Lemon Thyme & Ginger

Sliding into Spring Succotash

Simply Succotash, a recipe.

I feel like I am jumping the gun today by writing a post and recipe for succotash. It is March, almost April, and without a doubt corn and baby lima beans are summer vegetables. Yet, I have delicious memories enjoying succotash with my Easter dinner. This vegetable dish is one I could eat in any season in a year. Fortunately, good quality frozen vegetables are available making it possible to eat this light but hearty side dish whenever I please. I happen to love succotash, especially paired with ham.

Simply Succotash, a recipe.

My first introduction to succotash was after getting married and living in New York. Succotash was a regular vegetable dish at my in-laws Thanksgiving and Easter dinners. I clearly remember how my sister-in-law made it with corn, lima beans, green bell pepper and plenty of fresh ground black pepper. Green beans are sneaking into my memory recipe as well but not as clearly as the other ingredients. It was love at first bite. When I went for seconds, I usually came back with another helping of succotash.

There is just something about succotash that sings to me. Maybe because this meal has a simple nature implying ease and comfort. Or, because each vegetable compliments the other for a harmonious vegetable medley. The flavors taste fresh, sweet and light, even when made with frozen vegetables.

Also, what’s not to love about saying “Succotash” with its fun and jazzy rhythm. As it happens, Herbie Hancock believes succotash has a jazzy rhythm as well and wrote a song titled, “Succotash” on his Inventions and Dimensions album.

History of Succotash

Succotash dates back to New England Native Americans from the word, msíckquatash, meaning boiled cut corn kernels. Back in the 17th century succotash mostly consisted of corn and native beans like cranberry beans. The English settlers soon adopted this hearty and nutritious stew and made it throughout the year from dried corn and beans.

Succotash grew in popularity throughout the US during the great depression and other eras of economic hardship. The ingredients were readily available and inexpensive and made a meal with a lot of sustenance. Over time, succotash evolved from a stew into a lighter side dish made with additional vegetables added to the corn and beans. Any succotash variation is acceptable, as long as corn and beans feature prominently in the ingredients.

Simply Succotash, a recipe.

With the invention of refrigeration and frozen foods, we can enjoy succotash year-round. However, make this with fresh corn during the summer months when corn is sweet and beans are fresh and just harvested. You will need to soak and cook the beans ahead, but the corn will quickly cook with the other vegetables after the fresh kernels are cut right off the cob.

Simply Succotash, a recipe.

Simply Succotash, a recipe.

Succotash Variations

Serve succotash with a grain like brown rice or farro for a plant-based main entrée meal. When legumes and grains combine they create a complete protein with all the essential amino acids accounted for.

During the winter months, substitute the zucchini with winter squash.

Make succotash with corn, cranberry beans and green beans with a splash of cream and choice of a fresh herb.

Use succotash for the filling of a pot pie, either with grains or other proteins like chicken or turkey.

Make succotash into a vegetable soup just by adding vegetable or chicken stock with some aromatics. Or, turn it into a crab and succotash chowder with fresh crab and cream.

 Healthy recipes with corn: Anything Goes Potato Salad, Fresh Zucchini with Corn, Avocado and Pistachios

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Simply Succotash

Succotash is a vegetable dish traditionally made with corn, and cranberry beans. This recipe builds up from the traditional recipe by adding to the corn lima beans, zucchini, sweet bell pepper, onion and fresh herbs. Any fresh herb like sage, thyme, tarragon, chervil or basil will nicely compliment the corn and vegetables.  

For a plant-based main entrée, serve succotash with a grain such as farro or brown rice. 

