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