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The A to Z guide to sides

Everything but the bird

This year, let the side dishes be the stars of the show

By Sheryl Julian
Globe Staff / November 17, 2010

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A golden, juicy bird looks grand in the center of the Thanksgiving table, but the stars of the feast are the sides. This harvest array bears a striking resemblance to the red, orange, and yellow hues of the last foliage. Glorious sides can be made from winter squashes, golden or sweet potatoes, cranberries, onions, spinach, Brussels sprouts, kale, leeks, broccoli, cauliflower, parsnips, and turnips. But it’s fun to throw in some unexpected dishes. Wrap dates with bacon, roll goat cheese in bright pistachios, pass a plate of crudites, devil eggs, offer a crustless ricotta quiche, or stamp out biscuits. Some, in fact, are hardly sides, but more like pre-dinner nibbles, which will satisfy guests until the bird is out of the oven. You also need enough substantial dishes for vegetarians, who will love you for it. Your house guests will have leftovers for late-night snacks, and if everything goes according to plan, you won’t cook again for days.

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