We’re skipping Thanksgiving this year. Yep, it’s true. I’ll be passing on my favorite food holiday. We’re going to Chile instead to explore the lakes and wine country. It’s a fair trade, I think. And just because we’re not making Thanksgiving for 30 people again this year, doesn’t mean that I won’t be making Thanksgiving recipes. In fact, I’ve already made my favorite Carrot Pumpkin Soup and I plan to make it again this week.
Of all the delicious Thanksgiving foods – turkey, gratin, casseroles, sweet potatoes, pies and breads – my most favorite thing on the table is undoubtedly the stuffing. So, when the last-ever issue of Gourmet arrived (so sad) and I spotted a Rye Bread Stuffing, I instantly wanted some. Of course, I didn’t follow the recipe one bit and made my own with spicy sausage and tart dried cherries soaked in cognac. To make it a meal, I stuffed it into roasted acorn squash, but it would be just as good with turkey and gravy.
The stuffing was everything I love about the fall. It was moist on the bottom and crunchy on the top. The rye bread gave it a hint of something interesting, a good contrast to the tart cherries. And some chopped and toasted pecans added that little bit of crunch. I might add a chopped apple next time, too.
I think I’ll have Thanksgiving once a week from now til December. Yum :)
If you want to stuff your stuffing inside an acorn squash like I did, cut your squash in half, brush with olive oil and roast in a 350° oven for 45 minutes. Then stuff and bake, following the instructions at the end of the recipe.
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 yellow onion, diced
2 leeks, washed and thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
2 spicy sausages, casing removed (spicy Portuguese or Mexican chorizo is good, spicy Italian works too)
3 slices seeded Rye bread, stale or toasted until just dried out
1 1/4 cup chicken stock (might need a little more or less)
3 tbsp. cognac
1/2 cup tart dried cherries (unsweetened) – like these
1/3 cup chopped and toasted pecans
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
In a small bowl, combine the tart cherries and cognac and set aside or soak overnight.
Set a large pot over medium-high heat. Once it’s hot, melt the butter and add the onions and leeks, cooking until soft and beginning to brown – about 7 minutes. Add the sausage and brown. Reduce the heat to low.
Carefully, cut the bread into small, 1/2-inch cubes and add to the pot. Add the chicken stock and stir until evenly combined. Fold in the cherries and any cognac in the bowl, the pecans and the thyme.
Let the stuffing sit for a few minutes, or a few hours (refrigerated). Twenty minutes before you want to eat, preheat the oven to 350°
Melt a tablespoon of butter in a small bowl and stir in a pinch of salt. Transfer your stuffing to a casserole dish and brush the top with the butter mixture. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.
Serves 4 as a main (with acorn squash) or 6 – 8 as a side. When in doubt, make more – leftover stuffing is amazing.