Course Vegetable Side Dish, Vegetarian Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Ginger

Ingredients

  • 1 lb (16 oz / 454 g) frozen corn 4 ears of fresh corn
  • 10 oz (285 g) frozen baby lima beans
  • 2 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large Vidalia onion about 10 oz (300 g)
  • 1 red or green bell pepper 7-8 oz (219 g)
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt, divided
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 zucchini about 1 lb (454 g)
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 oz (87 g) grape tomatoes
  • Several rounds Freshly ground black pepper
  • 5-6 leaves fresh sage tarragon, basil, chervil, lemon thyme

Instructions

  1. Prep the Vegetables

    Defrost the frozen corn and lima beans. If using fresh corn on the cob, slice the corn kernels off the cob and set aside. Peel and dice the onions. Cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and white pith. Cut into long 1/2-inch (1.5 cm) strips then dice into 1/2-inch (1.5 cm) pieces. Peel, remove the green germ and mince the garlic. Cut each zucchini in half lengthwise, then each half into quarters, lengthwise. Cut across each wedge into pieces about a half-inch wide (1.5 cm). Slice the grape tomatoes in half. Set each vegetable aside in separate piles. 

  2. Sauté the Succotash

    Place a large sauté pan or skillet, about 12-inches (30 cm) or larger, over medium-high heat. Add the extra virgin olive oil and heat up. Before the olive oil gets hot and smoky, add the diced onions and bell pepper. Stir to coat the vegetables with olive oil, and add ¼ teaspoon of Kosher salt.  Sauté until the onions are translucent but not browned, and the vegetables have softened, about 4-5 minutes

  3. Add the minced garlic. Stir and cook until the garlic releases its aroma, about a minute. 

  4. Add the zucchini and stir to mix the vegetables together. Add the thyme sprigs, another ¼ teaspoon of Kosher salt and several rounds of fresh black pepper, and stir. Continue to sauté the vegetables until the zucchini starts to soften, about 4 minutes, but is not cooked all the way through.

  5. While the zucchini is cooking, slice the fresh sage leaves, chiffonade cut, and set aside. 

  6. Add the corn, lima beans and tomatoes. Stir, taste and correct the seasoning with more salt. Sauté the vegetables until they are cooked through and the corn and lima beans are warm, about 4 minutes. Add the sage and stir. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, sage, or black pepper if necessary. Turn off the heat. 

  7. Serve warm. 

Recipe Notes

For another version of succotash, make it with corn, lima beans, green beans with a splash of cream. Season with herbs like tarragon, chervil or basil. 

Simply Succotash, a recipe.

© 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Easy Dinner Recipes for the Family

Easy Dinner Recipes: Seared Fish Tacos

At times the hustle of the day’s events makes preparing a family dinner challenging. Preparing a balanced meal of a protein, vegetables and healthy carbohydrates takes time, especially when you cook with a lot of plant-based foods. Are there any solutions for making dinner that is easy to prepare and doesn’t require a lot of time slaving over a stove? Yes, there are. Listed below are links to easy dinner recipes found on my website for a quick and easy reference.

What is an easy dinner? A dinner recipe that requires little prep work and comes together in a reasonable amount of time. There are a couple of solutions to make dinner easier to put together. One short cut is, buy produce already chopped. Many grocery stores offer a wide selection of produce already chopped and ready for cooking. Each item may cost more, but if buying prepared vegetables is the difference between making dinner or not, it is worth the price. I do not usually buy cut up produce because these days I am mostly cooking for two. However, I cannot ignore how buying prepared vegetables saves a lot of time. It is my opinion, the value of cooking and eating a home cooked meal is significant, especially when compared to eating take out dinners.

Another time saver is make dinner in one pan. Sheet pan, or one pot dinners often require minimal prep, work and everything cooks on (or in) one pan. This also makes clean-up a lot easier as well.

All of these recipes easily come together with little prep work, or cooked in one pan or pot, or take a minimal amount of time to cook. Enjoy!

 

Easy dinner Recipe Post, Spanish inspired Mussels

Easy dinners: Shellfish

One of my favorite easy dinner recipe is my Spanish Inspired Mussels with Chorizo Sausage. The mussels are cooked in a broth of tomatoes, garlic, wine and Spanish chorizo sausage. The broth comes together in about 20 minutes and the mussels take 5 minutes to cook. I never served this meal to young children, but many adults love this. It is great for entertaining a small group of friends, because you can cook the sauce ahead of time then cook the mussels 5 minutes before you want to eat dinner. Serve with good crusty bread to soak up the juices and a tossed salad. For a vegetarian option, omit the chorizo sausage.

