So, I actually didn’t cook much for the actual holiday, but during the month of November I was in the festive spirit and decided to make some Thanksgiving inspired dishes ahead of time.
Two weeks prior to Thanksgiving, NYmag came out with this article, asking several top NY chefs for the favorite Thanksgiving recipe made by their mothers. I wanted to try almost all the recipes, but opted for Tom Colicchio’s Sausage Stuffing with Sage and Golden Raisins. Noah loves stuffing; I am not a fan but the only stuffing I’ve ever had came from a box, so I thought I would give it a whirl.
Sausage Stuffing with Golden Raisins & Sage
2 lbs breakfast sausafe (I used broccoli rabe sausage, which I think tasted better)
1 cup fennel, finely chopped
1 cup leeks, finely sliced
1/2 cup carrots, finely chopped
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup golden raisins, soaked in hot water and drained
1 lb crusty French bread, cubed, placed on a tray and left out overnight (I forgot this step, so quickly toasted my bread)
6 sprigs thyme, stems removed
8 large sage leaves, chopped
2 tbsp fennel seeds
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
2-3 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350. In a large saute pan, cook the sausage over medium heat until browned. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon, cut into 1/4 in pieces, and set aside. Place the pan of sausage fat over medium heat and add the fennel, leeks, carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Saute for 10 minutes.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sausage, vegetables, raisins, bread cubes, thyme, sage and fennel seeds. Stir in the eggs until mixed. Slowly add chicken broth until the mixture is moist. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a large gratin/casserole dish, cover with foil and bake for 30 mins in the oven. Uncover and bake until the top is browned.
Result: Good stuffing, but I think I’m learning that I’m not a huge fan of fennel. Also, next time I would use cranberries instead of raisins. The recipe claims to serve 8, but I believe the servings should be for 20. This made TWO ENTIRE casseroles, and I am almost certain that I did not overdo any of the portions. Oh, and stuffing is a TON of work; there’s a reason people make it from a box. I think I was slaving away in the kitchen for at least 3 hours making this one dish. Not so simple.
Soul Sweet ‘Taters
In all of the Thanksgiving hoopla, theKitchn posted a recipe for “Soul Sweet ‘Taters,” which I immediately wanted. Candied yams are my all-time favorite Thanksgiving dish, and this basically seemed like Candied yams minus the marshmallows (something I like at first, but then it gets a bit too much). As I prepared the “Soul Sweet Taters” I realized that basically, it’s a sweet potato crumble. Who doesn’t love a crumble? Wonderful and delicious!
Soul Sweet ‘Taters
- 4 whole Medium Sweet Potatoes
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1 cup Milk
- 2 whole Eggs
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 cup Brown Sugar
- 1 cup Pecans
- ½ cups Flour
- ¾ sticks Butter
1. Wash 4 medium sweet potatoes and bake them in a 375-degree oven until fork tender, about 30-35 minutes. When they are finished cooking, slice them open .
2. Add 1 cup of (regular grandulated) sugar, 1 cup of milk, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon of salt. With a potato masher (I don’t own one, so I just use the bottom of a drinking glass), mash them up just enough—you don’t want to be perfectly smooth.
3. Now, in a separate bowl, add 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup pecans, chopped (that means measure a cup of pecans, then chop them), ½ cup flour, and ¾ stick of butter. With a pastry cutter or fork, mash together until thoroughly combined.
4. Spread the sweet potato mixture into a regular baking dish and sprinkle the crumb mixture all over the top.
5. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
Lastly, on the actual day of Thanksgiving, my family went over to Noah’s family’s place and we all ate together. Our parents made most of the food, but I felt weird coming empty-handed and not making anything on such a food-themed day, so I baked a pear pie. Again, I used Martha Stewart’s pate brisee (short crust) recipe, but found the pear recipe part from Allrecipes.
Fresh Pear Pie
1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
1/2 cup white sugar (I used brown)
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 lemon, zested
5 cups peeled and sliced pears
1 tbsp butter
1 lemon, juiced
1. Combine sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon and lemon rind in mixing bowl.
2. Arrange pears in layers in a 9 inch pastry lined pan, sprinkling sugar over each layer. Dot with butter. Sprinkle lemon juice. Roll out remaining dough, cut slits for escape of steam. Moisten rim of bottom crust. Place top crust over filling. Fold edge under bottom crust, pressing to seal. Flute edge.
3. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 mins, Reduce temperature to 350 and bake for additional 35-40 mins.
Result: I added too much water (I used the max amount) to my pie crust, so it wasn’t flaky. The filling was good, but not amazing. I did really like Noah’s artistry in fashioning a turkey out of the extra dough and placing it on top of the pie.