-Adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook, which would make a pretty terrific holiday gift for almost anyone who likes to cook. Serves 10.
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2 1/2 cups finely chopped yellow onions (from about 2 medium onions)
1 1/2 cups finely chopped celery (from 2 to 3 stalks)
4 1/2 cups diced or coarsely crumbled cornbread
4 1/2 cups oven-dried bread cubes from white or simple whole wheat bread*
1 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup dried cranberries or dried cherries
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried sage
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
* To dry your own bread cubes, preheat the oven to 250°F with one rack near the top and one near the bottom. Cut the bread into 1/2-inch dice. Spread it in a single layer on a couple of sheet pans. Bake the bread until it is completely dry, about an hour. Every 15 minutes, stir the bread and rotate the pans from front to back. Halfway through the cooking time, also move the top sheet pan to the bottom and the bottom one to the top. It’s also fine to buy pre-dried bread, as long as it’s good-quality bread without extra seasoning. Whole Foods sells a good house brand of “stuffing cubes” in a plain plastic bag at this time of year.
Preheat the oven to 325°F with a rack in the middle. Melt the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and celery along with a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, 10 to 15 minutes. If necessary, reduce the heat to prevent browning. Transfer all the contents of the skillet to a large bowl
Add the cornbread, bread cubes, nuts, dried cranberries/cherries, parsley, thyme, sage, and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper to the bowl. Mix gently but well with your hands. Pour the beaten eggs and the stock over the contents of the bowl, and mix again with your hands to moisten all the bread.
Spoon the stuffing into a 9x13x2-inch baking dish. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes.
6 strips thick-cut bacon, cut into chunks
1 T. olive oil
1/2 red onion, diced
1 T. brown sugar
Big bag of green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 to 1 1/2 inch length
Fry the bacon chunks over medium heat until done; remove bacon to paper-toweled plate to drain. Add olive oil to the bacon grease and bring back to medium heat. Carmelize onion with brown sugar. Drain on paper-toweled plate. Put bacon and onions aside.
Steam green beans until just done. (May have to do in 2 batches.)
In skillet, reheat beans, onions, and bacon. Serve hot.
This is an ex-boyfriend's family's recipe that I've been making for years now. (Thank you, Donny!)
2 loafs white bread, cubed (I prefer Challah)
1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian sausage (I buy in bulk at Whole Foods; otherwise, remove casings)
1 1/2 cups chopped leeks
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
2 T fresh thyme
1 T fresh chopped sage
1/4 cup butter
2 cups chicken stock
Roasted Garlic Oil:
2 garlic heads
3 thyme sprigs
1 cup olive oil
Cut 2 garlic heads in half and place on the bottom of a baking dish. Add in 3 sprigs of thyme. Now, pour 1 cup of olive oil over top. Place into a preheated 300 degree oven for 1 hour. While the olive oil is in the oven, dice the two loaves of bread. You want to remove the crust and discard. You want to fill a 10 x 15 baking dish. When the olive oil has finished, remove from oven and strain out the garlic and thyme. Place the diced bread into a large container for mixing. Pour 3/4 cup of the garlic infused olive oil over the bread. Using two wooden spoons mix the bread till all the cubes are coated with the oil. Place onto a large cookie sheet and place into a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Be sure to mix the bread cubes every once in a while. This will help to brown all sides.
In a large sauce brown the sausage till cooked and remove any fat that is left over after frying. Set aside. In another saucepan add the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil and 1/4 cup of butter. Once the butter has melted, sauté the carrots, celery and leeks. Sauté for a few minutes till tender. Add the vegetable mixture to the cooked sausage. Pour the browned bread cubes back into the large mixing container. Add the cooked sausage, thyme, and sage. Pour in the 2 cups of chicken stock and mix till all the chicken stock is absorbed. Add a little black pepper and salt to taste. Pour mixture into a 10 x 15 baking dish.
Cover with tin foil and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove tin foil and
bake uncovered for another 35 minutes till the top is lightly browned.
Serves 8 hungry people
6 medium yellow squash, chopped
1 med. onion, chopped
1 c. grated cheese
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. melted butter
1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook onion and squash until tender and drain. (I use my steamer, actually.) Add milk and beaten egg to squash and onion mixture. Mix cheese, butter, and half of the crushed Ritz crackers together, then add to squash mixture. Add salt and pepper. Pour into buttered 9 x 13 casserole dish. Sprinkle other half of crushed Ritz crackers on top. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes.
I have discovered that the real trick to creamy, buttery, heavenly potatoes is to use Yukon Gold potatoes instead of Russets. According to the Food Network,
"Starchy potatoes, like russets, have high starch and low water. Starchy potatoes are great for baking and French fries, and good as mashed potatoes. When cooked in water, they disintegrate; when cooked by dry heat, they become crumbly and fluffy. All-purpose, or chef's potatoes, like Yukon Golds, have medium starch and medium water. All-purpose potatoes are great in stews, soups, mashed potatoes, or for roasting. When cooked, they are at once moist and fluffy: they keep most of their shape in soups and don't dry out when baked."
Here's our recipe for perfect Thanksgiving mashed potatoes:
3 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered length-wise
1 teaspoon salt
8 Tbsp heavy cream
4 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp milk
Salt and pepper
Put potatoes into a saucepan. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Add water until potatoes are covered. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, 15-20 minutes, or until done - a fork can easily be poked through them.
Warm cream and melt butter, together, either in microwave or in a pan on the stove. Drain water from potatoes. Put hot potatoes into a bowl. Add cream and melted butter. Use potato masher to mash potatoes until well mashed. Use a strong spoon to beat further, adding milk to achieve the consistency you desire. (Do not over-beat!.) Salt and pepper to taste.
Yield: Serves 8.