Sautéed Sesame Shrimp with Spinach is another supper easy dinner recipe. This recipe is an older one of mine, but the shrimp and spinach cook up quickly and with little effort. Serve with white or brown rice or your favorite grain.

 

Easy Dinner Recipes: Fish Tacos with Mango and Avocado salsa

Easy dinners: Fish

I honestly believe all my fish recipes on Lemon Thyme and Ginger are easy to make. By nature, fish does not require a lot of cooking time. They are an especially easy dinner to make when the fish is cooked in a pouch of parchment paper or aluminum foil. Rainbow Trout with Lemon and Dill and Oven Poached Salmon with Spinach Butter Sauce are both prepared en papilloteSole Stuffed with Herbs is similarly prepared, but it is not tightly sealed in a neat package.

Fish Tacos comes together easily when you buy the cabbage already sliced for coleslaw.

 

Easy Dinner Recipe: roasted curry chicken with potatoes and raisins.

Easy dinner: Chicken

Another favorite easy dinner are sheet pan meals. I particularity like to use chicken when I make a sheet pan dinner, either bone in or boneless work. The boned chicken will take longer to cook but the chicken does not dry out as much, especially with chicken breasts. If you want to go the boneless, skinless chicken route, use chicken thighs, breasts dry out too easily. Roasted Curry Chicken with Potatoes and Raisins has minimal prep and is delicious paired with blanched broccoli, green beans or a salad. Oven baked Chicken with Shallots and Fennel is another easy chicken dinner baked together on one sheet pan.

 

Easy Dinner recipes: Lamb chops

Easy Dinner: Meat

One of my favorite marinades for meat is the sherry marinade used in Grilled Sherry Marinated Flank Steak. It also tastes great with pork tenderloin. Both types of meat benefit from a flavorful marinade. I like to marinate the flank steak over night, but if you want place the flank steak in the marinade first thing in the morning, it will taste just as delicious. If the current weather prohibits you from grilling, pan grill the flank steak on the stove top. You get more browning and caramelized flavor using a grill pan vs the broiler.

The easiest of all meats are lamb chops. They are delicious and quickly cook on a grill or stove-top within a matter of minutes. My recipe for Lamb chops: An early fall harvest dinner for two, describes how to cook lamb chops. In the winter, you can substitute the summer and fall vegetables in this recipe with any vegetable recipe on the blog like, Sweet and Spicy Herbed Carrots, or Green Beans with Roasted Onions.

 

Easy dinner recipes: Pasta with spicy brussels sprouts and sausage

Easy dinner: Pasta

The fastest and easiest cooked tomato sauce I know is Marcella Hazon’s, Tomato Sauce with Rosemary and Balsamic Vinegar. Tomatoes, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, rosemary and balsamic vinegar come together for a silky sauce perfect for penne or other tube-shaped pasta. It makes for a light supper, but a satiating one at that. It also tastes delicious over polenta. If you want a more substantial red sauce and pasta meal, make Pasta with Turkey Meat Sauce.

This time of year Brussels sprouts are easily found at most grocery stores, Pasta Dinner with Spicy Brussels Sprouts and Sausage is a real crowd pleaser, especially for the meat lover in your family. For a vegetarian option substitute the sausage with chickpeas or cannellini beans.

 

Easy dinner recipe: Basil Zucchini Frittata

Easy dinner: Eggs

Often when we are in a hurry or low on food, we make a frittata. Basil and Zucchini Frittata is a great quick and easy dinner for the summer, but in the winter substitute the basil and zucchini with left over Brussels sprouts with pomegranate glaze. Or, make a pasta frittata with left over pasta with turkey meat sauce.

Omelets are another easy dinner choice. However, I prefer to make one omelet at a time as opposed to one big omelet, sliced into individual servings.

 

Easy dinner recipes: Silver Palate chocolate cake

Easy Dessert Recipes:

Swedish Apple Pie is so easy, someone who insists they cannot bake, will have success with this recipe.

Yogurt Panna Cotta is also easy to put together. You can make a spiced fruit sauce with any seasonal fruit.

If a cake is what you want, Silver Palate Chocolate Cake was my go to dessert for many years.

