There are a lot of stresses that come with planning a Thanksgiving menu. But one thing I have learned, having hosted such feasts for the past three years, is that preparing items in advance is a lifesaver. Soups, sides, and desserts can all be made ahead and packed in the fridge or tossed in the freezer.
Thanksgiving Recipe: Beet Chutney
As I’ve mentioned in the past, Eric and I love throwing dinner parties. So it seemed logical to start doing a Thanksgiving dinner every year where we could gather our friends together and enjoy a nice meal (as well as copious amounts of wine) the weekend before the actual day. The first year, it was a bit of a mess. I woke up at six in the morning the day of the event, threw on an apron, and cooked up to, and even after, the guests had arrived. (This may be the reason why the whole evening is a blur to me. Or that could be the result of something else.)
After that, I knew something had to change. And now that we’ve had a few of these, I think I’ve gotten the hang of it. In preparation for the event, I begin by brainstorming recipe ideas. Once I’ve come up with the general menu, I then think about which items can be made (or, at the very least, started) a few days ahead.
The first items I made were the pumpkin-swirl brownies I posted earlier this week, which are now sitting safely in the freezer. A bit more time consuming than some of the other dishes I plan to make, it felt like a huge accomplishment to get them out of the way.
Next up was this delightful beet chutney, which, as noted at the end of the recipe, can be made up to a week in advance.
I’m a huge fan of this recipe, not just because of it’s simplicity, but because it has incredible depth and pairs wonderfully with both meat and vegetarian options. This is more of a relish, than a chutney… but, really, neither accurately describes how truly delicious it is.
Plus, you can make it today for next week! How great is that?
(from Bon Appetit, November, 2009)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 3/4 cups chopped red onion
1 2-inch-diameter beet, peeled, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoon raisins
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
Pinch of cumin seeds
Heat olive oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped red onion and beet cubes. Cook until onion is tender but not brown, stirring frequently, about 8 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water. Increase heat to high and boil until mixture is thick, about 5 minutes. Add vinegar, raisins, sugar, ginger, mustard seeds, and pinch of cumin seeds. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until beet cubes are tender and chutney is thick, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cool. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and chill.