Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Dowds Give Thanks

After all the shopping (about ten trips to about 5 stores), the preparing ( about 6 hours even before I put the turkey in the oven), the cleaning, and the planning, Thanksgiving is finally here. This is the time I really wish there was such a thing as smell-o-vision because then you could smell the roast turkey and stuffing that is permeating my entire house. I spoke in my last post about Thanksgiving menu so here is ours:

Roast Turkey (brined and cooked a la Alton Brown's Romancing the Bird)
Virginia Dowd's Sausage Stuffing
Mashed Potatoes (in all their carbohydrate laden glory) and Gravy
Traditional Green Bean Casserole
Sheila's Corn Pudding
No-Knead Light Rolls (from a very old copy of the Joy of Cooking)
Homemade (for me) and Canned(for my husband) cranberry sauce
Pumpkin Bourbon Pie (I use this recipe but add 1/2 tsp extra pumpkin pie spice, 3 tablespoons good bourbon, and my secret ingredient- a couple of shakes, to taste, of chipotle chili powder)
Pecan Pie
Libby's Pumpkin Roll

Virginia Dowd's Sausage Stuffing

This recipe was handed down from my mother-in-law, and is a treasured family recipe. So now I guess you are part of the family, too.

1 pound pork sausage
1 stick butter
4 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped celery
2-4 tbsp chopped parsley
3-4 cups chicken stock (I take the turkey neck, gizzard,onion, celery and carrots and begin boiling stock for the stuffing and gravy, but you could use boxed or canned if you'd rather)
1 bag of herb seasoned stuffing
2 eggs, beaten
Poultry seasoning
Ground sage
Salt (start with 2 teaspoons and add till it tastes right)
Pepper to taste
Giblets from turkey (liver and heart) - If you don't like giblets don't use them but you miss an extra layer of flavor in your stuffing.
2 heels of white bread

Melt butter in pan and begin browning sausage, breaking up as you work. Add onions and celery and giblets and saute slowly until vegetables are translucent, giblets are browned and all pink is gone from sausage. Put stuffing mix in a large bowl. Pour sauteed veggies and meat in bowl with stuffing mix and stir together. Add two cups of stock and stir, then add beaten eggs. Add salt, pepper,and other seasonings. I start with a teaspoon each of poultry seasoning and sage (but I really love sage!). Add chopped parsley. Add more stock until stuffing is moist but not soggy. Adjust seasonings to taste (make sure to use a clean fork each time you (or anyone else) tastes). I stuff my stuffing into the bird and cover the large cavity with two white bread heels (Once the turkey is done, this "turkey bread" is a prized morsel in our house!) Follow Alton Brown's instructions for cooking the turkey - it works for me!

Sheila's Corn Pudding

This recipe is a slight revision of one of two fabulous recipes(I'll provide the other in a future post!) I got from Sheila who used to work with me at Jefferson Lab, a nuclear physics lab, with an international workforce. It was published in our Recipes of Jefferson Lab cookbook, and is now part of our Thanksgiving. It is so sweet, it could almost be a dessert and is great as a side with barbecued pork too.

1 can creamed corn
1 pint heavy cream
2 cups defrosted frozen corn or fresh corn kernels(I love lots of corn in mine)
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 stick butter cut into pats
fresh or grated nutmeg

Grease a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish. In a bowl mix creamed corn, beaten eggs, sugar, corn kernels, and vanilla. Dissolve cornstarch in heavy cream and mix into other ingredients. Grate fresh nutmeg on the top and put pats of butter on the top. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 45-60 minute until center is set and stir at least twice during baking for a smoother result.

It's all over now except the clean up (at least two dishwashers full!). The turkey stock is simmering on the stove, with that fabulous turkey smell spreading throughout the house. One by one the kids have left for the evening, and I have a minute to stop and take a long, deep breath (and get off my feet for the first time today!) I miss the noise, the back and forth banter at the dinner table, the funny (and in some cases, embarrassing) stories the kids exchanged at the evening table, the laughter, the love. And I am truly thankful.

1 comment:

Mr.Darr said...

WOW, I got hungry just reading the menu. That new range is going to get a workout.