I must confess that this is only my second year of making Thanksgiving dinner. Years past, I'd always been going to my mom's, and now my in-laws these last five years. I spent a lot of years longing to cook that meal myself. To recreate it. Last year, when the football game fell on Thanksgiving, we got our first chance. This year, the big family meal is moved again for a football game, and my husband and I are back in the kitchen for the smaller meal.
So, when you ask for a stuffing recipe (Jen!) I don't have the old family secret one to pull out. I'm still inventing. The following comes from a while perusing Gourmet, cook books and other sources, plus my own ideas, and I am going to go with it. There will be a lot more dishes on the table to keep me safe if it doesn't work out!
My husband is going to brine our fresh, pastured turkey using salt, apple cider and spices. Then we will do a maple-sage glaze on it. He's the go-to guy for all the roasting of large beasts (and most roasts) around here. I want to keep the sage and apple flavor in the stuffing. (Jen, just omit the apples and use all chicken stock if you go this route!). I went with sausage because the farmer where we will get our pork and turkey was out of bacon. Bacon and maple are amazing together. Cornbread is also new, I think it will be a good change. We'll have a loaf of great bread on the table as well.
One thing. I don't believe in stuffing the turkey. For a couple reasons.
First, there is a bit of a food safety issue if the stuffing does not cook through. Nobody likes salmonella for the holidays. Second, the bird is already damn hard to cook on it's own without adding another variable to the mix. See, the breast cooks faster than the thighs and dark meat, and it can dry out. You have to juggle the foil over that part and timing on the other parts. Worrying about the stuffing cooking may screw up the timing on the meat. Nobody likes dry turkey, which is worse than bad stuffing. So, no stuffing the stuffing here.
That said, here's the general idea of our stuffing:
Apple, Sausage and Sage Stuffing
Looking for this recipe? It will be part of an upcoming book with Ali at Cleaner Plate Club.