4 Chocolaty Thanksgiving Sides

There are certain things in life that don't mix well when combined together: oil and vinegar, Republicans and Democrats, Yankees fans and Red Sox fans — just to name but a few. So, when Katzie Guy-Hamilton, executive chef and director of food and beverage at Max Brenner, tried to convince me how delicious chocolate can be when used in savory dishes, to say I was pretty doubtful would be an understatement of epic proportions.

Don't get me wrong — I love chocolate. I just typically prefer mine served in dessert form. Something about chocolate and savory dishes sounded a bit contrived and gimmicky. Consequently, when I was invited to a tasting event to launch Max Brenner's new menu I was adamant that I would stick to the sweet options.

"Just try it," said Guy-Hamilton, after I declined the savory options. "Chocolate has a place in a lot of dishes. It isn't always sweet. It's bitter and silky and adds a new flavor to traditional recipes," she said. And, she was correct. The dishes I tried were subtle and unctuous rather than tasting as if someone has melted an entire Hershey bar over the top. "Only a small amount of chocolate is used in each savory course — a little goes a long way," explained Guy-Hamilton. "And remember, dark chocolate isn't very sweet."

When I asked what flavors work particularly well with chocolate, she replied, "Coffee. Chestnuts. Fruits like pear and fig. Actually, all things that belong in a Thanksgiving feast!"

To prove her point, Guy-Hamilton has conjured up five Thanksgiving recipes, each incorporating chocolate, that you can offer up at your dinner. "Each dish has a base ingredient that goes well with chocolate," she said. "For example, Brussels sprouts and bacon are a natural pairing, as is bacon and chocolate, so we figured... why not combine all three?"

For more turkey talk, visit The Daily Meal's Ultimate Guide to Thanksgiving.

Click here for the Bacon and Chocolate Brussels Sprouts Recipe!

Click here for the Brown-Sugar Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows and Chocolate Shavings Recipe!

Biscuits with Melted Chocolate Lick

Bacon and Chocolate Cornbread Stuffing