 

If you make any one of my recipes I would love to hear from you. You can share a photo on my Facebook page, or on your Instagram feed and tag me @lemonthymeandginger.

 

© 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Airy Salmon Mousse

Airy Salmon Mousse, recipe.

When I look through some of my older cookbooks, like Gourmet Volumes 1 and 2, or Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, I often wonder if people still eat the same way. Some foods in these books just seem dated. Like aspic. Does anyone make aspic filled with fish or meats anymore? Yet, there are those recipes that remain as classics and stand the test of time. It is my belief that salmon mousse is a classic appetizer. No matter what decade or age, salmon mousse continues to appeal to our taste buds and senses. It is fresh and light tasting with an elegant creamy texture. In my experience over the past 30 or so years, it is one of those appetizers that people just adore.

Airy Salmon Mousse, recipe

This is a classic recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins. By coincidence, this book was first published during a transitional time for me in my early 20’s. I just graduated from college and started living full-time in New York City. With eager and innocent expectations, I was ready to explore many frontiers and cooking was one of them. As a result, this cookbook taught me about foods from all over the world, with new and exciting bold flavors. Illustrated with fun drawings and a causal style, The Silver Palate Cookbook encouraged a relaxed and festive attitude towards cooking and entertaining. It inspired me to experiment, but most of all to cook. I felt like I graduated from an apprenticeship with the Joy of Cooking into a Master’s program with The Silver Palate.

For more fun appetizers try: Point Reyes Blue Baby Cheesecake

Roast Shrimp Cocktail with Sriracha Aioli Cocktail Sauce

Spinach Artichoke Dip with Bacon and Crispy Pitas

Cheese and Herb Chive Bread

Airy Salmon Mousse, recipe.

What I love about this salmon mousse recipe is the fresh salmon flavor. It is creamy without any heaviness, which is often the case with classic French inspired foods. You can serve this as a first course in ramekins or a stylized plating. Also, it is delicious as a spread served in a bowl, or shaped in a decorative mold. Generously spread the mousse on dark pumpernickel cocktail bread, toast, water crackers, cucumbers or endive. No matter how you serve salmon mousse, it has a sophisticated presentation and eating experience. There is no need to go crazy with decorative piping in fancy pastry. I prefer serving the mousse as an appetizer spread. People can help themselves and often keep coming back to the plate for more. Where ever the salmon mousse is set, that location becomes a gathering spot for feasting and interaction.

Salmon mousse happens to be one of my favorites appetizers. It is perfect for New Year’s Eve or any special occasion.

Airy Salmon Mousse, recipe

Happy New Year’s Everyone.

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Airy Salmon Mousse

Airy and fresh salmon mousse is a throwback appetizer recipe from The Silver Palate. It is a perfect appetizer for cocktail parties and special occasions, as well as a first course for an elegant dinner party. This classic appetizer stands the test of time and is a real crowd pleaser. Over the years I have made this with both canned salmon and poached salmon. Both options taste perfectly fine. The only challenge is sifting through the canned salmon picking out the bones. Buying canned salmon is very economical, but you will spend more time making it because of the bones. Plan ahead. Make this mousse the day before you need it, or in the early morning the day you need it. It requires a minimum of 4 hours chilling time in the refrigerator. Because there is uncooked onion in the mousse, the onion becomes sharper the older the mousse gets. Salmon mousse is best served within 24 hours of making it, but will last a couple of days in the refrigerator. Keep chilled until it is time to serve it.
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 45 minutes
Servings 12
Author Ginger

Ingredients

  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup 60 ml cold water
  • 1/4 cup 60 ml boiling water
  • 1/2 cup 125 ml mayonnaise
  • 1 TB fresh lemon juice
  • 1 TB finely grated onion
  • Dash of Tabasco
  • 1/4 tsp sweet paprika
  • 2 TB minced fresh dill
  • 2 cups 500 ml / 305 g / 11 oz finely flaked poached salmon, or finely flaked canned salmon with the bones removed
  • 1 cup 250 ml heavy cream

