I’ve never been a big fan of dressing or stuffing. It was generally one of those things that I thought just took up space on my Thanksgiving plate. However, I’ve had a change of heart. I understand now. It is really a device to eat gravy.
I found this dressing recipe this year and just loved it. It was originally an Emeril Lagasse recipe, but I made some changes and the recipe listed below is my version. Eating a bowl of dressing with gravy for dinner the other night was one of my favorite Thankgiving leftover experiences so far. (Though the turkey sandwich on the rosemary dinner roll with mayonaise was really, really, really good too.)
This dressing was easy and made an excellent staple in the meal.
Buttermilk Cornbread Dressing
1/2 pound bacon, chopped
2 andouille sausages, cut in half lengthwise and then sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1 chopped yellow onion
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
5 large eggs
3 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons Maple syrup
Dash of Tabasco Hot Sauce
Dash of Worcestershire Sauce
2 teaspoons salt
4 cups crumbled leftover cornbread
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 2 quart glass rectangular pan with the butter. In a large saute pan, render the bacon until crispy, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the sausage and onions and saute for 4 minutes, or until soft. Season the onions with pepper. Add the garlic and remove from the heat. In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk and syrup together. Add the bacon mixture and stir well. Season the mixture with the hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Add the cornbread, salt and cheese. Mix well. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake until the pudding is golden brown and bubbly, about 55 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes before serving.
For the turkey gravy, I adapted a recipe I found from Tyler Florence. Since we were frying a turkey, I wasn’t going to have any pan drippings, so I improvised on the original recipe and came up with something awesome. This was a really easy and absolutely delicious gravy. I will be making it again. I want to eat it on everything. Below is the recipe I created.
Simple Turkey Gravy
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 large turkey thigh, uncooked
1/2 medium onion, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
2 to 3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 bunch fresh sage
1/2 bunch fresh thyme
8 black peppercorns
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400.
Choose a medium pan that can work on both the stovetop and in the oven.
Cut the turkey thigh in two and place it in the pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, rosemary, and celery salt. Add onion, garlic, and carrot and toss everything together.
Roast in the oven for 30 minutes. This will really pull together the flavors.
Remove from the oven and place on the stovetop on medium heat.
Add one cup of the chicken broth, scraping the brown bits off the bottom. Then add the rest of the broth, the sage and thyme and bring to a boil, skimming any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Strain out and discard the solids and set aside the stock in another container.
Add the butter to the original pan and cook until melted. Add the flour to the pan and, using a whisk, stir constantly to incorporate the fat and flour. Once you have a consistent paste add the warm stock in a steady stream while you stir to work out any lumps. Cook until the gravy has thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper and serve.
And now for the last dish I’m going to post about from this Thanksgiving, cranberry sauce. Much like dressing, cranberry sauce was never something I really understood the purpose of. I think it is something that I just needed to grow into. It is so tangy and tart and a slightly disturbing color on my plate that I think I was confused by it as a child. But now I get it. In the midst of all of the carbs, cheese, and richness on a Thanksgiving plate, it gives some brightness and tang. It tries to balance the scales a bit on your palatte.
This cranberry sauce came from Emeril Lagasse and I made it just how it said to and it was tangy, sweet, and delicious, with just a tang of orange. It was super easy and a definite keeper. And beautiful!
2 cups cranberries
Juice and chopped zest of 1 orange
1/4 cup Port
1/2 cup sugar, or more if needed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon cornstarch
In a small saucepan combine cranberries, orange juice and zest, port, sugar and cinnamon.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmering and cook until cranberries are tender, stirring occasionally. In a small cup make a slurry with cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water. Whisk cornstarch mixture into cranberry sauce and cook, whisking, until sauce thickens. Taste and add more sugar, if necessary.