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Make Ahead Thanksgiving Recipes: Haricots Verts, Brussels Sprouts

With so many last minute things to do for Thanksgiving dinner, people are always searching for make ahead Thanksgiving recipes.  Many of the luxury foods we prepare are best cooked very close to serving time.  There are two vegetable side dishes which can be prepared ahead of time, Harticots Verts and Brussels Sprouts.  Personally, I think both of these vegetables are better when they are cooked a bit longer; therefore, the dish can be prepared the day before, refrigerated, and reheated in the oven or a skillet.

For the Brussels Sprouts, I always cook them in water before cooking them in a skillet.  The blanching process takes some of the bitter flavor which some Brussels sprouts have.  Cut the Brussels sprouts in half if desired and cook for about 5 minutes or longer (until slightly tender) in boiling, salted water.  Meanwhile, cook chopped pork or duck bacon in the skillet until crispy.  Remove the bacon from the pan, leaving most of the bacon fat in the skillet.  Then saute an onion or 2 shallots in the bacon fat until golden brown and very soft.  Add the Brussels sprouts to the onions or shallots.  Cook until the sprouts are fully cooked.  If the pan gets too dry, add chicken stock once or twice to keep the vegetables moist.  Season with salt, pepper, and cumin if desired.  Return the cooked duck bacon to the pan.  Serve or let cook and refrigerate until ready to use.

I use the same recipe for the Harticots Verts, except I do not cook the beans in water first.  One the bacon is browned, and the onions are browned, I add the Harticots Verts to the skillet, add some chicken stock as needed to keep the Haricots Verts moist, and cook until the beans are tender and slightly browned.  Harticots Verts are much more tender than most larger sized green beans; but Blue Lake, or other green beans can also be used for this recipe.

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