Growing up, big dinners were the norm, not the exception, for James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Mina, whose Middle Eastern family get-togethers typically included all seven of his mother’s brothers and sisters (plus their spouses and children). What was different about Thanksgiving to them then was not the number of people (nor the vast amount of food), but the type of dishes: Instead of mezes, there were mashed potatoes and stuffing; instead of lamb, there was turkey. Today, the holiday continues to be about family, with Mina in the kitchen and his wife behind the bar. And while the chef does throw in some unconventional dishes—lobster soup to start and a whole grilled fish—to him, Thanksgiving is still about the basics.
Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Truffle Vinaigrette SERVES 4–6
In a large sauté pan, slowly cook the bacon until just crisp. Remove the bacon and reserve, leaving the fat in the pan. Next, add the butter to the pan and swirl to melt and incorporate with the bacon fat. Add in the shaved brussels sprouts and cook until tender and slightly browned over medium heat. Once the brussels sprouts have reached the desired doneness, pour about half of the vinaigrette over and toss to combine. Before serving, top with the reserved bacon.
Sautéed Brussels Sprouts and Leaves with Pistachios, Golden Raisins, Dried Cranberries and Tarragon SERVES 4
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, leaves separated
1 tbsp. whole butter
¼ cup golden raisins
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup pistachios, shelled
4 tbsp. chopped tarragon
Salt and pepper to taste
Trim the end of each sprout to release the leaves. Continue until leaves become too small to separate. Blanch leaves quickly in salted boiling water. Remove from boiling water. Shock them in ice water and pat dry. Add cranberries and raisins to warm water to plump.
In a large sauté pan heat the butter until it begins to foam. Add the pistachios and roast them quickly. Once the pistachios are toasted, toss in the Brussels sprouts and cook them until they are warmed through. Add the plumped cranberries and raisins and tarragon, and season with salt and pepper. Serve.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Maple-Butter Glaze, Candied Pecans and Thyme Leaves SERVES 4
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 tbsp. neutral oil (canola, grapeseed)
3 tbsp. butter
¼ cup maple syrup
2 tbsp. thyme leaves
¼ cup candied pecans, crushed
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large sauté pan heat oil until it slides easily in the pan. Add the sprouts cut side down. Season with salt and pepper and roast until golden brown. Add the maple syrup. Heat syrup until it begins to bubble and color. Add butter and enough water to just cover the sprouts. Reduce the liquid until the Brussels sprouts are tender and glazed. Transfer sprouts to a serving dish and top with candied pecans and thyme leaves.