looking for: one must have & one new dish for thanksgiving

san_November 22, 2008

i was just reading barbara 48's question on the cooking forum, about what people are serving this thanksgiving--the list is impressive and really interesting/thought-inspiring! lots of wonderful things to consider there--almost overwhelming, actually. of course we have a "core menu" and often will try out 1 or 2 new dishes, just to see if there are changes that we should be looking at and i'm curious about what will make the grade at your house. could you please post 1 dish that your family MUST have or cause a revolt, and 1 dish that is either new for you and being trotted out for the first time, or, one that perhaps is a little out of the ordinary?

the new dish this year will be a fresh pumpkin pie, recipe courtesy of bubbe. maybe sort of standard to many of you but i don't bake and i've never grown and cooked pumpkin before. thanx to her, the filling has been cooked and pureed and seasoned and is sitting in the freezer, waiting for thursday. i'm really looking forward to trying it out!

a number of years ago, i tried a new way of seasoning a turkey and using the resultant drippings for the gravy. it got RAVE reviews on "epicurious" and i just thought it was greasy and not very tasty. i decided it was the turkey i didn't care for and tried the gravy recipe again (using plain roasted turkey drippings) a couple years later. i am REALLY looking forward to that carmelized onion and balsamic gravy again this year(recipe is linked below)!

and yes i know that taste is very subjective but for us, we've never found a stuffing recipe that we prefer to this:

Mom's turkey stuffing Âthe best!


3 or 4 ribs of chopped celery with

1 large chopped onion in a little olive oil

add a bit of salt and pepper

meanwhile, in a large bowl stir together:

2 C cooked instant rice

1# bulk pork sausage (raw)

2-3 C crouton stuffing mix

1 tsp poultry seasoning or sage

(you can also add in 1/2 C of chopped pecans or 1/2 C chopped cranberries)

Stir the sautéed celery and onions into the above and loosely spoon it into the turkey and cook the turkey as recommended. if using this as dressing, bake in a covered casserole dish at 325 for 1 hour--the addition of 1/2 a can of beer or a little chicken stock in the baking dish is good.

Here is a link that might be useful: carmelized onion and balsamic gravy

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I have to work but friends & I are splurging and going to the local Ritz-Carlton for dinner. However, this is the only cranberry sauce I want. Best I've ever had. I've posted it before:


1 firm ripe pear
juice from 1/2 lemon
3 Cups fresh cranberries (1 bag)
1 Cup sugar
2/3 Cup water
1/4 Cup crystallized ginger (NOT candied)
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Peel, quarter, core, chop the pear.

Place in saucepan with lemon juice, stir well.

Sort berries (rinse in a colander and toss out the lousy looking ones and any stems). Add to pear along with sugar, water, cinnamon, and ginger. Boil, reduce to simmer, cover partially and simmer gently till pear is tender and cranberries burst.
Cool, then refrigerate.~~Williams-Sonoma

    Bookmark   November 22, 2008 at 5:15PM
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I know I've posted this one here before but it's a family favorite & a "must have". We also have to make two cranberry dishes: cranberry/apple/orange relish and a cooked cranberry sauce. As they say, don't mess with tradition on Thanksgiving Day :) Ann

Sweet Potato Casserole

4 large sweet potatoes
½ cup granulated sugar
½ stick butter
1 Tbsp Half & Half (or more if it needs thinning)
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
Walnut or pecan halves
½ cup Brown sugar
1/3 bag Miniature Marshmallows

Boil, peel & mash sweet potatoes. Add butter, granulated sugar, Half & Half. Then add vanilla. Whip potato mixture in electric mixer until smooth. Pour into casserole dish; swirl in brown sugar and about 1/3 bag of miniature marshmallows. Top with walnut or pecan halves.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. (Recipe can be made ahead and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before baking.)

Note: I have also added the miniature marshmallows towards the end of the baking time so that theyÂre partially intact/melted

    Bookmark   November 22, 2008 at 10:51PM
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Hi San! I know its getting down to the wire, but I haven't figured out my menu yet (except for the turkey, gravy and stuffing) so I don't know what new thing I might add this year but attached is my #1 must have. And I am not kidding, there are 3 people who will revolt if it is not on the table (and often more, but they're not coming this year).

Ever since I first made Marilyn's stuffing, it has been a big favorite and I haven't made any other stuffing since and everyone in the family loves it (even my mother whose old recipe/method is what I formerly followed and made) so this is my second must have. Sorry I don't have a new recipe that I intend to try but maybe by tomorrow I will, but honestly, we keep it simple - plain veggies orGardenlad's green beans with poppy seed dressing and mashed potatoes and mashed sweet potatoes, nothing new or exciting, just good food!

Bread and Sausage Stuffing (Marilyn)

2 pounds white bread
2 pounds pork sausage
6 stalks celery; chopped
2 onions; chopped
1 cup butter
2 teaspoons dried sage
1 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic; minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
4 eggs
6 cups chicken stock

Cut bread into cubes and lay out to dry. In a large skillet, cook sausage until well browned; place in a large mixing bowl along with drippings. Cook onions and celery in butter until tender but not brown. Add all ingredients to the large bowl along with the sausage. Stir together well and pour into a greased 9X13X2-inch baking dish and bake at 350° for 30 to 45 minutes until puffed and golden but not too dry.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   November 23, 2008 at 6:24PM
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I, too, have added Marilyn's bread and sausage stuffing to my "must have" list. I made it for the first time last year when we were in the Netherlands. It makes plenty of stuffing. I turned leftovers into stuffin' muffins, baked them and froze them. They were so great.

