For years we have been gathering for Friends -Giving, taking turns as the host for the day. This year it’s my turn, so I will be preparing the Turkey, mashed potatoes, and my famous cornbread stuffing with roasted pecans (see recipe at bottom pf page). The side dishes and desserts will be a collective of my friends…each bringing their favorite, and whose recipes I will share with you after the feast. We always allow for leftovers… who doesn’t love a good next day turkey sandwich or plate? I have learned to stop at the .99 cents store and grab some disposable take home containers so that I am not giving away all of my good tupperware.
A trip to the Farmer’s Market is certain to get the ideas flowing for the design of the table, as it’s always fun to change it up a bit from year to year. I spent an afternoon perusing the Union Square Market and the fresh herbs, rich autumnal colors, and harvest feeling got me inspired to think outside the box, and use Fall’s natural bounty to create my tablescape this year. In lieu of flowers using potted fresh herbs, cabbages, wheat, gourds, pumpkins and colorful peppers for your centerpieces can make for a festive table. Also, the herbs can continue to grow in your windowsill and will come in handy during the winter months as you cook your favorite soups, stews, and meals.
Here is a peek at what has inspired me, and be sure to check back after Thanksgiving Day for the full tablescape reveal, as well as pics and recipes of our favorite Friends-Giving dishes.
Margeaux’s Cornbread Stuffing:
Makes about 8 servings so adjust to your number of guests and leftovers.
1 large pan cornbread- make in advance and let dry out.
(You can use a mix or make it from scratch, I am old-school so I use 2 boxes of Jiffy per pan of cornbread)
1 large red pepper
1 large green pepper
1 large yellow onion
1 cup pecans- toasted
2 sprigs of rosemary
2 sprigs of thyme
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon salt
1 stick of unsalted butter
3-4 cups of unsalted chicken broth
3-Sweet or Hot Italian Sausages optional
(If adding Sausage cook it separately, drain the oil and add into the stuffing when you mix all the ingredients together in the bowl. This way you can also allow for any vegetarians)
Remove the rosemary and thyme leaves from the stems.
Remove all the seeds and center from the peppers
Loosely chop the peppers, onions.
Finely chop the rosemary, thyme.
In a large saute` or frying pan add the stick of butter and chopped peppers, onions, rosemary and thyme.
Season with the black pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, oregano and salt…cook until slightly soft.
While that is cooking on a large cookie sheet roast the pecans at 500 degrees for 5-10 minutes making sure to toss them around frequently.
Heat the chicken stock until warm.
Place the crumbled cornbread in a large bowl and pour the contents of the saute` pan on top and give it a mix. Add the pecans and give it another mix. You may want to use your hands so that the cornbread does not completely fall apart. Then slowly add the chicken stock lightly stirring until the stuffing starts to get moist but not overly wet.
Give it a taste and if you need to add any additional salt, pepper etc. this is the time.
Either put it into the turkey before placing in the oven, or in an oven safe dish and cook until hot all the way through…I like a little browned crust on the top.
Any questions… feel free to leave comments or email me.
Enjoy and Happy Thanks Giving!