Thanksgiving and the music business share a language. Sides make up the color of the Thanksgiving landscape. Brussels sprouts, garlic mashed potatoes, pearl onions in a mustard cream sauce.
Of course, in the music world, sides refer to sides of a vinyl album or even sides of a 45. A side can be a single song as in ‘Armstrong recorded this side with the Hot Five.’
Thanksgiving sides on the platters that matter. This soundtrack is for the kitchen crew.
B-52′s-Private Idaho. Some people make mashed potatoes with chicken stock. Don’t. Common mistake is to overcook the potatoes so they become a watery mush. Add drained potatoes to more butter than you think necessary. Some garlic sautéed in butter is a nice touch. Salt and pepper. And cream, half and half, or whole milk to the consistency you like. Add a little at a time because if you make the potatoes too soupy, there’s no going back.
Booker T. and the M.G.’s -Green Onions. I use Spanish onions or Vidalia in my stuffing. Saute onions in butter with celery, chopped pecans, currants, sage. Mix with bread cubes and turkey stock made from turkey necks purchased from Harrison’s poultry in Glenview. Bake it, baby.
Professor Longhair-Red Beans. If you want a Cajun flair to your stuffing, slice some coins of andouille sausage (turkey andouille works too) and sauté with the onion and celery. Mix it up with corn bread cubes and stock. Deeelicious.
Dizzy Gillespie-Salt Peanuts. Great music to hear while demonstrating your mad knife skills. A bowl of mixed nuts is essential for the never-ending cocktail hour.
Jay and the Techniques- Apples Peaches Pumpkin Pie. If you don’t know how to make Pumpkin Pie, invite someone who does.
Robert Wyatt-Soup Song. I know. I know. Soup is just too much. Here’s an idea. Make a small bowl of shrimp bisque or a warm potato vichyssoise and serve it in a shot glass as an amuse-bouche.
Simon and Garfunkel-Scarborough Fair. Parsley for the mashed potatoes. Sage for the gravy and stuffing. Rosemary for the turkey cavity. Thyme for the root vegetable puree.
Dee Dee Sharp-Gravy (For My Mashed Potatoes). I like to deglaze roasting pan with port and pour it into a glass fat separator and get the big roasting pan off the stovetop and out of the way. The key is to whisk together equal parts fat and flour in pan off the heat and then cook the roux. When you add de-fatted pan drippings, turkey stock, a little potato stock from boiling potatoes, be whisking. Always be whisking. Won’t get lumpy. And if it does, you can usually stir the hell out of it and the lumps will dissipate.
The Mothers of Invention-Call Any Vegetable. A rutabaga, parsnip, carrot puree gives your dinner that earthy autumn root vegetable flavor.
Kinks-Maximum Consumption. Rays says it all about eating it all. Two Tums before bedtime.