Try these tasty holiday side dishes

Whether your family chooses turkey, ham or both, there are some staples in every holiday meal. But there is some room to deviate from the traditional when it comes to the side dishes. 

Executive Chef Jason Choate has started a new tradition at Tom's Tavern by smoking half and whole hams this season, using pecan and mesquite wood chips. 

Here are additional menu items that will compliment the smoky flavor of the meats.  If you'd like to order Tom's Tavern's holiday smoked meats, call (602) 257-1688.

Butternut Mac n' Cheese

Ingredients:
For the butternut puree:
1 gallon water
1 chicken bouillon cube
4 butternut squashes

For the Mac n Cheese:
1 gallon water
4 tsp. kosher salt
1 pound cavatappi pasta
5 ounces onions
4 ounces butter, lightly salted
3 Tbsp. flour
2 C. butternut squash puree
4 C. half & half
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. white pepper, fine grind
¾ pound smoked cheddar cheese, grated
4 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
1 Tbsp. corn oil
1 tsp. chipotle chili powder
¾ C. panko bread crumbs
Optional: 1 C. cooked & chopped bacon

Preparation:
For the butternut puree:
1. In a large stock pot, bring 1 gallon water and bouillon to a boil. Peel and remove seeds from the butternut squashes. Cut squash to 2 inch cubes. With water boiling, add squash and cook 12 to 15 minutes until a knife slides easily through squash pieces. Drain squash but reserve 1 cup of liquid.

2. Place squash pieces in a blender and puree until smooth and creamy. Puree should be the consistency of heavy cream. If needed add some of reserved liquid to thin.

For the Mac n Cheese:
1. In a large stock pot, bring 1 gallon water and kosher salt to a boil. With water boiling, add pasta and cook 9 to 11 minutes. Drain pasta and cool down under cold running water. Pasta should be slightly firm (al dente).

2. Melt butter in a large sauce pot set on medium-high heat. Add diced onions and sauté for four to five minutes until onions are translucent and smell sweet. Add flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes stirring continually. Do not brown.

3. Add butternut puree, half & half, salt & pepper and bring to a simmer. Cook until thick, about five to six minutes.

4. Grate both cheeses and blend into the sauce. Add cooked pasta and place in a separate baking crocks or a 12-by-nine-inch baking dish.

5. Place corn oil into a sauté pan set on medium high heat. Heat for 30 seconds until it starts to smoke.

6. Remove pan from stove and quickly stir in the breadcrumbs and chipotle chili powder. Sprinkle the crumbs (and chopped bacon if desired) over the pasta and place in a 350° F oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until slightly golden brown and crisp on top

Peppadew Butter

Ingredients:
1 lbs. Salted butter, softened
¼ C. Chopped Italian parsley leaves
2 Tbsp. Fresh lemon juice
2 C. Chopped peppadews
4 Tbsp. Minced garlic
1 tsp. Black pepper

Preparation:
1. Cream butter using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer - the goal is just to get the butter soft so you can incorporate the flavoring ingredients.
2. Add the lemon juice, peppadews, garlic, pepper and chopped parsley. Continue mixing until the ingredients are fully mixed.
3. Spread out a large (1-foot or bigger) square of plastic wrap across your work surface. Scoop mixed butter onto the plastic in a straight line down the middle. Roll the butter into a cylinder or cigar shape inside the plastic wrap. (You can make several small ones to control portions)
4. Twist ends of "cigar" like a piece of candy and fold over
5. Chill or freeze until needed.

Tom's Egg Nog

Ingredients
1 dozen egg yolk
½ lbs. powdered sugar
2 qt. whole milk
1 pt. heavy cream
1 qt. bourbon
1/2 C Jamaican Rum
1 C Brandy
1/2 gal. egg nog ice cream
Freshly grated nutmeg

Preparation
1. In a large bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar. Whisk mixture until creamy.
2. Add milk, cream, bourbon, rum and brandy whisking after each ingredient until all are incorporated well. Chill overnight.  
3. When ready to use, pour mixture over ice cream and allow ice cream to soften. Blend with stick blender if desired.
4. Grate fresh nutmeg over each cup to garnish.

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