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Basic to Brilliant, Y’all

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Brilliant,
Basic to
Y’a ll

150 Refined Southern Recipes and
Ways to Dress Them Up for Company

Virginia Willis
Photography by Hélène Dujardin

TEN SPEED PRESS
Berkeley

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Basic to Brilliant, Y’all

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# Winter Greens and Butternut Squash Gratin
Serves 8 to 10

The amusing thing about Thanksgiving is that it is the one meal that is almost immovable in terms
of menu. Each family member has that one dish that is his or her favorite, and for some, the entire
holiday is absolutely, positively ruined if the sweet potatoes are topped with something other than
toasty brown marshmallows or if the squash casserole is missing. The deal is, dishes can be added,
but nothing can be removed from the menu. I learned this the hard way. I have had, without fail, some
form of cooked winter greens at every Thanksgiving meal of my entire life. In late November, the
fields have been kissed with a touch of frost, something that Meme said brings out their sweetness.
I added this dish several years ago, and it has become a family favorite.
2 teaspoons unsalted butter, plus more for the gratin dish
2 butternut squashes, (about 3 pounds total), cut in half
lengthwise and seeded
1 (10-ounce) bag chopped kale
2 tablespoons pure olive oil
6 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2

teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Pinch of ground allspice
Leaves from 4 sprigs thyme, chopped
11/2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons plain or whole-wheat fresh or panko
(Japanese) breadcrumbs
2/3

cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (about
21/2 ounces)

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Butter a large gratin dish.
Peel the squash, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch
slices; set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.
Add the kale and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well in a colander, then squeeze out any
excess water.
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high
heat. Add the garlic and the well-drained greens. Cook
until the greens are slightly wilted, 3 to 4 minutes.
Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, place half the sliced squash in the
prepared dish and season with salt and pepper. Combine the nutmeg, allspice, and thyme in a small bowl.

Spoon the kale over the squash and sprinkle with half
the seasoning mixture. Top with remaining squash and
sprinkle with the remaining seasoning.
Pour the cream over the gratin and cover with a
piece of aluminum foil. Bake for 25 minutes, remove
the foil, and press down on the squash with a spatula to compress. Cover and continue baking until the
squash is soft when pierced with the tip of a knife,
about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the breadcrumbs and cheese
in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Decrease
the oven temperature to 375°F. Remove the foil from
the gratin dish and sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture
over the squash. Dot with the butter and continue baking, uncovered, until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes
before serving.

Brilliant: Short Recipe

Slow Cooker Turkey
I went round and round on how to elevate this interesting and delicious dish to Brilliant. What I kept
returning to was how many people have commented to
me that they have added this recipe to their Thanksgiving repertoire. Quite the feat, I think, since that’s
an almost impenetrable list of recipes to infiltrate. I
decided that turkey must be the key. This is a bit more
complex than some of my Brilliant suggestions, but

continued

Vegetables

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Some of the recipes in this book include raw eggs, meat, or fish. When these foods are consumed raw,
there is always the risk that bacteria, which is killed by proper cooking, may be present. For this reason,
when serving these foods raw, always buy certified salmonella-free eggs and the freshest meat and fish
available from a reliable grocer, storing them in the refrigerator until they are served. Because of the
health risks associated with the consumption of bacteria that can be present in raw eggs, meat, and
fish, these foods should not be consumed by infants, small children, pregnant women, the elderly, or
any persons who may be immunocompromised.

Copyright © 2011 by Virginia Willis
Photographs copyright © 2011 by Hélène Dujardin
Back cover photograph copyright © 2011 by Angie Mosier
All rights reserved.
Published in the United States by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group,
a division of Random House, Inc., New York.
www.crownpublishing.com
www.tenspeed.com
Ten Speed Press and the Ten Speed Press colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is on file with the publisher
ISBN 978-1-60774-009-4
Printed in China
Design by Betsy Stromberg
Food styling by Gena Berry
Prop styling by Angie Mosier
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
First Edition

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