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the gelatin in cold water to soften. Add the boiling water and gently whisk until the gelatin is dissolved. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  2. Add in the mayonnaise, lemon juice, grated onion, Tabasco, paprika, and fresh dill. Whisk into the gelatin until completely combined and smooth. Cover and cool in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes. The mixture will look thicker and starting to gel.
  3. In a medium size bowl whip the heavy cream until peaks form when you lift the beaters out of the cream. Set aside.
  4. Fold the finely flaked salmon into the gelatin mixture.
  5. Carefully fold in the whipped cream until evenly incorporated.
  6. Pour the mousse into individual ramekins (if you are serving them as a first course) or a 4- 6 cup (1 L - 1.5 L) bowl or mold.
  7. Refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours. Serve chilled with water crackers, on toast crackers, pumpernickel cocktail bread, or sliced cucumber rounds.
Nutrition Facts
Airy Salmon Mousse
Amount Per Serving (4 g)
Calories 0
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Airy Salmon Mousse recipe. A delicious classic appetizer for a special occasion.

© 2017 – 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Glaze

Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Glaze, recipe.

Most of us had, and possibly still have, foods we did not, or still won’t, eat. Currently, raw oysters are on my list of undesirable foods, but when I was a kid I disliked peas, mushrooms and Brussels sprouts. Honestly, it is a miracle I overcame any of my childhood food prejudices, especially vegetables. Mom only made frozen vegetables and she burnt them 8 times out of 10. Over time I grew to love all vegetables with Brussels sprouts being the last holdout.

Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Glaze, recipe.

Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Glaze, recipe.

About 15 years ago at a holiday celebration, a beautiful plate of Brussels sprouts was served with dinner. Up until then I did not give this cruciferous vegetable any thought or attention, but out of politeness and curiosity I put aside my childhood opinion and ate them. After one small spoonful of Brussels sprouts, my attitude changed forever. I cannot remember how my sister-in-law made them, but what I do remember was how surprisingly sweet they tasted. Even with the innate bitter components found in all types of cabbages, a tender and sweet flavor emerged. My sister-in-law’s meal tasted nothing like the Brussels sprouts of my childhood.

It is possible my attitude changed because now I tolerate bitter flavors. Whatever the reason, Brussels sprouts are one of my favorite vegetables during the fall and winter seasons. The key to delicious and sweeter tasting Brussels sprouts is cooking them properly. What I learned over the years is, they taste their best with fast cooking methods because the longer they cook the more bitter they taste. The cooking method that retains the most amount of nutritional benefits is steaming them. This is true for all vegetables. Yet, I like to sauté, braise or roast Brussels sprouts. Each technique creates a caramelized sear on the sprouts that add contrasting color and flavor. They are not as quick to prepare as green beans or asparagus,, but like most green vegetables they finish cooking within 20 minutes.

Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Glaze, recipe.

How to Cook Brussels Sprouts

This recipe uses two cooking methods. I first sear them in a hot skillet. Once they are nicely browned I add garlic, shallots and add some hot red pepper flakes then sauté them with the Brussels sprouts. For this recipe, I add the garlic after I sear the Brussels sprouts because I do not want the garlic to brown or burn. Then, I braise them in stock or water until they are just tender. I believe the steam from the liquid cooks them faster than they would if only sautéed. Plus the liquid gives the Brussels sprouts a nice coating for the pomegranate glaze to adhere to. Once they finish cooking, I add a glaze of butter and pomegranate molasses over the tender sprouts. It is just that simple.

The pomegranate molasses has a bitter-sweet taste adding just a touch of acid to brighten up the flavor. You can find pomegranate molasses at specialty markets, like Middle Eastern markets or Asian markets, or online.  Or, you can make it. I recommend store-bought pomegranate molasses because it has a long shelf life. You can also use pomegranate molasses in a variety of recipes like, Muhammara.

There are so many variations for additions and garnishes for this meal. I added pomegranate seeds for a pop of color and compliment the pomegranate molasses. A touch of acid like lemon juice brightens the meal, but too much lemon juice, or any acid, will change the color to a drab green.

Other nice additions are crispy pancetta or fried prosciutto. Anything salty like cured meats or anchovies will cut out some of the bitter flavor. If you use anchovies, omit the pomegranate molasses.

Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Glaze, recipe.

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Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Glaze

Brussels sprouts are gently seared until golden brown then braised creating Brussels sprouts that are very tender and delicious. A glaze of butter and pomegranate molasses lightly coats the Brussels sprouts giving them a luxurious sheen. You can substitute the butter with extra virgin olive oil for a vegan meal. Garnish with pomegranate seeds, lemon zest or nuts like salted cashews or pistachios. Serve immediately. Special equipment: For 1.5 lbs (750 g) of Brussels sprouts you need an extra large skillet or sauté pan, 12-14 inches (30 -36 cm)
Course Vegetable Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Ginger

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs (750 g) Brussels Sprouts
  • 2 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt plus more to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 cloves shallots thinly sliced in half moons
  • 1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper or dried red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 - 2/3 cup (125 - 150 ml) chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
  • 2 TB butter
  • 2 tsp pomegranate molasses
  • Fresh ground black pepper to Taste
  • Garnish with pomegranate seeds or fried slices of prosciutto, or crispy pancetta (optional)

Instructions

  1. Wash and dry the Brussels sprouts. Cut off the bottom stem then slice the Brussels sprouts in half lengthwise. Remove any loose outer leaves that are not in good shape.
  2. Add 2 TB of extra virgin olive oil to a very large skillet and turn the heat to medium-high. Once the olive oil starts to shimmer add the Brussels sprouts and lay them cut side down. Sear the Brussels Sprouts until golden about 2-3 minutes. Once seared to your desired color, stir them around then add the minced garlic and sliced shallots. Cook until the shallots start to soften, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the stock or water, cover with a tight fitting lid and cook until the Brussels sprouts are tender in the middle, when pierced with a fork. about 7-9 minutes.
  4. When the Brussels Sprouts are tender, remove the lid and cook off any remaining liquid in the pan.
  5. Once the pan is just dry, add the butter, or 1 TB olive oil for a vegan dish, and pomegranate molasses, stir to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Garnish with pomegranate molasses, lemon zest, and or crispy prosciutto.
  7. Serve immediately

Recipe Notes

If you are cooking for a large crowd, roasting Brussels sprouts is the easiest way to prepare them. Coat them in extra virgin olive oil and roast in a 400°F / 200°C oven for about 35 minutes on rimmed sheet pans. Turn them over from time to time during roasting. Add the pomegranate molasses immediately after they finish roasting with extra olive oil or melted butter and salt and pepper to taste. 

Nutrition Facts
Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Glaze
Amount Per Serving (4 g)
Calories 0
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
How to cook Brussels sprouts . Brussels sprouts are seared in a skillet then braised until tender. They are finished with a glaze of butter and pomegranate molasses.

© 2017 – 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

My Favorite Stuffing Recipe

My favorite turkey stuffing recipe.

Every Thanksgiving I cherish a vivid childhood memory of making stuffing with Mom. After all, this special occasion only happened once a year. Helping Mom with the dinner prep had two advantages. First, getting the turkey quickly in the oven meant the rest of our day was free for outdoor playtime. The rest of the day’s activities was on hold until the turkey was ready for roasting. My parents held Thanksgiving dinner in the early evening to allow for a full day of being outside. Traditionally, we either hiked along the Marin Headlands, or played touch football at Cronkite Beach. None of that was going to happen until the turkey was prepped, stuffed, and then popped in the oven. Not even breakfast.

Mom made a standard stuffing and it was delicious. Any little helpers got to “taste test” the mix, just to make sure the seasoning was perfect. Nowadays, the FDA discourages consuming food with raw eggs, but in the 60’s and 70’s no one thought about it. I loved her uncooked stuffing just like I love eating raw cookie dough. Together we mixed the stuffing, then tasted it a couple of times, “Just to be sure.” Slyly, I sneaked in as many nibbles as I could get away with. With the savory flavors from rich stock and aromatics cooked in gobs of butter, what’s not to like?

My favorite turkey stuffing reicpe.

My favorite turkey stuffing recipe.

