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Thanksgiving Memories of Not So Long Ago

Thanksgiving week is here. The planning is complete and implementation is about to begin. In recent years we have had a blended family Thanksgiving. Along with family, recipes get blended as well. I have been in charge of stuffing/dressing and gravy. Since both of these are near and dear to my heart, it’s an assignment that I welcome every year. I shared the whole process several years ago and the time seemed right to revisit the experience before I relive it this Thanksgiving.

Stuffing or in this case dressing, as it will not see the inside of a turkey, is many folks’ favorite part of the dinner. It certainly is mine. I make a dressing that has evolved over the years to become an homage to my time in California and my Italian heritage. I gave it the rather silly name of Mama D’s Cali-Itali Stuffing. This is a seriously hearty stuffing filled with Italian sausage and artichoke hearts. The bread is sourdough, next to rice-a-roni, the San Francisco Starch of choice. Artichoke hearts add flavor and as the recipe has evolved, I now use frozen (Trader Joe’s are the best) instead of canned. It also now gets baked in a bundt pan, because who doesn’t want a nice slice of stuffing.

Mama D's Cali-Itali Stuffing
Use this for your holiday dinner. Make it your own by adjusting the flavors to your family's taste.
    • 8Cups Sour Dough Bread CubesToasted
    • 1-1/2Pounds Bulk Italian SausagePork or Turkey
    • 2Cups OnionfFnely chopped
    • 6Cloves GarlicMinced
    • 6Ounces Baby SpinachStemmed and sliced
    • 1Can Artichoke HeartsDrained and chopped
    • 1/3Cup Olive OilDivided
    • 1/3Cup ParsleyChopped
    • 1-2Tsp. Italian SeasoningMrs. Dash or your favorite
    • 1Tsp. Red Pepper FlakesOptional
    • 1Tsp. Fennel SeedsOptional
    • 1Cup Asiago or Romano CheeseFinely grated
    • 2 EggsBeaten
    • 1Cup Chicken Stock/BrothMore or less as needed
    • 1/4Cup ButterMelted
    1. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Crumble the sausage into the pan and cook until it is well browned. Turn and break apart as needed.
    2. Remove the sausage from the pan and drain on a paper towel. Pour off most of the drippings. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and add the onions and garlic. Saute stirring frequently until the onion is golden and the garlic is fragrant, 5-7 minutes.
    3. Add the artichokes and spinach to the pan and continue to cook for another 3 - 5 minutes. The artichokes should have a little color and the spinach should be wilted.
    4. In a large bowl, combine the toasted bread cubes, sausage, and the vegetables from the pan (include all the drippings, too). Toss to combine.
    5. Add the seasonings that you are using along with the cheese and toss again to combine.
    6. Pour in the eggs and blend well. Add the chicken stock. Use enough so that the stuffing is very moist, but not mushy. Taste and make any necessary adjustments to the seasonings. Add a little salt if you think it needs it.
    7. Grease a large rectangular baking dish. Add the stuffing and smooth out evenly. Do not pack it down. Cover with foil and bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 35 - 40 minutes.
    8. Combine the remaining olive oil and the melted butter. Remove the stuffing from the oven. Take off the foil and drizzle the butter/olive oil mixture over the top. Return to the oven for another 15 - 20 minutes until the top of the stuffing is golden brown.
    9. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

    Every Thanksgiving table needs a boat of gravy. Since in our blended Thanksgiving someone else is making the turkey, I had to come up with a recipe that would be rich and tasty without the benefit if turkey drippings. This Garlic and Wine Gravy fills the bill. It is flavorful but has a lightness about it that makes it feel slightly less a guilty pleasure.

    Garlic and Wine Turkey Gravy
    • CourseMain Course
    • 4Cloves GarlicFinely chopped
    • 1Small ShallotFinely chopped
    • 1Tblsp. Olive Oil
    • 1Cup Dry White WineI used Chardonnay, but use what you like
    • 1Tblsp. Fresh Thyme Leaves
    • 1Tsp. Chopped Fresh RosemaryUse any herb that you like
    • 2Tblsp. Butter
    • 2Tblsp. All pourpose flour
    • 4Cups Turkey StockHomemade if you can
    • 1Tsp. Italian Herb BlendI used McCormick Grinder
    • Salt & PepperTo taste

    This post first appeared on Mama D's Kitchen Of Love | Follow My Adventures As, please read the originial post: here

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    Thanksgiving Memories of Not So Long Ago


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