Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving Feast, Part III: Peruvian Stuffing

For Part III I'm going to share a wonderful family recipe from my husband's side of the family, specifically from his aunt, Savory and sweet Peruvian sausage stuffing!

To my husband and his family this rich, zesty, sweet stuffing is the very epitome of home cooked holiday meals. This recipe for Peruvian Stuffing is straight from my husband’s tia Lilita. Ground beef and pork sausage are marinated with fragrant spices and browned with garlic and onions. It is then simmered in wine and applesauce (I highly recommend Lin’s simple applesauce under sides) and studded with raisins and crushed walnuts. Lastly it is garnished with the exceptionally popular boiled eggs. It really represents the bold yet harmonious flavours that characterize much of Peruvian cuisine. It is really a great stuffing because if your main protein dries out a bit it is the perfect side to revive it and give it lots of flavorful interest. This can also be made with turkey sausage if your family doesn't eat pork.

Peruvian Stuffing

Makes 10 servings

Prep time: 4 hours
Cook time: 40 minutes
Total time: 4 hours, 40 minutes

1 lb lean beef mince (5% or 10% fat)
1 lb pork sausage
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red onion, diced
2.5 cups plain apple sauce (Lin has a simple apple sauce in Sides)
half cup white wine
1/3 cup raisins
1/2 cup crushed walnuts
3 hardboiled eggs, sliced thinly


Remove sausages from casings.
In a large bowl, combine sausage meat, beef, cumin, garlic powder and a pinch each of salt and pepper.
Cover tightly with cling film and marinate in the fridge for 2 to 4 hours.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, add the olive oil. Saute onions until they begin to soften (5 minutes).
Add garlic and cook for an additional minute, or until garlic becomes fragrant.
Add meat and brown. This will take 10 minutes
Add wine to deglaze, scraping all the lovely bits at the bottom of the pan. If you have rendered too much fat to deglaze the pan (i.e. there is visible liquid in the meat) add the wine at this juncture and allow to cook into the meat.

Add apple sauce, bring back to simmer and cook on low heat for 15 minutes.

Add raisins and walnuts, and cook, covered, for an additional 5 minutes.

Scatter the egg slices all over and serve alongside your chosen roast.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Thanksgiving Feast, Part II: Green Bean Casserole (from scratch)

Welcome to Part II of my Thanksgiving feast series: green bean casserole. Whether you've been assigned this one dish or you're cooking an entire Thanksgiving feast there's one thing we can all agree on: we eat to excess on Thanksgiving. If that weren't enough, we eat many dishes loaded with fat, salt and other unhealthy things. In other words: flavor.

Green Bean Casserole, which is a must have at any Thanksgiving dinner, is loaded with all of that tasty stuff and more. This is because it is almost always made entirely out of cans and boxes. While this saves on time it also saves on taste. And nutritional value. But most importantly, taste. If you want to bring the most delicious, most talked about version of this dish to your thanksgiving, cook along with me and make it from scratch.

The green beans and mushroom/onion/shallot mix can both be made up to one day ahead of time. You'll simply need to cook the casserole longer (say 10 minutes) to account for the cold ingredients.

If, like me, you're cooking the entire meal, you'll still have time to make this if you prep properly. Believe it or not, it's not that much harder than the out of a can version. The most labor intensive part was chopping the green beans into little pieces. If you have the luxury of a kitchen minion or two, I'd suggest putting them on green bean chopping duty.

If this is the only dish you've signed up to bring, why not make it the best possible version?

Green Bean Casserole

Makes one 9” x 13” baking dish

32 ounces green beans, trimmed and chopped into 1” pieces

6 ounces fried onions

16 ounces sliced mushrooms

1/2 yellow onion, minced

1 large shallot, roughly chopped (about 2 Tablespoons)

32 ounces low sodium chicken stock

3 cups whole milk

4 Tablespoons butter, separated

2 Tablespoons mirin

3 Tablespoons all purpose flour

1 small pinch cayenne

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

1. In a large pot combine green beans and stock. Add pepper if desired. Bring to a full boil, then reduce to an active simmer. Simmer until green beans are very soft (about 20 minutes). Drain beans and set aside.
2. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan melt 1 tablespoon of the butter along with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Saute the minced onion and chopped shallots with a pinch of salt over medium heat until caramelized ( about 10 minutes). Stir infrequently. In the last minute add thyme. When onions and shallots are browned deglaze the pan with 1 tablespoon Mirin or Sherry.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Add mushrooms another pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Saute until mushrooms are cooked through. Deglaze with remaining Mirin/Sherry.
4. Set mushrooms onions and shallot mix aside. Spray or grease a large baking dish. Lay green beans in a single layer. mix in 2/3 cup by volume fried onions.
5. Melt remaining butter in the same large saucepan over low-medium heat. Add flour & cayenne and cook, stirring constantly, until the mix has turned golden. Whisk in milk, roughly 1/3 cup at a time.
6. Allow to thicken, stirring frequently. Reintroduce mushroom, onion and shallot mix. Pour milk mixture (gravy) over beans in baking dish. Bake until bubbling (about 15 minutes). Cover entire casserole with fried onions and bake for 5 additional minutes.

Serve at Thanksgiving as a side dish.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Thanksgiving Feast Part I

Life has been hectic lately. I am planning a Thanksgiving for five and even though I know it will be far too much food there are certain dishes I simply have to bring to the table. It just won’t be Thanksgiving without them.

Even though my life has been a bit busy I still can’t seem to keep myself away from blogging. From sharing my fun in the kitchen with all of you. I think of you as my friends. And what kind of friend would I be if I left you hanging during the biggest cooking holiday in the country? You don’t have to answer that.

So, hopefully this three part series will help you up your Turkey Day game. I’ve got a lot planned for mine. Wish me luck!

If I get time for it I will be publishing a basics guide with substitutions and a glossary as part IV.

Part I: tips for the perfect mashed potatoes & how to homemake your cranberry sauce (so worth it and easy!)

As it turns out I’ve already posted about Part I. Here’s my post from two years ago.

Part II is going to consist of from-scratch green bean casserole, so stay tuned!

Bonus pic of my mashed potatoes: