Since all of you have the ham, turkey or beef centerpiece of your Easter celebration well in hand, I will focus my suggestions on two of my favourite side dishes for your Easter brunch or dinner.
Sweet Potato Pie
The key to this dish is the pre-baking of the sweet potatoes. By pre-baking, they become mellower and are also able to absorb more liquid. The pre-baking also allows you to get this part of the preparation done a day in advance.
- 3.5 lbs sweet potato. (Roast in advance at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.)
- .25 lb butter
- 1.5 Cups 35% cream
- Kosher salt and fresh pepper
- Sprig of Fresh Thyme
- 1 clove garlic
- .5 tsp nutmeg
Peel and thinly slice the potatoes once they are cool. Butter a casserole dish and then liberally rub with garlic clove. Reserve 2 tbsp butter.
Meanwhile place cream on stovetop on medium low and cook until reduced, approximately 10 minutes.
Arrange sliced sweet potatoes neatly in a single layer in casserole dish. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and fresh thyme leaves. Repeat process until all potatoes are used. Pour the reduced cream over the potatoes and dot the top with reserved butter. Bake for 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
Let cool ten minutes before slicing and serving.
My second recommended side dish is:
SautÃ©ed Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta, Peppers and Pecans
- 1 lb Brussel Sprouts (I recommend choosing the smallest sprouts possible as they tend to be sweeter)
- 6 Thin Slices of Pancetta
- 1 Red Pepper, finely diced
- Â½ Cup toasted pecans
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Kosher salt and pepper
With a pairing knife, clean any dirty or bruised outer leaves from sprouts. Trim the root and make an X with knife in each sprout.
In a pot of boiling salted water, blanch the brussel sprouts for 3 minutes then plunge into ice water (to stop them cooking). Strain and dry well with a clean kitchen towel.
Heat a large sautÃ© pan on medium high. Add olive oil and butter. Cook pancetta in pan until it begins to crisp. Add peppers and cook for two minutes stirring constantly. Add Brussel sprouts. SautÃ© for a few minutes, season and place in serving dish. Garnish with chopped toasty pecans.