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choosing sides
three easy Thanksgiving side dishes

by Yee-Fan Sun 
| 1 2

Sure, think Thanksgiving and the first thing that comes to mind is inevitably the big roast turkey, all browned and lovely, taking center stage on the holiday table. But when I’m really being honest with myself, no matter what painstaking efforts I’ve taken to ensure that the bird is as juicy and delicious and flavorful as possible, the turkey itself? Rarely is it the culinary highlight of my Thanksgiving meal. Nope, when I find myself reaching for seconds, heck, even thirds -- never mind that I’ve already had to unbutton my pants to accommodate my gluttonous feasting -- the foods I’m reaching for are inevitably the accompaniments, the goodies meant to go with the turkey. Yes, in many ways, the turkey is just the vehicle for the really yummy stuff: the side dishes.

Still, with all the attention we end up having to devote to the main feature, there isn’t always time to labor over the tasty veggies and starches that tradition demands must go along with the turkey itself. Fortunately, many of the best turkey-friendly side dishes are a breeze to throw together, even for those whose culinary skills are a far cry from gourmet.

Looking for some easy-breezy traditional Thanksgiving accompaniments that are chock full of gut-filling, comfort-food goodness? Check out these recipes…

Note: All the recipes will serve 6 as a side at a regular dinner; for a big feast with multiple side dish options, they’ll feed 8.

peas with pancetta
Sweet, tender baby peas (yes, you should pay the tiny bit extra for them; they’re much tastier than the regular frozen peas) pair perfectly with chewy salty bits of pancetta. So simple, and so, so good.

4 cups frozen baby peas, thawed
4 oz. pancetta
2 fat cloves garlic
salt and pepper to taste

serves 6 as a side

1 Chop up the pancetta into small cubes (no bigger than a ¼” or so) and mince up the garlic finely.
2 Heat up a sauté pan over medium-high heat for a minute or two. Toss in the pancetta, and pan-fry for a few minutes until the pancetta’s browned and shrunken down, and a lot of its oil has been released. Carefully tip your pan to the side and spoon out all but a tablespoon or so of the oil (enough to give the pan a good coating).
3 Reduce heat to medium low, add the garlic and sauté for a couple more minutes, until soft and yummy-smelling. Stir in the peas, and continue cooking until the peas are heated through. Taste and add salt if needed, plus freshly ground pepper to taste.

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