Tis the season for home cooking and family gatherings, and these Evanston chefs have graciously agreed to share their favorite recipes for delicious sides, so you can try them at home (but then, also, perhaps, be tempted to return to the restaurant for more.) 

Bon appétit or perhaps, enjoy!

Below you will find:

  • Union Pizzeria’s Brussels sprouts with dates, bacon and cider vinegar,
  • LeTour’s Pomme Boulangèren (French potato casserole for six),
  • Blind Faith Café’s Shiitake Walnut Loaf and
  • Smylie Brothers’ Delicious Mac and Cheese.

Union Pizzeria
Evanston SPACE
1245 Chicago Ave.

Brussels sprouts with dates, bacon and cider vinegar

Brussels sprouts with dates, bacon and cider vinegar Credit: Union Pizzeria

4 side dish servings 
1# Brussel sprouts, halved 
1 shallot – small dice 
2T butter 
2 garlic cloves – slivered 
½ tsp. red pepper flakes 
¼ cup slab bacon, medium dice 
½ cup Medjool dates, pitted and quartered 
¼ cup apple cider vinegar 


  1. In a large pan on medium heat add the bacon and cook until golden brown. Remove bacon and put aside on paper towels. 
  2. To the bacon drippings add the garlic, shallot and pepper flakes. Cool until translucent, add the Brussel sprouts and the butter and cook until the Brussels have become tender and golden. Approximately 10 minutes.
  3. Add the Medjool dates and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Then add the cider vinegar and deglaze the pan.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix the reserved bacon and serve

LeTour (new )
625 Davis St.
Pomme Boulangèren (French potato casserole for six)

Pomme Boulangèren (French potato casserole). Credit: LeTour

2½ lb. Russet potato, peeled
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
3 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoon Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 quart chicken stock
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F
  2. Coat the bottom and sides of a casserole dish with half the butter.
  3. In a sauté pan over medium high heat, melt remaining butter. Add the onions and garlic. Sauté until golden. Set aside
  4. Thinly slice the potatoes into rounds and place them into a large mixing bowl. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add the onions and chopped parsley.
  5. Layer evenly in casserole dish. Place thyme and bay leaf on top of potatoes.
  6. Add the chicken stock.
  7. Place in oven and cook for 45 minutes

Blind Faith Café
525 Dempster St. 
Shiitake Walnut Loaf 

Shiitake Walnut Loaf Credit: Blind Faith Cafe

(Yields two 9×5 loaves)
3 cups Walnut Pieces (toasted)
1 cup onion (chopped)
1 cup carrot (grated)
1 cup celery (chopped)
1 cup Shiitake mushroom (chopped)
2 cups Jack cheese (grated)
½ cup applesauce
2 eggs
3 cups toasted bread crumbs
1 tsp. Herbs de Provence 1 tsp
1 tsp. Black Pepper ½ tsp (or to taste)
1 tsp sale (or to taste)
Ketchup as needed


  1. Toast walnuts and breadcrumbs separately and set aside.
  2. Prepare vegetables and mix together.
  3. Grate cheese and set aside.
  4. Mix breadcrumbs with salt, pepper and herbs.
  5. In a food processor combine half of the nuts, half the breadcrumbs, half the vegetable mix, half the cheese, half the applesauce, and one egg. Process until all ingredients are combined homogeneously. 
  6. Repeat with second half of ingredients and mix both batches together by hand in a large bowl.
  7. Split into two oiled 9×5 bread pans lined with parchment paper and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. 
  8. Remove from oven, cover loaves in ketchup and bake for another 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool completely. Refrigerate overnight. Slice and reheat for service on a cookie sheet at 300° F.

Smylie Brothers 
1615 Oak Ave.
Delicious Mac and Cheese 

38.5 fl. oz. whole milk
13 fl. oz. heavy cream
6.5T butter
6.5T AP flour
2 shallots, minced
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. black peppercorns
1 lb. shredded Cheddar cheese
½ lb. shredded Fontina cheese
½ lb. peeled and shredded smoked Gouda cheese
½ lb. shredded Gruyere cheese
2 tsps. Diamond kosher salt
1 tsp. mustard powder
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Pinch of cayenne pepper(or to taste)
1 cup panko bread crumbs
2T melted butter


  1. Place thyme, bay leaf and black peppercorns into a piece of cheesecloth and tie it with kitchen twine to secure. 
  2. Put shallots, milk and cream in a large pot and slowly bring to a simmer over low heat.  In a separate pan make a roux.  Melt the butter over medium heat and whisk in the flour until well combined.  Remove roux from heat.  Once the milk and cream mixture is hot, whisk in the prepared roux and bring to a simmer over low heat until thickened.  Using a whisk or immersion blender, slowly add in shredded cheese along with salt, mustard powder, cayenne, and Worcestershire sauce.  
  3. Combine cheese sauce with al dente cooked pasta shape of your choice, Smylie Brothers uses shells, but elbows work great too. 
  4. Place the mixture in a buttered casserole dish. 
  5. Combine panko with melted butter and spread evenly over the casserole. 
  6. Place the dish in the oven and bake at 425° F until breadcrumbs are toasted or about five minutes.

Belinda Lichty Clarke

Belinda Lichty Clarke works as the alumni engagement director at Medill at Northwestern and is a freelance writer. After graduating with a master’s from Medill in 1994, Belinda worked in public relations,...

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