In the spirit of the holidays, this week’s Pao Chow recipes will be focused on the tryptophan-inducing, gluttonous-inspiring day of Thanksgiving.
The Pao Family, like most, goes ALL out for Thanksgiving – and ALL out usually involves everyone gaining at least 5 pounds over the course of a week. Thank goodness for Turkey Trots. The big day usually involves about 20-25 of us gather at my aunt’s house with an artillery of traditional Thanksgiving dishes, Asian-inspired offerings (somehow this works), and ones that fall somewhere in between (I’m not all too sure how to categorize Lobster Potato Salad but trust me – it’s bomb and worth the addition). We eat family style, and we contribute potluck style.
Not normally a large carbohydrate fan, (I tend to get rather lethargic and bored with most carbs, and ascribe to the more caveman like diet of lots of dark meat and vegetables), I do make an exception for Thanksgiving. My favorite dish to eat and make is stuffing. I’ll be making my favorite stuffing recipe for both family Thanksgiving and friend’s Thanksgiving dinner this weekend at my friend Laura’s house. This recipe is a blend of a few different ones I’ve found on Foodtv.com and Epicurious.com and is a keeper.
Apple Sausage Stuffing recipe a la Pao
Serves 10-12 people – double/triple based on number at your Thanksgiving meal
- 1 box of stuffing – I recommend using the Focaccia La Brea Bakery stuffing available for $10 a box at Williams Sonoma
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
- 1 pound sausage (mild italian or country style depending on taste preference), remove from casing if applicable
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 green apples, peeled, cored and chopped – I like using green apples for a bit of tartness
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp sage
- 1 1/2 cups steamed chestnuts , chopped (you can buy peeled chestnuts at Williams Sonoma by the jar – saves a lot of time
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Put the stuffing cubes in a large bowl and set aside. Butter a 9X13 baking dish
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery and apple and saute about 4-5 minutes until ingredients are soft. Add chestnuts and saute about 2 minutes. Season with a touch of salt and pepper. Use slotted spoon to transfer mixture to a bowl. Set aside.
Add the sausage and break up with a spoon. Cook until it loses most of its pink color, but not so much that it’s dry, about 7 minutes. Add in thyme, sage and parsley and stir through for a minute. Add the sausage and drippings and onion/celery/chestnut mixture to bowl of focaccia stuffing cubes. Stir in chicken stock through entire mixture. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Dressing should be moist but not soggy.
Spoon dressing mixture into prepared pan and cook uncovered until the top forms a crust, about 1 hour. If the stuffing starts to brown too quickly, cover with a layer of aluminum foil.
Tips: Put the dressing in the oven during the last hour of cooking the turkey
Serve warm and enjoy! If you want to get really festive, you might consider taking the inside out of a pumpkin and then serving the stuffing inside the pumpkin itself.