
Double Red Fire Onions
Seeing double? Seeing red? The flavors and aromas of double-red butter-baked onions are good enough to coax angels to earth.
Recommended Beer: Maudite - Unibroue, Inc., Chambly, Quebec, Canada, 8% ABV
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale – Russet red body with medium off-white head – Infused at several temperature levels, creating a robust brew and with a pleasant hop taste and nose; effervescent and seductive.
6 medium red onions
12 oz. Unibroue Maudite
6 tablespoons butter
1/8 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
fresh ground pepper
Wash and skin red onions. Marinate them for 30 minutes in Maudite. Cut a 1-inch criss-cross in the top of each onion. Melt together butter and Tabasco sauce. Place 1 tablespoon butter mixture in the cross of each onion. Sprinkle with garlic salt and fresh ground pepper.
Wrap each prepared onion in foil. Grill on coals 10-12 minutes or in 400 degree oven for 25 minutes. Serves six.
* Health Benefit: Rich in B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium, zinc, copper, pantothenic acid
Roast away in this easy-to-maintain pan:
Cuisinart 7117-16UR Chef's Classic Stainless 16-Inch Rectangular Roaster with Rack
A reliable baster is an absolute essential:
Tovolo Clear Dripless Baster