Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving Feast

With a large family crowd this year, my husband smoked a turkey in the Big Green Egg to accompany the one I roasted in the oven.   Having heard a few too many times about the potential dangers of undercooking stuffing in the bird, we opted for baking two of our favorite stuffings to serve on the side along with Cassie's mashed potatoes, Eric's mashed sweet potatoes with a hint of orange, a spinach salad (with dried Crasins, apple slices, sliced green onions, sweet & spicy pecans, and crumbled blue cheese dressed with cranberry vinaigrette), gravy, and cranberry sauces.


12 t. butter
2 1/2 c. onions, finely chopped
3 tart apples, unpeeled, cored and chunked,
(Jonathan or Winesap is good)
1 lb. bulk sausage, lightly seasoned with sage
3 c. cornbread, lightly crumbled
3       c. wheat bread, crumbled
3       c. French bread, crumbled
2       t. thyme
1 t. sage, dried, crumbled
black pepper, freshly ground
1/2 c. Italian parsley, chopped
1 1/2 c. pecans, chopped

Melt 6 T. butter in a skillet.  Add chopped onions cooking over medium heat, partially covered, for about 25 minutes until tender and lightly colored.  Transfer onions and butter to large mixing bowl.  Melt remaining 6 T. butter in same skillet, cooking apple chunks over high heat until lightly colored, but not mushy.  Transfer apples and butter to the mixing bowl.
Crumble the sausage into a skillet, stirring over medium heat, until lightly browned.  Transfer to the mixing bowl with a slotted spoon, reserving the rendered fat.
Add the remaining ingredients to the mixing bowl, combining gently.  Cool completely.  Spoon stuffing into a casserole.   Cover casserole and set into a large pan with hot water poured halfway up the sides.  Bake at 325 for 30-45 minutes basting occasionally with cooking juices from the turkey or reserved sausage fat if necessary.  If stuffing the turkey, the recipe should make enough to stuff a 20-pound bird.

This recipe appeared in the November 1994 issue of Sunset magazine as part of a California-inspired Thanksgiving menu.   It has become a regular menu item at our holiday meals.


1      lb. sourdough bread, cut into 1/2" cubes
1     lb. mushrooms, rinsed
1      T. butter
2 onions, peeled and chopped (about 3/4 lb.)
1 c. chopped celery
2 T. minced garlic
2       c. fat-skimmed chicken broth
2 6-oz. jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 t. poultry seasoning
1 1/2 T.  minced fresh rosemary (or 3/4 t. dried)
1 large egg

Spread bread cubes in a single layer in 2 10x15" pans.  Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until toasted golden brown.  Turn cubes over with a wide spatula occasionally.  After 15 minutes switch pan positions.  Trim stem ends of mushrooms and slice.  In a 10-12" frying pan over high heat combine butter, mushrooms, onions celery, and garlic.  Stir often for about 15 minutes until vegetables are lightly browned.  Pour into a large bowl.  Add a little broth to the pan and stir to scrape browned bits free.  Add to bowl.  Pour 2 c. broth into bowl and add toasted bread cubes, artichoke hearts, cheese, poultry seasoning, and rosemary; mix well.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Make a well in dressing, add egg, beat with a fork to blend, and then mix egg with dressing.  Spoon into a shallow 3-qt. (9x13") casserole.  For moist dressing, cover with foil; for crusty dressing, do not cover.  Bake at 325-350 (depending on what the turkey requires) for 50 minutes (60 minutes if chilled) until hot (at least 150 degrees in center) or lightly browned.

We've been favoring the fresh, flavor of uncooked relish in recent years, but offer a prepared whole berry sauce as well.


1 large   apple
1 large   navel orange
1 12-oz. bag cranberries (frozen is best)
1/4 c.     choppeded pecans
1 c.        sugar (or to taste)

Rinse the cranberries. Cut the ends off of the orange just a little, until the sections show through. Core the apple and cut into quarters.
In a food processor on chop with chop blade, chop the frozen cranberries until a relish consistency. Scoop out into a bowl. Chop apple in the food processor and add to the bowl. Cut orange into quarters and add to processor, chopping until all rind is in very small relish like particles. Add to bowl. Mix lightly and sprinkle about 1/2 or 2/3's of the one cup of sugar over mixture and let sit for about 1/2 hour.
After sitting, mix again and taste; if mixture is too tart for you, add more sugar. Add nuts last.

This Ultimate Pumpkin Pie recipe, which appeared in Bon Appetit magazine in the early 1990's, is a favorite variation on an old classic.


1 1/4 c. flour
1/2    c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. butter, chilled, cut into pieces
3 T. whipping cream
3/4   c. sugar
1       T.    packed golden brown sugar
1 T.    cornstarch
2        t. ground cinnamon
3/4     t.  ground ginger
1/4     t.    salt
16 oz. can solid pack pumpkin
3/4 c. whipping cream
1/2 c.    sour cream
3 large eggs, beaten to blend
1/4 c.    apricot preserves

Blend flour, powdered sugar, and butter in food processor; add cream and process until moist clumps form.  Gather into ball and chill 15 minutes.  Roll out dough to line 9" glass pie dish.  Freeze 15 minutes. Line crust with foil, pressing firmly.  Bake at 350 until sides are set, about 10 minutes.  Remove foil.  Bake crust until pale brown, about 10 minutes more.  Using whisk, mix sugars, cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger, and salt in bowl until no lumps remain.  Blend in pumpkin, whipping cream, sour cream, and eggs.  Spread preserves over crust; pour in pumpkin filling.  Bake at 325 until filling pulls at edges and center is almost set, about 55 minutes.  Cool on rack.  Cover, chill until cold.

Pecan Cream Cheese Pie was not on the menu this year, but is sure to return periodically.  This recipe was included in La Bonne Cuisine: Cooking New Orleans Style compiled by The Women of All Saints' Episcopal Church, originally published in 1980.


8       oz. cream cheese
4             eggs
1/3    c.   sugar
1/4    t.    salt
2       t.    vanilla
1 10"       pie shell, unbaked
1 1/4 c.    pecans, coarsely chopped
1       c.    corn syrup, light or dark
1/4    c.    sugar

In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the cream cheese, 1 of the eggs, 1/3 c. sugar, salt, and 1 t. of the vanilla until light and fluffy.  Spread the mixture on the bottom of the pie shell.  Sprinkle the pecans on top.  Beat the remaining 3 eggs until they are light and fluffy.  Add the Karo, remaining 1 t. vanilla, and 1/4 c. sugar and blend well.  Pour the mixture into the pie shell.  Bake the pie at 375 for 45 minutes.

But the unanimous favorite seemed to be a large Pumpkin Cheesecake version of the Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes with Gingersnap Crust baked earlier this fall for the holiday tea.

A well-fed family!

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