Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Chorizo & Cornbread Stuffing

I love Holidays, especially those that are geared towards eating and celebrating our gratitude! This Thanksgiving we have a lot to be thankful for. We are pleased to announce the arrival of the newest member of the family- our 2 week old, bright eyed daughter, Mavis Amellia! Girl power rocks our house as my eldest daughter prepares to teach Mavis all of her tricks, um... I mean skills. I am so thankful for my family! Without them, I wouldn't be where I am today, and I am in a really good place!

As much as I love to cook the entire Thanksgiving meal (the turkey, the sides, the pies- oh my!!), you should know that usually Thanksgiving is a collaboration of efforts. It's a gathering of skills, and my families best recipes, compiled into a magnificent feast. It's the greatest thing ever! We've got Mom's cranberry relish, Addie's famous drop biscuits, Jeremy's dreamy green bean hot dish, Geri's legendary dressing, and HAM from one of our trophy pigs. Ok, our pigs were not actually judged by anyone but myself, and I think they are trophy winners. And yes I said HAM! Maple and spiced glazed to be exact. But if you want some turkey pointers, here's a few:

~Brine the bird. Unless you don't have the refrigerator space to do so. The bird does best sitting in the brine overnight, and that needs to happen in the fridge. You can make your brine as complex as you'd like, but a simple ratio to start with is 1 gallon of water with one cup of salt and one cup of sugar dissolved into it.

~Food & Wine magazine highlights Alex Pope and his Kansas City store called The Local Pig. There Alex tells of his favorite way to roast a turkey; with pepperoni tucked underneath the skin. I think this is a marvelous idea!!

~Roast the turkey, breast side down, for the first hour of roasting time. This has the juices flowing into the breast, adding extra moisture to those sometimes dry turkey breasts.

I have been over thinking my side dish choices, and maybe it's because the center stage will be pork, but also because I just can't choose! There are too many delicious things to be eaten in one day!! How much can I cram into one meal! Uff-da!! I know for certain that I will be making stuffing. One cannot go through Thanksgiving without stuffing! It's mandatory! So this year it will be cornbread stuffing with spicy chorizo! I have to admit, that I can't commit to making the same stuffing recipe each year. There are just too many flavor varieties that need to be created. This year I'm combining the sweet and toasty corn flavor of cornbread with spicy chorizo. Delicious!! If you'd like more side dish ideas, I have a slew scattered in my past blog posts. May I suggest these posts:

~Mom's Cranberry Relish, ~Eat your way thru Thanksgiving, ~Chorizo & Sweet Potato Hash, ~Turkey & Kale & Wild Rice Soup, ~Root Vegetable & Turkey Stew, and ~Pumpkin Pie.


Olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 ribs celery, diced
1 pound spicy sausage (I used chorizo), casing removed, broken into bite sized pieces
3 cloves garlic
10 sage leaves, finely chopped
3 sprigs rosemary, leaves finely chopped
5 cups stale sourdough bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
5 cups stale cornbread, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 cups dried cranberries- optional
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup cream

Preheat the oven to 350.

Coat a large sauté pan with olive oil, add the onions and celery and sauté over medium heat. Season with salt and cook until the veggies start to become translucent and aromatic. Add the sausage and cook until the sausage begins to brown. Stir in the garlic and sauté another 1 to 2 minutes. Add the herbs and cook for another minute, then remove form the heat.

In a large bowl mix together the cornbread, sourdough bread, cranberries, and the sausage mixture. Add the chicken stock and the cream and mix together with your hands until the breads are very moist. Taste to check for seasonings and season with salt if needed before transferring to an oven proof dish.

Bake the stuffing until it is hot all the way through and is crusty on the top, about 30 to 35 minutes. I like a lot of crust on the top, so I lean towards 35 to 40 minutes in the oven. STUFFING GOODNESS!! Belly up!!