Sausage and Apple Stuffing
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.
I like the premise of being thankful (thank you for reading this blog), spending time with the people you love, and celebrating with a ridiculously indulgent feast. Personally, I have very happy memories of spending Thanksgiving day cooking with my mom while my brother played video games, and my sister cried about some new drama in her life. Ahhh, traditions.
Unfortunately, annoying things like work and airfare sometimes prevent us from being able to enjoy Thanksgiving with our families. If that’s the case, be the first one to invite your friends over for Turkey Day and start some fabulous new traditions. Just because you’re away from home this Thanksgiving, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get to binge eat in the company of people you love.
I had just finished my first term at Le Cordon Bleu, so I was obviously feeling pretty cocky. Plus, a friend had generously offered to let me use her apartment for Thanksgiving, which was significantly larger than the shoebox that I shared with my roommate. Excited to show of my new skillz in a badass apartment, I boldly invited twelve people to dinner. I envisioned preparing a mind-blowing feast that everyone would remember as “the best Thanksgiving they ever had.” I had even special-ordered a monster turkey along with pumpkin and pecan pies from a wonderful little American shop (which was cleverly called “Thanksgiving”). What could go wrong?
Apparently, a lot of things could go wrong. And they did. Naturally, I spent too much time on Thanksgiving day picking out my outfit and too little time getting things ready for dinner. So, when my guests started arriving at 6 pm, I was slightly behind. Turns out my friend’s oven wasn’t exactly calibrated correctly, so the turkey took infinity hours to roast. There weren’t enough pots or counter space, and my guests kept coming into the kitchen to “help,” meaning that they were crowding my space and making me jealous of their cocktails.
Dinner was finally served at midnight, which is a very European dinner hour (I’m all about a positive spin). Despite the slight delay, the meal turned out to be a great success, aided by the fact that everyone had enjoyed cocktail hour six times. The feast was followed by a rowdy game of “Guess who’s under the blanket?” which sounds dirty, but isn’t. (This site sort of explains the rules.)
Don’t worry, I’m not expecting you to cook an entire Thanksgiving dinner yourself. That would be exhausting and probably disastrous (see above story). It’s much safer to host a Thanksgiving potluck. As the host, you will only need to roast the turkey and make one side dish. Then politely ask your guests to bring a side dish, booze, or dessert. It’s that easy.
Never roasted a turkey before? Don’t panic, it’s easier than you think. This site breaks it down for you: idiot-proof way to roast a turkey. If you have a large group, you should consider opting for two smaller turkeys rather than one giant bird. This will save you a serious amount of cooking time, which means you can get some extra beauty sleep and have the morning free to pick out your “hosting” outfit and set up your table.
|Never forget the importance of outfit choice and table decor.|
If you are lucky enough to be with your family this Thanksgiving, offer to help out in the kitchen by making a delicious side dish. Check out these recipes for all the favorites: Sausage and Apple Stuffing, Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows*, Signature Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon, and Sauteed Haricots Verts with Garlic.
You are now armed with the knowledge you need to go forth and conquer Thanksgiving 2012. I guarantee everyone will give thanks for your domestic prowess. And you can be thankful for the endless compliments. It’s a win-win.
*Follow the recipe for Sweet Potato Puree. Then pour the puree into a baking dish. Top with 2-3 cups mini marshmallows in an even layer. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes until the marshmallows are golden brown.
Sausage and Apple Stuffing: (Serves 10)
Preparing your stuffing:
-Cut stale bread into ¾ inch cubes and place them in a large mixing bowl. (If you don’t have the time to wait for bread to go stale, you can put the cubes on a cookie sheet and dry them out in a 300 the oven for about 10 minutes. Just make sure they don’t brown too much!)
-Sauté sausage in a large pan, stirring constantly to break up the meat. Once it is cooked through (about 6 minutes), remove it from the pan and add it to the bread cubes.
-In the same pan, melt 4 tbsp butter and add the celery, onion, and apple. Sauté five minutes until soft, then add the herbs. Cook two minutes more, add the chicken stock and bring it to a boil.
-Pour the chicken stock mixture over the bread cubes and sausage and mix well.
-Place the stuffing into a baking dish. Slice the remaining half stick of butter into tabs and place on top of the stuffing. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. The top should be deliciously light brown and crispy.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
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