Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thanksgiving Test Kitchen, Take 1

Thanksgiving is almost upon us! We can hardly wait! As creative types, planning a meal and putting together new recipes is something that gives both of us great satisfaction. When November's Real Simple arrived, I squealed in delight (not really, but it sounds like something I should have done, right?) at the 20+ pages of Turkey-Day ideas. There are literally 10 different stuffing recipes!! How do we choose?! Well, we make each and every single one of them (feel free to join us), and go from there. If we have 4 different stuffings on the table November 25th, so be it.
First up, Fennel and Apricot Stuffing. Real Simple provided a simple basic recipe, with ten little tasty addendums. Each recipe serves 8, but for testing purposes, we halved it. If anyone wants to visit in the next week or so, we will gladly prepare the whole thing.

Cut up 1 loaf of italian bread into bite-sized chunks. Bake on a cookie sheet (or 2) at 375 about 10 minutes, or until dry and crunchy.

Butter a 9x13 baking dish and set aside.

Melt 6T butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 2 medium chopped onions and 1 bulb chopped fennel. Cook until golden and tender, about 10 minutes with a little salt and pepper.

Then add 1/2c dry white wine, cook down, about 2-4 minutes.

Transfer to a large bowl and set aside to cool.

Then add: bread, 2 1/2c chicken stock, 2 beaten eggs, 1 1/2c quartered dried apricot, 1/4 roughly chopped fennel fronds, s+p.

Mix, transfer to baking dish, cover with buttered foil and bake for 20 minutes. Then remove foil and bake until brown, another 20-30 minutes more.

While our stuffing is baking, can I just say...
Why don't people always make homemade stuffing?!!?!? How does Stouffer's sell a single box of that bland, generic crap?! That took all of 20 minutes and our kitchen smells like HEAVENNNNN! We're already talking about all the different combinations for our own stuffing recipes. I think we're going to run out of time before we can try out all of these recipes!

Oh yeah, and we just realized that we haven't been giving you music and drink recommendations to go along with each post. We always have them. Look for those at the bottom from now on.

Still baking...

While we wait we decided to get a jump on planning the rest of our Thanksgiving menu. We are pouring over our cookbooks in search of the perfect components. We made a simple and delicious cranberry sauce/compote last year involving fresh cranberries and oranges with a little sugar. We may do it again this year. It won Mandi over and she's not particular to cranberry sauce. We are thinking something fairly basic for the turkey and going all out on the fixins.

Ok, it's done and we've eaten it. It's delicious. All of the flavors work together really well and none over power each other. Success!

Final product. We wish you could smell it!!
What about you? Any favorite stuffing ingredients? What are your "it isn't Thanksgiving without this side" sides?

*this post is brought to you by Hoegaarden Belgian White and Taylor Swift and Tracy Chapman.


  1. For Thanksgiving I want cornbread dressing and, in a perfect world, Nanny's cheese grits. My standards are pretty high for turkey because Dad smoked ours every year. Last Thanksgiving Phil absolutely and perfectly recreated that smoked turkey. It was magical.

  2. Yummy! I want to try this recipe! I love apricots! Every Thanksgiving I make a cornbread stuffing with green apple and sage sausage. It is pretty incredible and no one can get enough!!!

  3. I just saw that recipe in my issue last night and it looked delicious! (p.s.I love your baking dish) I'm so glad it was a success because it sounded yummy. Can't wait to see how you like the others they suggest. I'm just so glad you're having company this year, that will make it extra special to be together!!

  4. Nicole... we were talking about making stuffing with apples, your recipe sounds really good!

    Mom... I love those dishes. It's nice that they come in odd sizes, for fractioning recipes.

    Kelli & Phil... in addition to a Thanksgiving menu, we should come up with a San Diego menu. SO excited to come see you guys!!