The holidays are stressful enough without having to worry about what to feed your baby.
Rather than cook separately for our guests and our 10-month-old, Clara, this year I designed my Thanksgiving menu so that several of the dishes are baby-friendly. The good news? It’s really not that hard. A lot of traditional Thanksgiving favorites are a natural fit for babies’ tastes, or require minimal tweaking.
Aside from the turkey itself (which Clara happens to love — I just chop it roughly before giving it to her), there are certain types of Thanksgiving dishes that work especially well for the one-year-or-younger set while still keeping the adults happy. I’ve rounded up some examples below. — Merrill Stubbs
Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided use
1 tablespoon olive oil
1.5 pounds yellow onions (approximately 2 large onions), thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon sugar
3 pounds Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1.5 cups half and half
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 bay leaf
3 ounces goat cheese
1. To make the caramelized onions, heat 2 tablespoons of butter and the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and stir them to coat with the fat. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and the sugar and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are golden brown and caramelized, about 30-40 minutes. If the onions get too dry, add a small amount of water to deglaze the pan. Set aside.
2. Place the potatoes in a large pot of cold, salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender.
3. While the potatoes are cooking, heat the half and half, garlic, bay leaf, and remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
4. Drain the potatoes and return them to the hot, dry pot. Stir them over low heat for 2 minutes until they are dry. Pass the potatoes through a ricer into a large bowl. Gently stir in the hot cream mixture a little at a time until the potatoes are smooth and creamy (discard the garlic and bay leaf). You may not need to use all of the liquid. Set aside a small amount of the caramelized onions for garnish and stir the remaining onions into the mashed potatoes. Crumble the goat cheese into the potatoes and stir to combine well. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
5. Spoon the mashed potatoes into a serving bowl and garnish with the remaining caramelized onions. Serve hot.