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Region chefs share their favorite accompaniments to Thanksgiving dinner
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Region chefs share their favorite accompaniments to Thanksgiving dinner

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Thanksgiving.

It’s a once-a-year extravaganza of all the foods you love rolled into one big fat meal. Of course, there’s usually a meat as the star — usually a turkey — but the side dishes don't play any slouch supporting role. 

The typical traditional dishes, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and stuffing are great, but it’s not all that hard to spruce up such dishes or get a little creative.

Some area chefs offer favorite side dishes that will wow your guests.

Chef Tammy Pham, owner of Asparagus restaurant in Merrillville, shared two side dishes that she cooks at home on Thanksgiving and has served in the restaurant with their turkey leg special for the holidays.

A spinach artichoke bread pudding recipe is offered by Chef Angela McCrovitz, who owns a catering company called Chefs Table and runs a bed and breakfast called Madison Rose in Merrillville. She said the dish is very versatile, and she has come up with more than 50 ways to re-create it. It can be served as a side dish, an appetizer or breakfast. “It has the fresh flavor of leeks and urgent, depth of flavor of rosemary, thyme and a hint of mint,” she said. “It’s nut free and soy free and can be adjusted and substituted for vegan.”

Some variations she suggests are adding bacon, chopped oysters, maple bacon sausage, tomato, feta, mushroom, chopped ham, butternut squash, or cooked sweet potatoes. You can also substitute soy or almond milk for the heavy whipping cream, switch out the spinach with kale or arugula, use brie rather than parmesan or top with roasted pecans.

Chef Matt McMillin of Cooper’s Hawk provided a roasted wild mushroom gratin as a nice accompaniment to your entree, but with the meaty texture, it makes a great substitute as well for the vegetarians or vegans at your table. A unique wine blend called Grateful was produced for this holiday season and pairs well with it.

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