My Favorite Stuffiing for Turkey recipe

Fast forward to 2017, the spirit of my childhood Thanksgiving’s traditions is ever-present, especially when I make stuffing for our holiday turkey. Faithfully, I work to replicate the flavor memory of Mom’s stuffing. It is not as easy as it sounds because my stuffing is an entirely different beast. As a small seasonal side business, Joe bakes delicious sourdough bread. His bread is my staple ingredient, along with homemade stock and lots of add-ins.

I have nothing against the store-bought bread cubes. They make consistent and delicious stuffing. Yet, I have a freezer full of Joe’s Dough Artisan Bread, and I believe you use what you got. To be honest, it is more challenging using artisan bread for stuffing, and the results are less consistent. My theory is, the airier the bread the less stock you need. To get consistent results, it is more important to pay attention to how the bread soaks up the stock, then religiously follow a recipe. The first few times I made stuffing with Joe’s bread, the stuffing was either too wet or too dry. It took me several tries to figure it out. Fortunately, my mistakes and some extra research taught me a few tricks.

My favorite turkey stuffing recipe.

Three tricks for successful stuffing

First, when toasting the bread cubes in the oven, don’t let them get too brown. They should be just starting to brown. You are not making croutons here, just drying out bread for stuffing. The browner the bread the less stock it absorbs. It seems counter intuitive, yet keep the bread cubes light in color, but completely dried out.

The second and third tricks are interconnected. Add the stock in stages and give the bread mixture time to absorb it. At first, add half the stock then let it rest 10 minutes. Then, gently toss it about and see how wet it looks. This wait period makes a huge difference in understanding how much stock you need. I remember the first time I made stuffing with Joe’s Dough Bread, I only used half the stock required in the recipe because the bread cubes appeared to be swimming in stock. Unfortunately, the stuffing baked very dry and I was disappointed. Had I waited a few minutes, I would see the bread soak up the stock. Artisan bread has its own temperament that varies from day-to-day and year to year, no matter how consistent the baker is.

If you like your stuffing on the wet side, add more stock. If you want your stuffing moist but not wet, add less stock. Keep in mind how dense your bread is as well. I am still testing this theory, but the denser the bread the more stock you need. It takes some time to figure everything out, but eventually you will get to know the look and feel of the bread and stock ratio to get consistent results.

My favorite turkey stuffing recipe.

Do you need a gluten-free pie for Thanksgiving? Try Double Coconut Pie.

Great appetizer idea for Thanksgiving: Crispy Potato Skins 2 Ways

Stuffing variations

If you looked at stuffing recipes from around the country, you would see regional food trends and traditions. Each region uses ingredients that are abundant in their local area and lifestyle. I have a freezer full of bread, so it is my choice for stuffing. Additionally, in the Hudson Valley locally grown apples are easy to come by, and I love their sweet taste with savory herbs and aromatics. Other regions use local ingredients that are abundant in their area, like corn, oysters, sausage, wild rice, or cranberries.

Stuffing is so easy to adapt to suit your personal preference. If you want sausage, add about one pound of crumbled cooked sausage or bacon. Substitute fennel for the apples, or dried cranberries or raisins. You can also omit the apples altogether. If you do add dried fruit, soak it in some apple cider to soften it up. Also, leeks are a great substitute for onions, or use a combination of the two. Anything goes, just adjust the amount of ingredients accordingly.

My favorite turkey stuffing recipe.

In my opinion, Thanksgiving is not Thanksgiving without stuffing. I love it paired with gravy and cranberry sauce. The turkey may be the centerpiece of the meal, but I think it is the foundation for all the bright and savory flavors of the other side dishes.  It’s all good.

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My Favorite Stuffing Recipe

This stuffing has great depth of flavor from good quality bread, rich homemade stock and lots of aromatics like mushrooms and apples with the traditional celery and onions. A compliment of fresh herbs like sage and rosemary, add another savory dimension. If you want to replicate the flavor of old fashioned stuffing, use turkey stock to develop a taste like stuffing cooked inside the turkey. Use the recipe as a guide and add the stock in increments. Also, allow time for the bread cubes to absorb the stock before adding more stock. Use your discretion to determine the amount of stock you need, based on how moist or wet you like your stuffing. If you desire, there is a long list of substitutions to add to your stuffing. Add 1 lb of cooked and crumbled sausage, or 1/2 lb of cooked and chopped bacon, sliced fennel, leeks instead of onions, or dried fruits. Keep in mind the herbs in your stuffing should compliment the herbs used in the other side dishes in your meal.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 10 -12 servings
Author Ginger

