November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving Roundup 2011

So... Thanksgiving.  Yeah.  I started out awesome and took pictures of my cute appetizers (I particularly like the turkey-shaped veggie platter!), but after that my poor camera sat neglected on a side-table while I got distracted with cooking, serving and eating!  On one hand I'm sad because the food was beautiful and delicious.  On the other hand though, we're TDY en-route here which is secret code for "All of my nice stuff is in South Carolina and we're eating off of paper plates," so the plating wouldn't have looked so good.  I mean, I roasted the turkey in one of those tin-foil pans from the commissary which also doubled as our cutting board (bad idea, by the way, never ever do that).

Anyway, here's the breakdown of our Thanksgiving dinner:

Like last year, I used Alton Brown's brine for my turkey.  I don't have my smoker here though, so oven roasted it was!  I rubbed it with Memphis BBQ's Magic Dust and it was the juiciest bird ever!  Next year it will be a hard choice between smoking and oven roasting - we might need two birds!

Making repeat appearances at our table this year were the Olive Bread, Rosemary Epi, Mashed Potatoes, and Magic Pumpkin Pie.

New guests to the menu were Apple-Sausage Stuffing, Corn Casserole, and Bobby Flay's Pumpkin Bread Pudding (add some dried cranberries to the pumpkin bread).  I also made my own pie crust thanks to Cooks Illustrated and my good friend Stacey!  Smitten Kitchen has already blogged about it, so I will leave you in their capable hands.

Onto the stuffing!

I have a confession to make.  I kinda like stovetop stuffing.  There, I said it.  But Thanksgiving is Thanksgiving and one simply cannot have stovetop stuffing, even if it is really really good.  So I ended up heavily modifying Double Musky's Sausage-Apple Dressing.  As always, the key to a good stuffing is a really good stock.  It MUST be homemade!  If you want to know why, Stacey has the answer.  It's worth it to buy some turkey necks and make up a large batch of stock prior to Thanksgiving - you need it for gravy too!  Also, for bread crumbs, just get (or make) some good bread and leave it out for a day before shredding it.  I used 1/2 sourdough bread and 1/2 wheat.


1 T oil
1 head garlic, minced
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 tube ground sausage
Poultry seasoning
3-4 stalks celery, diced
1/4 c mixed bell peppers, diced
1 ancho chili, diced (optional)
1 granny smith apple, diced
dash nutmeg
1/2-1 c turkey stock
3-4 c bread crumbs

In a skillet, saute the garlic and onion in the oil until onion is translucent.  Add the sausage and brown, using poultry seasoning to taste.  Transfer to a pot and stir in the celery, peppers, apple and nutmeg.  Cook for two minutes, then add the stock (start with 1/2 cup, use more if needed).  Simmer for another 2-3 minutes and stir in the bread crumbs.  Adjust bread and stock until you reach the desired consistency.  Remove from heat.  Transfer to oven-safe pan and cook until the top is toasted.

PS.  We're starting the second half of our PCS shortly, so updates will be unreliable until we've moved into our new place sometime after Christmas.  Have a happy and safe holiday!!

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