I feel like Thanksgiving is a particularly fun holiday for anyone who loves to cook. I actually enjoy the cooking more than the eating…
Don’t get me wrong, I love the eating portion of the day too, but I love being in the kitchen with a bunch of people that are all cooking together. It’s one of my favorite things ever.
So this week I am going to make a few awesome sides that you can (and should) make for your Thanksgiving dinner! These recipes are more centered towards groups that have fewer people and don’t want to cook an entire turkey and 50 pounds of mashed potatoes :). However, if you are having a huge Thanksgiving feast, just double or triple the recipes!
This recipe, Pumpkin Barley Risotto with Roasted Sweet Potatoes…oh my goodness it is delicious. It might just steal the show. It is comforting, fall-y, Thanksgiving-y, and can you believe it’s actually healthy?? It sure doesn’t taste healthy, I can tell you that right now. It’s also easy and fun to make!
Before you start your prep work, preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
Then you need some shallots and garlic. Chop up two shallots and three cloves of garlic.
Shallots are so delicious. Its like a super fancy onion with more complex flavor, but they are still just as cheap. Win!
Put your shallots and garlic aside and peel and dice one sweet potato. You need to chop it pretty small, about a half inch dice. This way it will take less time in the oven, and it will be easier to eat with the smaller pieces.
By the time you finish chopping your shallots, garlic, and sweet potato, your oven should be pre-heated. Place your sweet potato chunks on a baking sheet and drizzle some olive oil on top (enough to moisten all the potato chunks), 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Mix everything together with your hands until all the sweet potato chunks are evenly coated with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Now heat up a large skillet and melt a tablespoon of butter with tablespoon of olive oil.
Once your butter is melted, throw your shallots and garlic in the pan.
Cook until the shallots are translucent and then add a cup of quick cooking Barley. If you want to use another kind of Barley, you definitely can. It might change the cook time and the amount of liquid, but that doesn’t matter. Just cook until the Barley is tender.
Once it is toasted, add chicken stock (or veggie stock if you are making this vegetarian) 1/2 cup at a time.
Basically this is how the next (approximately) 20 minutes are going to go: add 1/2 cup of stock, simmer, stirring often until all the stock has been absorbed into the Barley, then add another 1/2 cup of stock. Repeat.
Meanwhile, take your sweet potatoes out after 8-10 minutes and, using a spatula, turn the sweet potato chunks over and move everything around. Place back in the oven for another 7-9 minutes, until they are tender and completely cooked through.
Then you are going to add all your extras that make this dish even more delicious.
First, add two tablespoons of pumpkin puree, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and completely mix into the risotto. Then add your sweet potatoes and Parmesan cheese.
Stir in a tablespoon each of chopped parsley and chives.
Serve it up and garnish with extra herbs. And you’re done!
I’m telling you…it’s the perfect Thanksgiving side dish.
Here is the recipe:
- 2 shallots
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 sweet potato
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 1 cup quick Barley
- 2¼ cups chicken stock (or veggie stock)
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley (plus extra for garnish)
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives (plus extra for garnish)
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees
- Chop your shallots and garlic
- Set aside
- Peel and dice your sweet potato into small chunks (about ½ inch)
- Put your sweet potato chunks onto a baking sheet and drizzle on enough olive oil to moisten all of the sweet potato pieces
- Sprinkle on ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Mix together with your hands until all the sweet potato cubes are evenly coated with salt, pepper, and olive oil
- Put the baking sheet in the oven and roast the sweet potatoes for 8-10 minutes
- Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat and melt 1 tablespoon of butter with 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- Once the butter is melted, add your shallots and garlic into the pan
- Let the shallots and garlic cook until the shallots are translucent
- Once your sweet potatoes have been cooking for 8-10 minutes, take them out, turn them over with a spatula, and pop them back in the oven for another 7-9 minutes, until they are tender and completely cooked through
- Once your shallots are translucent, add your barley into the pan and let it toast for a minute or two, stirring constantly
- Add ½ cup of chicken stock (or veggie if you are making this vegetarian) and bring it to a simmer, stirring often
- Continue to stir and simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed into the barley
- Once it has been absorbed, add the next ½ cup of liquid
- Continue this process until all 2¼ cups of stock have been used
- It will take about 20 minutes
- Once your barley is tender and cooked through, remove from the heat and add ½ teaspoon of salt, ¼ teaspoon of pepper, and 2 tablespoons of pumpkin puree
- Mix together completely
- Add your roasted sweet potatoes, Parmesan cheese, and 2 tablespoons of herbs
- Mix together and add any extra seasoning it needs