Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Day Before Thanksgiving Haiku:

My shopping is done
Kroger cannot lure me now
Time for gluttony

I love Thanksgiving for so many reasons, but the biggest one is that I love to cook. I am not a good baker, but a savory cook? I hold my own.

This year's menu:

Chorizo cornbread stuffed turkey
English peas (aka rich man peas*)
Mashed potatoes/pan dripping gravy
Yeast rolls
Orange/Cranberry sauce
Italian stuffed mushrooms

The recipe for the chorizo cornbread stuffing was one that started with a recipe I found online and over the years I have made it my own. The key is the chorizo. Never use chorizo bought at a chain grocery store...unless you're in Mexico! I go to an awesome little taqueria in a town close by and as a bonus I usually grab some of the best baked goods around. The other important thing I learned after sharing with my sister, is that chorizo is different. She lives in the NE and when she bought chorizo it was Portugese. The Portugese chorizo is more like a hard sausage instead of the wonderfully crumbly Mexican chorizo. Here's the recipe:

1.5 lbs chorizo (from a Mexican butcher remember, not Kroger or the like)
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots (adjust to your liking)
1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries (adjust to your liking)
1 medium yellow onion - chopped
2-3 stalks celery - chopped 
3 cloves of garlic, I use roasted garlic
2 loaves of cornbread (I use Martha White sweet cornbread)
Chicken broth as needed 

Cook the chorizo and drain all the excess fat. Set aside. 
Bake the cornbread and after cooling crumble it into a large bowl.
Cook the onion, celery, garlic, cranberries, and apricots in a skillet. When the onions become translucent pour this mixture over the cornbread. 
Fold the chorizo into the cornbread mixture. I use my hands to fully mix everything together. I have found that there is enough seasoning in the chorizo and do not need to add anything else. 
If the mixture is too dry add chicken broth as needed. 
Stuff the bird and cook it according to weight. Pit the rest of the stuffing into an oven safe dish. Cook the extra on 350 for about 30 mins. You may need to add a bit of broth post-cooking as you "fluff it" before serving. 
Simple as that!


This is during the assembly today. I try to do as much in advance as possible to make the actual,day just a bit easier.

The Orange/Cranberry sauce is also one that started from a recipe and through the years I have made it my own. It's super easy and very good. 

12 ounces of whole, fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar (my family doesn't like the sour but you can adjust to your tastes)
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup freshly squeezed Orange juice - seriously it is worth the extra but not required
Zest of one orange

Cook it all on medium heat until the cranberries start popping (and they will!) Lower the heat and reduce. I decided to put the sauce into some cute Mason jars which has given me the idea to possibly go a bit farmhouse chic on the table scape tomorrow. I will post pictures if I do. As for now I leave you with the cranberry sauce as I need to go clean a million or so pans! More recipes as the weeks go on, specifically the Italian stuffed mushrooms and a five minute fudge I also made today. 








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