The last few days there have been many debates on what is more important, the “turkey” or the sides dishes. Well that is like asking, which came first, the turkey or the egg (hey, turkey works for this joke)! It is like asking which wing of the bird is more important, the left wing or the right wing (we’re not talking politics, either You see, both are important, both compliment each other. Both wings of the bird are important or the bird would just fly around in circles.
In the case of our dinner, both the sides and the turkey are very important parts of the dinner. Now for many vegetarians, the “sides” are the dinner, yes, in that case it is true. Otherwise every part of the dinner is vital. Today, we are going to do some left sides and some right sides, in order to compliment our holiday feast and keep our table balanced. On the left, we have some of my “smashed potatoes”, which we covered in this past article, where you will actually find a plethora of potato suggestions and tips. Then you have your stuffing. Now besides the endless varieties of bread styles that you can use, there is also the question: wet stuffing vs dry stuffing. In our household, there are no debates, we just make both. Wet style is usually made from “stuffing the turkey”, so that the juices from the turkey go into the stuffing. Then the same stuffing can be put into a oven proof baking dish and you bake the stuffing. You can also add another cup or two of broth into the stuffing and bake it in a oven proof dish, too.
Now the next question is do you use the gizzards or not. Well, in New Orleans you would just call that “dirty stuffing”, similar to “dirty rice”. One cannot deny, that gizzards add moisture and another dimension of flavors to the stuffing. If you want to be totally user friendly, do not use the gizzards and use vegetable broth instead of turkey or chicken broth, so that the vegetarians will not be left out. There are many breads styles available for stuffing. Some people prefer cornbread, where others like white breads. For several weeks prior any bread scraps that are around the house become croutons for the stuffing. Keep a container around and cut up the pieces first, so they don’t turn to crumbs later. With this short of time before Thanksgiving, go to the day old sections of your local bakery or grocer and buy several bags of different types of bread and make the crouton by cutting the bread up and placing it in a slow oven, about 200 degrees, for a couple of hours. Let cool and then place in a Ziploc bag. You now have your base for your stuffing. Of course, you can always buy bags of stuffing at the grocer, if you are time limited.
O.K. here is the rest of the recipe for your stuffing .
Thanksgiving day stuffing recipe
1 to 2 pounds of bread cubes ( read above)
1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped
2 to 4 stalks of celery, cut in half, long ways, and sliced very thin
1/4 cup – MJM’s peach glaze mixture (see recipe below)
* Glaze recipe:
1 – stick unsalted butter
1 – jar peach preserves
several garlic cloves, chopped fine
1 to 2 Tablespoons – Jamaican Jerk Seasoning or to taste
1 to 2 Tablespoons – Cajun seasoning or to taste
Fresh rosemary – optional
Take all the above ingredients and melt in a sauce pan. Reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes or so. Let cool and now you have the peach glaze. Tip: make double the recipe, so you have it handy when it is time to make the turkey!
3 – Tablespoons butter Salt and pepper to taste (about 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon or so of pepper)
1 to 2 cups of broth (chicken, turkey or vegetable or combo of all)
1 teaspoon – poultry seasoning – optional
1 teaspoon – Sage – optional
1/2 bunch of parsley, finely chopped – optional
1 cup dried cranberries – optional
Sauté the onion, celery and butter over medium heat until thoroughly cooked through, about 5 minutes or so. Add the peach glaze and let melt into the onion mixture. Add this to the broth in a pot and bring to a simmer, along with the other seasonings / ingredients. Slowly pour this over the bread croutons in another bowl until the desired wetness. Let sit covered for about 5 minutes, fluff and add more liquid if necessary.
At this point reserve to stuff turkey and put the rest in a buttered baking dish. Cover and refrigerate until service time, at that point cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, uncover the last several minutes. That should get you started and in the next article we will do some cranberry sauce from scratch, some sweet potato’s or yam’s and who knows what else. Hey, don’t you feel “stuffed” right now!?
You better go out and enjoy the day. Go for a walk, take a bike ride, play with the dog outside! All of these things cost you nothing but the benefits are endless. Take some time to help your neighbor, your friends, your family. Heck, take some time for YOURSELF! No matter what, take some time to be “thankful” for all of your blessings, no matter how many or few you think you have, just to be alive is enough to be thankful for! Thank you my friends for tuning in. Wishing you a safe, prosperous and great day ahead. Until next recipe… create a great holiday season one moment at a time! Peace
Never let the odds keep you from doing what you know in your heart you were meant to do. H. Jackson Brown Jr.