for those who burn to learn

21

Nov 2016

Spicy Pork Sausage and Chestnut Dressing for Thanksgiving

Posted by / in Holidays, Recipes, WCSH6 /

I know these are fighting words, (my mother always argues with me about this topic) but I don’t ever stuff my bird. Stuffing insulates the turkey, thereby slowing down its cooking. It also almost guarantees that the turkey will be cooked unevenly. To eliminate this headache and to have the most control over the temperature of my turkey and my savory treat, I cook the bird separately and the stuffing separately. When you cook the stuffing outside the bird, in a shallow casserole pan, it is called “dressing”.

This Italian American recipe is one of my Thanksgiving favorites. It is adapted from the recipe of Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis who received the ingredient list and method from her Aunt Raffy. I love the flavors of the original dish, but I made several changes. Giada uses only cornbread. I prefer a mixture of challah bread and cornbread. The texture is softer and more luscious with the addition of egg bread. Giada likes turkey sausage. I find it too dry so I substituted fatty pork sausage. I’ve also adjusted the seasonings and added organic pine nuts which I crave. This recipe is greatly enhanced if you use your own homemade stock rather than canned broth. Of course, stuffing recipes are easily adaptable and, you may add or omit most things in this recipe to suit your needs and preferences.

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17

Nov 2016

Smoky Chestnut Soup with Fennel and Crispy Chestnuts

Posted by / in Into the Fire Blog, Recipes, WCSH6 /

I serve Thanksgiving at 3:00 in the afternoon, which means my house guests are inhaling intoxicating aromas and licking their chops by noontime. To soothe them, and still keep them interested in the coming feast, I offer my loved ones an elegant chestnut soup for lunch. Except for the garnish, this soup can be made a day or two in advance. In fact, it’s better if you do make it ahead. Also, in its favor, the flavors of this appetizer beautifully complement the traditional Thanksgiving menu.

Since there are very few ingredients in this dish, it is so helpful to use a rich homemade chicken broth and lightly smoked bacon (I like applewood smoked bacon). Remember that the salinity of your broth and the bacon will determine how much salt and pepper you need to add at the end. Of course, you can roast and peel your own fresh chestnuts and the chestnut flavor will be even more pronounced, but it is perfectly fine and easy to use already peeled and roasted chestnuts which are available at most grocery stores during November and December.

Please notice this soup has no dairy in it at all so if any of your guests are lactose intolerant, this first course is a winner.

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