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Archive for November, 2011

Holliday Feast for Thanksgiving

Friday, November 25th, 2011

With just a little imagination and preparation, creating a delicious stuffing for your holiday meal is actually a breeze. I get bored of the traditional bread, giblets  and buttery stuffings found at so many Thankgsgiving tables. If you are at all like me, you know that stuffing can be a highlight of the meal, so why not zing it up with some fun, healthful ingredients? I’ve made stuffings over the years with chorizo, grapes, wild rice, berries, and even kale. I always start my stuffing prep with a home made turkey broth. After that anything goes. Last night I prepared a turkey wing broth with carrots,onion, celery,sage and bay leaf. Today I went shopping for the ingredients. I had heard that some of our guests tomorrow were vegetarian(-ish) so  I decided I wanted to make a meatless sweet and savory stuffing with enough flavors to satisfy even the carnivores at the party. The market I went to sold day old cornbread , ciabatta, and pumpernickle chunks (day old cubed bread soaks up your stuffing juices just right), and I picked up some portobello mushrooms,scallions, onions, apples,almonds, dried cherries, fresh sage and chestnuts. Such great Fall ingredients. Then I got to work and within an hour, I had a gorgeous stuffing all mixed up and ready to throw in the oven on Thanksgiving Day tomorrow. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!


( Yield: 8-10 Servings)

For Turkey Stock

1 large white or yellow onion , peeled and halved

1 cup carrots, chopped

1 cup celery, chopped

3 bay leafs

5 sage leaves

2 turkey wings or drumsticks, skin removed

salt and pepper to taste

For Stuffing Mixture

5 cups day old or lightly toasted  ciabatta, pumpernickle and or cornbread, cubed into 1 inch chunks

1/2 cup full fat  heavy cream

1 tablespoon butter

1 large white onion, diced (about 2 cups)

1 cup chopped scallions

1 cup chopped mushrooms

1 cup coarsely chopped fresh sage plus 1/2 cup set aside for garnish

3/4 cup dried cherries ( or cranberries or raisins)

3/4 cup almond slivers , toasted.

1 cup coarsely chopped roasted chestnuts ( about 6-8 whole chestnuts)

1-2 apples, peeled and chopped into large chunks ( about 1 1/2 to 2 cups)

2 egg yolks

salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the Turkey Stock .In large stock pot, add all the turkey stock ingredients with approx 10 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat ( about 20 minutes) . Lower heat and simmer for 2-3 hours, Stirring occasionally. Liquid should reduce to about 3 cups. Remove from heat to cool. Strain liquid into  bowl or large measuring cup. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside or refrigerate for up to 3 days. Discard vegetables and bones. (* you may pick the turkey meat off the bones, I made a delicious turkey salad sandwich for myself to eat while I cooked)

Prepare the Stuffing mixture Preheat oven to 250 degrees. On cookie tray, spread pierced raw chestnuts and almonds slices and bake  for approx 10 mins until almonds are slightly browned and chestnuts begin to peel back. Remove from heat and allow to cool.Chop the almonds if desired and peel the chestnuts and coarslly chop them.   In extra large mixing bowl, add  bread, cream, and egg yolks and lightly toss til breading is coated. Add 1 cup stock,mix, and refrigerate for up to 2 hours.  Meanwhile  in large frying pan, heat  the butter, scallions, onions, mushrooms and 1 cup of sage over medium heat til onions become translucent . Add 1 cup of stock and stir. Allow liquid to reduce by half, about 5 mins.Add another cup of stock, cherries, apples, almonds, and chestnuts. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes until much of the liquid is absorbed.Apples should slightly cook, but remain firm. Add salt and pepper if desired.Remove from heat and allow to cool. Add to the breading mixture and gently toss. With large spoon, scoop the mixture and spread evenly ( about 2 inches thick)  into a non greased baking dish  and cover with aluminum foil. You may store in refrigerator for up to 2 days or bake covered  at 325 degrees for 20-30 mins til bubbling. Remove foil, and broil til top is browned and serve immediately sprinkled with some freshy chopped sage.