Thanksgiving blogging, part III: recipe open thread

Historiann, hard at work in her kitchen

Good morning!  (I think it’s still morning in America, even in Nova Scotia.)  Yesterday, I made a pecan pie and a pumpkin pie, using recipes from the Joy of Cooking (1964 edition) and The L.L. Bean Book of New New England Cookery (1987), respectively.  I’ve been up cooking away in my kitchen, de-brining the turkey and preparing a mountain of dressing to be cooked alongside the turkey.  I found this extremely delicious traditional-style recipe for dressing last year, and I’m sticking with it, also from The L.L. Bean Book:

Sausage and Chestnut Stuffing (Dressing):

1 pound chestnuts

2 T butter

1 1/2 C chicken broth

2 T Madeira or sherry

1/2 pound country sausage (I use a full pound.  Hey–it’s a holiday!)

4 medium onions, chopped

2 1/2 C chopped celery

1 t dried thyme

1 t dried sage, crumbled (I use fresh, and more of it than is called for here.)

1/4 C chopped parsley

7 C torn bread crumbs, somewhat stale

salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

To prepare chestnuts:  Cut a cross in the chestnuts and put them in a saucepan with cold water to cover.  Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute.  Remove a few at a time and peel off both the outer and inner skin while they are still hot.  Braise the peeled chestnuts in a heavy saucepan with the butter, broth, and Madeira, and gently simmer 30-40 minutes until the liquid is absorbed.

Meanwhile, cook the sausage meat, breaking it up with a fork, until it has released its fat, about 8-10 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl, and pour off all but 1/4 cup of the fat.  Saute the onions and celery in the fat about 5 minutes, then add them to the bowl along with the seasonings, bread crumbs, and cooked chestnuts.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Makes about 10 cups

The chestnuts, as always, are a big hassle, but they make your whole house smell really great when they’re simmering away in Madeira, stock, and butter.  It will smell very festive, even if that’s all you’re contributing to Thanksgiving dinner!

Other participants in this recipe exchange include Notorious, Ph.D. and Clio Bluestocking, who have already posted their holiday recipes over at their places (butternut squash lasagna and holiday margaritas, respectively!)  Dr. Crazy has posted her sweet potato gratin recipe–please post the brussels sprouts recipe too!  And Roxie’s World has posted a delish sounding “Cranberry, Cherry, and Walnut Chutney,” so we’ve covered all of the major Thanksgiving food groups:  turkey and pies (in my previous posts this week), and now squash, dressing, potatoes, cranberries, and alcohol.  I’m copying a recipe that was pasted into another thread by Indyanna, and hope more of you will post your holiday favorites here later today, if you get a chance to go on-line.  (And please, if others of you have posted recipes on your blogs, send a trackback or leave a link in the comments below!)

And if you’re not cooking, check out this very cool website for school-aged children about the First Thanksgiving, sponsored by Plimoth Plantation, the excellent re-creation of the 1627 English village and Wampanoag homesite.  It has evolved into one of the best public history sites in the United States.  Happy
Thanksgiving, everybody!

See also Thanksgiving Blogging part I and part II for other dressing and pie recipes.

14 thoughts on “Thanksgiving blogging, part III: recipe open thread

  1. Well, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, I guess. I’m jumping the gun by 49 minutes on actually posting on Thanksgiving because I’m going over the river and thru the woods at first light. Since the river is the Sasquehanna, and the woods are Penn’s Woods, it figures to be a long drive, so I thought I’d turn in early. This was fun to make. We’ll see if it keeps for the whole day before it reaches the table. It’s copped from an internet site last month, with the notation that it was “adapted from”

    I hope everybody has a good Holiday and gets home safe.




    4 stalks organic celery, trimmed and cut in half crosswise
    2 Tbsps cider, pear, raspberry or other fruit vinegar
    2 Tbsps honey
    1/4 tsp salt
    2 ripe organic pears, preferably red Bartlett or Anjou, diced
    1 cup finely diced organic white cheddar cheese
    1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
    Freshly ground pepper to taste (Q.L.?)
    6 large leaves organic butterhead or other lettuce

    1. Soak celery in a bowl of ice water for 15 mins. Drain and pat dry. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    2. Whisk vinegar, honey, and salt in a large bowl until blended.
    3. Add pears; gently stir to coat. Add the celery, cheese and pecans; stir to combine. Season with pepper. Divide the lettuce leaves among 6 plates and top with a portion of salad. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

    NOTES: I skipped the organic part, except for leaving the pears unpeeled. I doubled down on the recipe, with a few exceptions. I used 2 large Bartlett and one medium-sized Anjou pear. The pecans can be slightly crushed with a rolling pin, then toasted in a thin coat of light oil in a skillet for a few minutes. For transport purposes, I did not divide the salad into portions, but put it in a large aluminum foil pan, covered with plastic. The nuts can be kept separately, esp. for food allergies purposes, and mixed in at the last minute. Not sure if this is a recipe to make the day ahead, but we’ll know in the morning. It was fun in any case.


  2. Historiann, the chestnuts in madeira sound gorgeous. I’ll see if I can get a flight in 🙂 Anyway, here’s my contribution to Thanksgiving.

    Three-P Soup (Peanut, Pumpkin & sweet Potato)
    From the Jane Brody Good Food Cookbook

    [This can be made several days in advance; can be frozen; can be a main course or a starter.]

