It seems like just yesterday I was figuring out how to create a Halloween costume out of items already hanging in my closet (or maybe with a little duct tape), and now, I’m solidifying Thanksgiving plans. And what plans they are! I’m hosting a really large group for the first time ever — all the family, lots of friends, a few neighbors. It’s going to be a seriously full house, and I can’t wait.
The funny thing is, I actually suspect that this will take a bit of pressure off of me compared to past years. See, when it’s a smaller group, I try cook a lot of the side dishes myself (although Jared always handles the turkey!). However, with so many people planning to join us, I know there’s no way I can handle it, so I’ve got guests signing up to bring various dishes. I’ll still make a few favorites, but allowing everyone to chip in makes this seem strangely easy. (For now, anyway — talk to me on November 25 and see if I still feel that way!)
Need Help? Here’s an Idea …
Now, if you have a group coming but don’t trust them to handle cooking — and with some groups, I totally understand that sentiment! — but you don’t want to do everything from scratch, there are options. You can buy certain items pre-made, or course, or you can take a page out of my book and make a few dishes the day before so they only need a quick reheat.
Or, you can look into one of the meal delivery options out there and see what they offer for Thanksgiving. Sun Basket (which my neighbors have and love — a lot) is offering a “Thanksgiving Sides” option this November. It’s portioned to feed eight, and existing Sun Basket customers can choose 1, 2 or 3 sides: Kale-leek gratin with Gruyère, Roasted Brussels sprouts and delicata squash with currants and fried shallots, or Williams-Sonoma Apple sourdough stuffing with sausage.
Not a customer, but interest picqued? You might also want to know that Sun Basket is going to offer something special in December, too: a Holiday Party Box (which can be in place of or in addition to the regular order). Again, this is just for Sun Basket customers, but hey — if this sort of thing appeals to you, maybe it’s something you want to check out!
At the very least, I have a feeling y’all are going to want to check out this Kale and Leek Gratin recipe. Gobble gobble get in my belly!
- 1¼ pounds leeks
- 1 pound kale
- Peeled fresh garlic
- 5 ounces Gruyère
- Fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon Urfa biber chile flakes, optional
- 2 cups milk
- 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
- 1 ounce grated Parmesan
- Kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- olive oil
- You will need: Strainer, box grater, whisk, large bowl, large frying pan, small sauce pot, medium baking dish
- Heat the oven to 450ºF.
- Trim the root ends from the leeks; cut the leeks in half lengthwise, then crosswise into ½-inch-thick half-moons.
- Soak the leeks in a bowl of cold water, allowing any dirt to settle at the bottom.
- Skim the leeks from the surface of the water and pat dry.
- Strip the kale leaves from their stems; coarsely chop the leaves.
- In a large pan over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons oil until hot but not smoking.
- Add the leeks, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until just soft, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add the kale and 2 tablespoons water, season with salt and pepper, and cook until wilted, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Transfer the leeks and kale to a large bowl.
- While the leeks and kale cook, start the cheese sauce.
- Finely chop enough garlic to measure 1 tablespoon.
- Using the large holes of a box grater, grate the Gruyère cheese.
- Strip the parsley leaves from their stems; coarsely chop the leaves.
- In a small pot over medium heat, melt the butter until foamy. Whisk in the flour, garlic, nutmeg, and as much Urfa biber as you like.
- Cook, whisking constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Slowly whisk in the milk. Bring to a vigorous simmer over medium-high heat, whisking, just until the milk thickens.
- Immediately remove from the heat.
- Add the grated Gruyère and half the parsley, whisking to melt the cheese.
- Pour the cheese sauce over the leeks and kale and stir to coat.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed.
- Transfer the mixture to a baking dish and spread in an even layer.
- Sprinkle with the bread crumbs and Parmesan.
- Bake until lightly browned and bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.
- Sprinkle the gratin with the remaining parsley and serve warm, straight from the gratin dish or spooned onto individual plates.
Do you have a non-traditional dish you love to eat on Thanksgiving? I can’t wait to eat some jalapeno corn pudding! —Kristen