Thanksgiving side dish recipes: Bourbon sweet potatoes, cornbread stuffing and fennel cranberries

Turkey is the star of the Thanksgiving Day meal.

But sides should receive equally as much attention. Most of us stick to traditional and family-favorite dishes, whether it be mashed potatoes, cranberries or green bean casserole.

If you want to change up the menu this year, we’ve collected several side dish recipes from the PennLive archives. Take your pick from these standout recipes:

Sweet Potatoes with Bourbon


  • 4 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon shredded orange peel


Cook sweet potatoes until tender. Peel, then halve lengthwise and arrange in a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle with salt. In saucepan mix brown sugar and corn starch and blend in orange juice and raisins. Stir while bringing quickly to a boil. Add remaining ingredients and pour over potatoes and bake uncovered 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Can be prepared the night before and refrigerated. Bake and serve.

*If doubling recipe, do not use more than 1/4 cup butter.

Recipe originally from Barbara Rudewicz of Harrisburg.

Cornbread, sausage and bacon stuffing


  • 6 cups cornbread
  • 1 pound sage sausage, casing removed
  • 6 ounces hickory bacon
  • 1 white or yellow onion
  • 4-6 stalks celery
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 2 tablespoons sage
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups broth


Cut cornbread into cubes and dry overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Dice onion and celery. Mince garlic. Set all aside.

In a large pan, melt butter on medium-high heat. Fry bacon until crispy, flipping to cook each side. Use tongs to place cooked bacon on a paper towel and allow to cool. In the same pan, break up sausage into small pieces and cook 6-8 minutes until only some pink remains. Stir in onion, celery and garlic. Cook about 5 more minutes so vegetables soften. Remove from heat.

Crumble or chop up bacon. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix cornbread, sausage, bacon, vegetables and herbs. Pour in broth, stirring to moisten all cornbread.

Spread stuffing into a 9-inch by 13-inch casserole dish. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.


Bacon, Bourbon and Dijon Brussels Sprouts


  • 4 pounds Brussels sprouts, stem-end very slightly trimmed, and then halved
  • 1/2 pound bacon, 1/4 dice (thick cut would be preferable)
  • ¼ cup whole grain mustard
  • ¼ cup of your favorite bourbon
  • Juice of 1 whole lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the halved sprouts onto a baking pan of your choice and into the 350 degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or just until the brussels sprouts around the outside of the pan start to barely brown. Remove from oven and set aside.

While the sprouts are cooking in the oven, cook the bacon in a deep sided sauté pan over medium heat until the bacon pieces are brown, and you have “rendered” the fat from the bacon.

With a slotted spoon, carefully remove the cooked bacon pieces from the pan to a dish. Keep the bacon fat in the pan.

Add the baked brussels sprouts to the bacon fat, and turn the heat up to medium high.

Cook, while constantly stirring for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the brussels sprouts start to get even more browning on them.

Add the mustard, and cook, stirring for another 30 seconds.

Turn off the heat if you are cooking with gas (bourbon is flammable).

Add the bourbon.

Stir for another 30 seconds.

Turn heat back on to medium high if cooking with gas.

Cook for 1 more minute while stirring.

Add lemon juice, and turn off heat.

Add salt and pepper to your personal taste.

Recipe from chef Kurt Wewer of Allenberry Resort in Boiling Springs.

Potato and Rutabaga Gratin

Makes 6 to 8 servings.


  • 1 small garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 cup milk combined with 1 cup heavy cream, or 2 cups half-and-half
  • 2 medium (about 1 1/2 pounds total) waxy potatoes
  • 1 rutabaga (2 pounds), peeled
  • 1 cup (about 3 ounces) grated Swiss gruyere or extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rub the inside of a large, oval gratin dish or square or rectangular baking dish with butter. Crush the garlic clove into a fine paste with the side of a chef’s knife and combine it in a saucepan with the milk and cream. Peel the potatoes — keep them under cold water if you’re not using them right away — and slice them into three-sixteenth-inch-thick rounds with a mandolin, vegetable slicer, or by hand. Peel the rutabaga into rounds the same thickness as the potatoes. Cut the rutabaga in half to make the slicing easier.

Bring the milk and cream mixture to a simmer. Arrange the potato and rutabaga slices in alternating layers in the gratin dish, sprinkling each layer with cheese, the milk and cream mixture, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. You should end up with 2 layers of potatoes and 2 layers of rutabaga. Save a fourth of the grated cheese for sprinkling over the top of the gratin.

Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the top of the gratin is golden brown and the vegetables are easily penetrated with a paring knife.

Creamed Corn

Makes 4-6 servings


  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pinch of nutmeg (be careful, a little goes a long way)
  • 1 ½ cups shredded cheese (any cheese will do, I use a blend of fontina and mozzarella)
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
  • 1 teaspoon cooking sherry
  • 4 cups of corn (I prefer fresh off the cob or a combination of frozen white and yellow)
  • 2 cups crumb topping (combine 1 cup breadcrumbs and 1 cup crushed Ritz crackers)


Start by combining heavy cream, sugar, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a saucepan.

Next add cheese and whisk until cheese is fully melted. Then add cooking sherry.

Cut stick of butter into 8 slices and toss each slice in flour to coat all sides of each slice.

Once your mixture begins to boil, reduce heat and add butter one slice at a time while whisking the mixture.

Keep heating and whisking until the cream mixture becomes thick, about 5 minutes.

Next add corn and mix together. Pour into a casserole dish and top with crumb topping.

Hold in refrigerator and heat in oven at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes until corn bubbles and top browns.

Recipe originally from Dougie Krick of Dodge City Steakhouse in Harrisburg.

Cranberries with Fennel and Blood Orange


  • 10 ounces fresh whole cranberries
  • 1/2 blood orange, zested
  • 1/4 cup blood orange juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted fennel seeds


Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until cranberries begin to break down and water evaporates, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool before serving.

Recipe from chef Jason Viscount was originally published in 2007.

Thanksgiving Potatoes

Make 8 servings


  • 9 large baking potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg (fresh is best but can use pre-ground)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Place potatoes in a large sauce pan. Add enough water to cover. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer until tender. Drain

Place potatoes in mixer bowl. Cut butter and cream cheese into small pieces, and add to potatoes. Beat with mixer until light and fluffy.

Beat in sour cream.

Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.

Serve immediately, or reheat in buttered casserole in a 300-degree oven for 20 minutes.

Green Beans With Hazelnuts and Gorgonzola

Serves: 8


  • 2 pounds green beans, trimmed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste


Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans, return to a boil and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until bright green and crisp. Drain well and set aside.

Return the pot to medium-high. Add the butter and hazelnuts and stir until the nuts are lightly toasted and fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the green beans and stir until heated through. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the cheese and toss until melted.

Season with salt and pepper.

Recipe from the Associated Press.

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