Monday, November 19, 2012

one hundred and thirty

Thanksgiving is four days away...  Are you ready?  I've shopped for the food, bought some new containers for leftovers, replaced my aging baking pans, finalized the menu changes, and, as of noon today, started my cooking by roasting some turkey necks for stock.  Since there are only two of us--and since I have years more Thanksgiving experience than most twenty-somethings--I am fairly confident that I have everything under control.  Cue unforeseeable holiday-ruining occurrence. Despite my cockiness, I still have a ton of work to do in order to pull off the feast which I'll break down by day, just in case anyone's in need of some inspiration (or a reminder or two).
Monday : triple check grocery list and cabinet contents; wash aprons, kitchen rags, napkins, etc.; roast turkey necks for stock; prepare turkey stock; share recipe for dressing.

Tuesday : make cranberry sauce; roast garlic for mashed potatoes; clean out refrigerator; clean oven; wash roasting pans and/or dust-covered special Thanksgiving serving dish; slice French bread for crostini, then freeze.

Wednesday : make dough for rolls, then shape in muffin tin, complete final rise overnight in the refrigerator; prepare dressing; make brine (double batch for a whole turkey), then brine turkey overnight; make cheesecake; make dip for appetizers.

Thursday : slice veggies for appetizers; bake mini-quiches and frozen crostini for appetizers; roast turkey, then make gravy; make mashed potatoes; make green beans; bake dressing and rolls; nom.

Andouille and Sage Dressing

This recipe is based on one that my mother discovered in Bon Appetit in the '90s.  It can be made with any sort of boxed stuffing mix (or with your own bread, dried, crumbled and seasoned--but who wants to do that kind of work?) but cornbread is the default.  Disclosure: I'm using the "chicken" flavored Stove Top that I got in bulk at a wholesale club.  No matter what, make sure that you use good, homemade stock rather than store bought.  Also, use the given amount of broth as an idea, rather than a rule; nothing's worse than dry dressing... except for soggy dressing.

4 tbsp butter
16 oz. Andouille sausage, sliced into coins
16 oz. pork and sage bulk sausage
2 cups onions, diced
2 cups celery, diced
1 tsp thyme, crumbled
14 - 16 oz. stuffing mix
1 1/2 - 2 cups turkey stock

In a large pan over medium-high heat cook the bulk sausage about 5 minutes, or until browned; drain and remove to paper towel-lined plate.  Add the sliced Andouille to the same pot, cooking an additional 5 minutes, or until browned on both sides; remove to paper-towel lined plate.  

Add butter to the pot.  Once butter has melted, add onions, celery, and thyme; cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  

In a very large bowl, use your hands to thoroughly mix both of the sausages, the softened onions and celery, and the boxed stuffing.  Add one cup of the turkey stock and stir.  Little by little, add the rest of the stock until the dressing is moistened.  Refrigerate until an hour and a half before you're ready to bake and serve.

Preheat the oven to 350.  Spoon the dressing into a large buttered glass or ceramic baking dish.  Cover with a buttered piece of foil, then bake for 30 minutes.  Remove the foil, stir the dressing, then return to the oven to bake uncovered for an additional 30 minutes or until browned.


  1. Your Thanksgiving menu looks fantastic!

    1. Thanks! I can't wait for all of the leftovers we'll be eating for the next year or so. ;)