    1 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes
    1 tbsp butter or margarine
    2 tbsp minced shallots or onion
    2 cups thick pumpkin puree, canned or homemade
    8 c. chicken or vegetable broth
    1 c. pure, unsalted smooth peanut butter (just peanuts on the ingredient label)
    2 tsp. coarse grained mustard
    1/2 tsp nutmeg
    Salt to taste
    Freshly ground white or black pepper to taste
    snipped fresh chives for garnish (optional)

    1. For the sweet potatoes: bake in a 350 oven for about 1 hour, until soft. Cool them, peel & process in a food mill or food processor. Measure out 2 c. of the sweet potatoes (use leftovers somewhere else)

    2. In a large, heavy pot, melt the butter or margarine over medium heat, add the shallots or onion, and saute the veg for 2 minutes.

    3. Add the processed potatoes and the pumpkin puree. Then alternately add the broth and the peanut butter, stirring after each addition until the soup is smooth. Over medium heat, bring the soup almost to a boil, stirring often. Reduce the heat, and simmer for about 25 minutes, stirring occassionally.

    4. Stir in the mustard, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Before serving, garnish with chives, if desired.


  3. I posted a link to this at part II, but since this appears to be the appropriate place, I’ll re-post the whole thing here.

    Butternut Squash “Lasagna”


    For squash filling

    1 large onion, chopped
    3 tablespoons unsalted butter
    3 lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    1 teaspoon minced garlic
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon white pepper
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
    4 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
    1 cup hazelnuts (4 oz), toasted , loose skins rubbed off with a kitchen towel, and coarsely chopped

    For sauce

    1 teaspoon minced garlic
    3 tablespoons unsalted butter
    5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    5 cups milk
    1 bay leaf
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon white pepper

    For assembling lasagna

    1/2 lb fresh mozzarella, coarsely grated (2 cups)
    1 cup grated Parmesan (3 oz)
    12 (7- by 3 1/2-inch) sheets no-boil lasagne (I like to use fresh pasta — store-bought, of course)


    Make filling:
    Cook onion in butter in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 10 minutes. Add squash, garlic, salt, and white pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until squash is just tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parsley, sage, and nuts. Cool filling.

    Make sauce while squash cooks:
    Cook garlic in butter in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring, 1 minute. Whisk in flour and cook roux, whisking, 3 minutes. Add milk in a stream, whisking. Add bay leaf and bring to a boil, whisking constantly, then reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, 10 minutes. Whisk in salt and white pepper and remove from heat. Discard bay leaf. (Cover surface of sauce with wax paper if not using immediately.)

    Assemble lasagne:
    Preheat oven to 425°F.

    Toss cheeses together. Spread 1/2 cup sauce in a buttered 13- by 9- by 2-inch glass baking dish (or other shallow 3-quart baking dish) and cover with 3 pasta sheets, leaving spaces between sheets. Spread with 2/3 cup sauce and one third of filling, then sprinkle with a heaping 1/2 cup cheese. Repeat layering 2 more times, beginning with pasta sheets and ending with cheese. Top with remaining 3 pasta sheets, remaining sauce, and remaining cheese.

    Tightly cover baking dish with buttered foil and bake lasagne in middle of oven 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake until golden and bubbling, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let lasagne stand 15 to 20 minutes before serving.


  4. Crap, I feel like a bad woman for not having a tasty recipe to offer up! I’m a vegetarian so I make quesadillas for Thanksgiving. Stuff a tortilla with cheese and some chunky salsa and microwave for 45 seconds. Serve with sour cream and guacamole. You’re welcome! :>) You can heat these on a grill if that seems more wholesome.

    Also serving spinach salad with bleu cheese crumbles, chopped pecans, sliced black olives, chopped hard boiled eggs, chopped tomatoes, and some soy “bacon” bits. Banana peppers can be nice too. Any dressing will work but I like balsamic vinegrette.

    For dessert I’m serving some frozen pie I bought from one of the neighborhood children for a fundraiser. I always support the fundraisers of the children who attend public school. Anyone need any gift wrap?


  5. Coiuld you post the pumpkin pie recipe from the LL Bean cookbook? My family loves this recipe but we are at my in-laws for Christmas and left the recipe at home. It would be a lifesaver!

    Thanks and Happy Holiday!


  6. Sure, Mike–here you go:

    Rum-Flavored Pumpkin Pie

    1-1/2 C pureed pumpkin
    1 C sugar
    1 T brown sugar
    1 C heavy cream or evap milk (I use the cream)
    3 eggs
    2 T rum
    1 t cinnamon
    1 t nutmeg
    1/2 t ginger
    1/2 t salt
    1/8 t ground cloves
    1/8 t ground allspice
    1 pie crust

    In a large bowl, mix the pumpkin with the sugars and the cream/milk. Beat well, adding one egg at a time, until the mixture is well blended. (Before adding the last egg, remove a little of the white and set aside.) Season the filling with the remaining ingredients. Line a 9-inch pie pan with the pastry and brush with the remaining egg white, then fill and bake at 450 for 10 minutes. Lower the heat to 300 degrees and bake about 45 minutes.

    (The instructions say to “bake…until firm,” but that leads to a pie that cracks as it cools. I remove the pie when the filling is still a touch jiggly in the middle, as it will continue cooking and set up nicely as it cools.)

    Slice, and serve with lightly sweetened REAL whipped cream. Enjoy!


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