I usually try a new cranberry recipe each year, and this is the one I'm making for the first time. I already posted it on the cranberry sauce thread, but here it is again:

Garlicky Cranberry Chutney

NPR's Susan Stamberg calls this recipe "my truly favorite cranberry side dish." It's from Madhur Jaffrey's cookbook East/West Menus for Family and Friends (Harper & Row, 1987).

1-inch piece fresh ginger
3 cloves finely chopped garlic
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons sugar
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1-pound can cranberry sauce with berries
1/2 teaspoon salt (or less)
ground black pepper

Cut ginger into paperthin slices, stack them together and cut into really thin slivers.

Combine ginger, garlic, vinegar, sugar and cayenne in a small pot. Bring to a simmer, simmer on medium flame about 15 minutes or until there are about four tablespoons of liquid left.

Add can of cranberry sauce, salt and pepper. Mix and bring to a simmer. Lumps are ok. Simmer on a gentle heat for about 10 minutes.

Cool, store and refrigerate. ("It will keep for several days, if you don't finish it all after first taste!")


    Bookmark   November 24, 2008 at 12:07AM
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I'm going to try your favorite must have recipes. I'm particularly interested in Marilyn's stuffing.
My husband and I will have Thanksgiving alone and are blessed to be together again this year. We usually do a traditional, all-out Thanksgiving dinner, even when there is only the two of us. This year, I feel there is too much sadness, fear and uncertainty for so many people and their families to invest in and consume a huge, unnecessary and decadent dinner. Instead, my husband and I will have some comfort foods, snacks and appetizers, ham and mac and cheese, kept warm, while we enjoy each others company. We will enjoy a glass of wine (or two) and watch the football games. We'll use our best china and crystal, as usual -- with our feet up and be thankful for all that we have been blessed with and hope the best for the future. (Looking forward to that pumpkin pie, too).

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 11:47PM
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Hi san! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your wonderful DH! We don't do too much different although I always think I will.

The one dish that is a must at our home for Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas, which are basically the same meal except we usually throw a ham in at Easter and I may or may not include ham T-Day and Christmas depending on numbers. Anyhow I digress....

Other than the bird, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, the "must haves" are my cheater baked beans and my dill pickles.

Baked Beans

1 Can kidney beans drained
1 Can lima beans drained
2 Can Brown Beans
1 1/2 Cup of chili sauce
2 Tblbrown sugar
1 Tbl Dijon mustard
1 Tbl Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbl molasses
3 Slice bacon cut in half

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a medium baking dish, mix kidney beans,lima beans, brown beanas, chili sauce, brown sugar, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce and molasses. Top with bacon. Bake 1 hour in the preheated oven, until thick and bubbly.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2008 at 12:07PM
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ever since making cranberry jezabel a few years ago, i decided that i actually liked cranberry sauce! not a doubt in my mind that i need to do a test run on that ginger/pear recipe! and what's even more clear is that i am just going to have to try out marilyn's version of stuffing! and you are right, ann--you don't mess with family favorites on thanksgiving and i know that ted's sister would just love that sweet potato recipe of yours and i'm going to make sure she gets it--thank you!

and thanx for the "cheater baked beans" chase. i've made annie's several time and i'm sure we'd enjoy your version as well--we both are fans of limas! and of COURSE your family must have those beautiful dills of yours! it just wouldn't be right, otherwise...i'm glad you and elery will be able to share the time together annie, and raise a toast to all that have gone before us. sometimes traditions change long before we are ready for them to do so...

i was going to try out one other new dish this year--an apple and cranberry sauce. it smelled so good while it was cooking that i even toyed with the idea of making some little pastry cups and adding in a teaspoon or two of the leftover sauce for later on. well--back to the drawing board. there wasn't room for everything in the fridge and it's been quite cold out so i put the covered sauce pan out on the deck and sort of forgot about it. we had just finished mixing the stuffing last night and time to rearrange things, and i remembered my sauce! so i went out to get it. man, that saucepan was HEAVY! well you boob. we'd had a driving rain the night before and that lid just couln't compete with the wind--my cranberry sauce is now soup! ladle anyone? anyway, a clink of my coffee cup to all--hope you have a wonderful and peaceful day regardless of what is or isn't on the menu this year!

    Bookmark   November 27, 2008 at 8:53AM
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Ginger, I am going to try your cranberries for Christmas.
Had meant to do it before now but now have the crystallized ginger so am good to go.
Think I will do the Brussels Sprouts with brown butter for a veggie today.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2008 at 10:17AM
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LOL woodie!! Your must have is one of our must haves! It's the only kind of cranberries my kids and grandkids will eat!

    Bookmark   November 27, 2008 at 11:02AM
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Ginger, your ginger-pear cranberry sauce is WONDERFUL! I can't wait to try it coupled on my fork with the turkey & stuffing.

Thank you, this recipe is a keeper!

    Bookmark   November 27, 2008 at 11:28AM
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Blizlady, when daughter-in-law was asked (at the last second cause I forgot) to get the cran sauce out of the fridge and take care of opening it and putting it on the serving plate, she gave me a high five and squealed "yay, I hate all that other fancy whole berry stuff or those homemade cran sauces with all the other goop in them :)

    Bookmark   November 28, 2008 at 5:46PM
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