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lb (750 g) loaf artisan quality bread*
  • 10 TB (141 g) butter divided, plus more for greasing pan
  • 12 oz (350 g) mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 medium onions finely chopped
  • 4 celery stalks finely chopped
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt divided**
  • 1 large crisp apple like Granny Smith chopped
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) dry white wine
  • 4 stems of parsley roughly minced
  • 6 sage leaves minced
  • 5 sprigs of fresh thyme minced
  • 3 eggs
  • 3-4 cups (up to 1 liter) vegetable, chicken or turkey stock**

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F / 150°C and place the racks in the upper and lower third of the oven.
  2. Slice the bread in even one-inch slices, then tear each slice into pieces smaller than an inch. Divide and lay the torn bread evenly across two rimmed sheet pans. Place in the oven and bake until dry, but not browned, for about 25 - 30 minutes. Rotate the pans from top to bottom half way through the baking time and turn the bread pieces over. It is ok if it the bread cubes turn very slightly brown. When done, remove the toasted bread cubes from the oven and cool. Once cool, slide the bread into a large mixing bowl. If making ahead of time, store in an air tight container for a couple of days, or freeze up to one month.
  3. Raise the oven temperature to 350°F / 175°C and move the rack to the middle position. Butter a 3-quart shallow baking dish. (More surface area gives you more crispy pieces on top.)
  4. Melt 2 TB (28 g) butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook until the liquid is released and evaporated. Remove to a small bowl or plate and reserve for later.
  5. Add the remaining 8 TB of butter (1/2 cup / 113 g) to the skillet. Once melted add the chopped onion and celery. Stir to coat. Season with up to 1/2 tsp of Kosher salt and a few grinds of fresh ground pepper. Cook the onions and celery until they are very soft, about 12 minutes. Add the reserved mushrooms and chopped apples and cook until the apples are starting to get tender and no liquid is in the skillet, about 5 minutes. The vegetables should be very tender, but the apples still have some bite left in them.
  6. Add the wine and scrape up any brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Cook until wine has evaporated.
  7. Turn off the heat then add the prepared herbs to the cooked vegetables. Add the vegetable mixture to the toasted bread cubes and gently toss together. Let the mixture sit and cool for 10 minutes.
  8. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and 2 cups (500 ml) of the stock.
  9. Add the stock mixture to the bread. Add 1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt, (if your stock is salty add less), and 1 tsp fresh ground pepper. Stir until everything is evenly combined. Let the stuffing mixture sit and absorb all the stock for 10 - 15 minutes. Give the stuffing a good toss to help the stock get absorbed in the bread.
  10. Slowly add the remaining stock, as needed, to the stuffing mixture a cup (250 ml) at a time. Stir to get evenly mixed. Let the stuffing rest for a few minutes and stir again. Add more stock as needed. This rest time allows the bread to soak up the stock. Let it rest a few minutes more if more stock needs to get absorbed.
  11. Pour the stuffing into a prepared baking dish. Cut off a piece of aluminum foil large enough to cover the baking dish and smear butter over the dull side. Cover the stuffing with foil, butter side down, and bake in the oven until the stuffing is hot all the way through. Instant read thermometer should read 160°F (71 °C), 30-40 minutes.
  12. When the stuffing is cooked all the way through, remove the foil and turn the oven temp up to 425°F (220°C). Bake the stuffing until golden brown, and crispy on top, about 30 minutes more.
  13. Stuffing can be made one day ahead up to the first half of baking. Toast the top of the stuffing after you reheated the stuffing, before serving. Keep in the refrigerator in an air tight container for up to two days or freeze up to one month.

Recipe Notes

* The amount of stock you need will vary depending on the type of bread you use. Use your discretion to determine the total amount of stock. **If you use store bought stock, look for low salt or no salt stock.

My favorite recipe for turkey stuffing .

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