Get to gettin!
Special to AmNews | , Kysha Harris | 10/12/2012, 4:25 p.m.
Thanksgiving is right around the corner--in fact, one week from today! There is tons to do, cook and see that I must tell you about, so here is the overview: recipes and tips, food can sculptures and...white truffles!
First things first: the bird! Thank you to all my readers that have e-mailed and stopped by the Amsterdam News offices (I have heard the stories) to get the turkey recipe from years past. Brining the bird in water, wine, salt, sugar and aromatics is a great way to get tender and flavorful meat. The wine and butter basting liquid ain't half bad either!
If you are in a pinch, I found a great comprehensive turkey primer on www.epicurious.com. It has everything from shopping tips to carving your turkey. You can still e-mail or instant message me with your questions.
TO MAKE: What is Thanksgiving without stuffing? I caught wind of a recipe that I must try this year that uses dried figs. There is something lovely to me about figs in all forms--fresh or dried, paste or chutney. It is a tempered sweetness that enhances everything, even your basic stuffing.
TURKEY STUFFING WITH FIGS
3/4 cup large, diced dried figs, stems removed
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup apple cider
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups diced onions (2 onions)
1 cup (1/2-inch-diced) celery (3 stalks)
3/4 mixed pound of sweet and hot pork (can substitute turkey) sausage, casings removed
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted (optional or chopped walnuts or pecans)
3 cups herb-seasoned stuffing mix
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 extra large egg, beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place the dried figs, cranberries and cider in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and celery, and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage, crumbling it into small bits with a fork, and saute, stirring frequently for 10 minutes until cooked and browned. Add the figs and cranberries with the liquid, chopped sage and nuts (if using), and cook for 2 more minutes. Make sure to scrape up the brown bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
Place the stuffing mix in a large bowl. Add the sausage mixture, chicken stock, egg, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and stir well.
SCHOP! Tip: You can loosely stuff your bird with the cooled mixture, but I prefer to stuff the cavity with lemon, onions, garlic and herbs, and cook the stuffing outside of the bird.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter a baking dish, add stuffing mixture and bake for 45 minutes.
TO DO: This past weekend, on that glorious Saturday, I rode my bike down to the World Financial Center Winter Garden to check out a temporary exhibit called "CANstruction." Over 100,000 cans of food were assembled into fanciful, mind-boggling sculptures by architects and design companies of New York.