Cooking With Chad

3:27 PM, Nov 21, 2012   |    comments
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TOASTED PECAN STUFFING WITH APPLES
© 2012 Lovely & Delicious Enterprises, Inc.
Growing up, I remember my grandmother loved to add nuts to many of her dishes. I'm not sure why, but they sure do add a unique flavor. I have adopted her preference for nuts in cooking as well, but I like to toast or roast them first to release their full flavor. Plus, I like the added crunch. This version of my Grandma's recipe toasts the pecans first, then adds Granny Smith apples for a nice tart-sweetness. They make the stuffing more dense...especially with my addition of cream. Yum!

• 8 oz. of pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
• 1 cup of unsalted butter (2 sticks) + more to butter the baking dish
• 4 large celery stalks, thinly sliced
• 2 large onions, diced
• 2 cloves of garlic, minced
• 14 cups bread cubes (22 slices), country white or whole wheat
• ¼ cup Italian leaf parsley (chopped)
• 2 medium green apples, cored, peeled and chopped
• 1 ½ teaspoons poultry seasoning
• ¼ teaspoon fresh black pepper
• 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
• ½ cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350°.

Lay the pecans on a baking sheet and place in the oven to toast for about 5 minutes or until the pecans are evenly browned. Remove the pecans immediately from the baking sheet and let cool for 5-10 minutes. Using a chef's knife, coarsely chop them and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and bring it to a slight bubble. Add the celery, onion and garlic. Cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Take off the heat and set aside.

Place the bread cubes in a large mixing bowl. Pour over the butter, onion and celery mixture and stir using a wooden spoon. Add the parsley, apple, poultry seasoning, pepper, eggs and cream. Stir until well combined.

Butter a large baking dish. Place the stuffing mixture in the dish. Cover with lid or foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid or foil and bake for another 10 minutes or until golden brown on top.

BUTTERMILK SPICED TURKEY BRINE
© 2012 Lovely & Delicious Enterprises, Inc.
Over my years of living in the South, I have come to love the flavor of buttermilk. It brings such tang and irresistible flavor to my bird. Funny, it took me this long to appreciate it being the great-grandson of a dairy farmer. Brining brings an extra dimension to the taste of a Thanksgiving turkey and keeps it moist and tender when roasting. It's a few extra steps, but the end result is so worth it! Trust me. This brine is for a 12-16 lbs. bird. Add more buttermilk if roasting a larger bird.
• 2 quarts water
• 1 cup Kosher salt
• ¼ cup brown sugar
• 2 shallots, coarsely chopped
• 2 Tablespoons whole peppercorns
• 4 bay leaves
• 3 fresh orange peels, cut into 1-inch strips
• 6 sprigs fresh thyme
• 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
• 3 quarts buttermilk
In a large pot, add the water, salt, brown sugar, shallots, peppercorns and bay leaves. Bring to a slow boil over medium-high heat. Let simmer for 10 minutes so that the salt has fully dissolved. Add the orange peel, thyme and rosemary, and let boil for two more minutes. Take the pot off the heat, cover and let cool.
Rinse the turkey, inside and out, and pat dry. Place it in a large plastic bag. Combine the cooled brine with the buttermilk and pour over the turkey so that they bird is completely submerged. Refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
Remove the turkey from the brine. Rinse, pat dry and roast as desired. Discard the brining liquid.

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