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Taking ordinary Thanksgiving sides to extraordinary

If you were assigned a side dish, like canned cranberry sauce, Tom and Thierry have some interesting ideas for impressing your family. (AP Photo)

Every week on Seattle Kitchen Tom Douglas and Thierry Rautureau are tasked with taking ordinary foods and making them extraordinary. They only get to add two ingredients or make two changes in the cooking methods.

This week, it’s all about Thanksgiving. If you were assigned a side dish, they have some interesting ideas for impressing your family.

Cranberry sauce

Like many of us, Correspondent Katie O loves the cranberry sauce straight from the can.

“I can’t help it, I like it,” she says. “There’s nothing quite like the stuff that comes out of the can.”

Katie insists it’s already extraordinary, but Tom recommends adding candied orange peels. Thierry suggests some chopped chive.

But both agree that it’s better to make your own.

Thierry puts his cranberries in the pan with a little bit of honey and butter and lets them cook for about two minutes. Then he adds fresh pomegranate seeds and sometimes some toasted almonds.

Tom loves the Ocean Spray cranberry chutney recipe, but he also adds horseradish sauce and Chipotle Tabasco.

“On the bag, it says to add a lot of sugar, and then you add a touch of heat to balance it out.”

Turkey gravy

Thierry uses chicken stock, vegetables, bay leaf, thyme, and peppercorn. He cooks it for about two hours and then strains it.

Tom’s uses onion, sage, and garlic and puts it under the turkey while it’s cooking. He lets the turkey drippings brown in the bottom of the pan. When the turkey is finished, he puts the drippings “right on the heat” to reduce the juices. He adds flour and chicken stock when all that’s left is the fat.

“The onions, garlic, and sage just kind of melt into the gravy,” Tom says. “You end up with a seriously dark, rich brown gravy instead of that gray gravy that you often get from a turkey.”

Sweet potatoes

Tom would add two ingredients to sweet potatoes: maple and black pepper.

“I saute them and then throw them into the oven to let them caramelize,” says Tom.

Thierry adds olive oil to his sweet potatoes and then puts them into the oven until they’re caramalized.

“I would do a little goat cheese and a little bit of cream mixture right on top and serve it like that. I love goat cheese and yams.”

“That actually sounds pretty good,” says Tom, but says it might be too much for Thanksgiving.


Both Tom and Thierry agree stuffing should be kept out of the bird. Good bread is also key.

“Don’t use stale brad. Use good bread that is toasted,” suggests Tom.

He also says using sausage is too much. Just stick with the vegetarian options, like nuts, dates, and roasted mushrooms.

Seattle Kitchen can be heard on KIRO Radio Saturdays at 2-4 p.m. Available anytime ON DEMAND at

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