Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What's for Dinner? Thanksgiving Sides

Can you believe Thanksgiving is next week? As thoughts turn to that approaching feast, I thought I’d offer a couple of options for Thanksgiving sides. Happy eating to you and yours!

Mom’s Stuffin Muffins
by Cathy Berthiaume

This is my mom’s specialty, and they are delightful because everyone knows the best part about stuffing is the crispy edges, and this way everyone gets the edges. This recipe is from her, word for word.

1 ½ cups chopped celery
¾ cup chopped onion
¾ cup butter (1 ½ sticks)
9 cups cubed bread (1 loaf regular sandwich bread makes 9 cups. Any type of  bread works, but a combination of Challah and Sourdough is delicious. Try to use slightly stale bread. If bread is too fresh cube overnight and let it sit out, and cook the next day.)
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 tbs poultry seasoning (taste after it’s all mixed and add more if there’s not enough)
Chicken broth (as much as you need, less than a can)
1 beaten egg

Cook the celery and onion in the butter till celery is tender. The smell will make you think you’ve died and gone to heaven.
Remove from heat and stir into bread cubes. Add the rest of the ingredients.

Add chicken broth till the dressing sticks together. Not soggy but will stick together when squeezed in your hand. 

Spray cooking oil into muffin tins, then place “balls” of stuffing in tins so there are little mounds on top (so muffins resemble cooked cupcakes). I just use my (clean) hands.

Bake at 350 or 375 for about half an hour. Just keep checking till the tops are golden brown but don’t burn them.

The kids will love mixing the bread cubes with the ingredients and mounding the dressing into the muffin tins.

I added the beaten egg and chicken broth to the recipe to make the muffins hold their shape well.

When I make this for Thanksgiving I triple the recipe. When I put in the poultry seasoning I mix well then taste. Using the right amount of this is crucial. Same with salt and pepper. You’ll be tempted to add too much salt but TASTE IT WELL before you do.

This is basically grandma’s bread stuffing recipe. Only grandma boiled the celery in water and used the celery water for binding instead of butter and no chicken broth. She put the onions in chopped and raw. OK this is healthier…whatever. I never told her what I did. Her bread stuffing recipe was sacred and not to be deviated from and I always told her I used her recipe…but she sure loved my dressing.

Broccolini Salad, Serves 4 - 6

I thought I’d give you a healthier option with this Broccolini Salad, a slightly fancy and very delicious way to eat this vibrant green vegetable. You could certainly substitute broccoli if needed. 

1 lb (16 oz) baby broccoli / broccolini, trimmed, and each stalk halved if you like
3 bunches scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 small serrano chile pepper, deveined, 
   seeded and minced (optional)
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
fine grain sea salt
3 big handfuls of big, rustic croutons
a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
1 cup (4 oz) sliced almonds, toasted
4 - 6 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, torn into big chunks

Fill a big pot with water and bring to a boil. Salt the water well and cook the broccolini briefly, about a minute, or long enough to take a bit of the snap out of the stalks. Drain, run under cold water to stop the cooking, and pat dry with a clean cloth. Set aside.

Combine the scallions, serrano pepper, olive oil, and a couple pinches of salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a sizzle, stirring all the while, and remove from heat. Stir in a squeeze of lemon juice.

To assemble the salad, just before serving, place the broccolini and croutons in a large serving bowl. Scoop about ½ of the green onions into the bowl, allowing most of the oil to drain off. Toss well and continue to add more green onions until everything is coated to your liking. Have a taste at this point to get a sense of whether you need to adjust the seasoning at all - with more salt or lemon juice. Add the almonds and toss, then one last (gentle) toss after adding the mozzarella.

Use the leftover oil (refrigerate) to cook eggs, drizzled over potatoes, drizzled into soup, etc.

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Au Pair Davinia said...

The stuffing muffins look amazing. What a great idea! Definitely going to try this. Thanks to your mum for the great idea and thanks to you for sharing this :)

SLO Classical Academy said...

I hope you and your family enjoyed them!