As soon as the Halloween costumes come off it seems the Christmas commercials appear on television. But before we start baking our cookies we need to make time to give thanks for one of the biggest food events of the year. Thanksgiving is incredibly special because it is all about what is on the table. With Thanksgiving, there’s no pressure like what comes along with shopping and gift giving. It is simply family gathered around sharing in a dinner full of family traditions.
Our family table is stretched from the dining room into the foyer. There is never quite enough room on the table for all of the dishes—and that is a tradition in itself. Everyone has something they look forward to eating that day. Some people are die-hard stuffing fans, others are holding out for pumpkin pie. In addition to the turkey and all the trimmings, we start the day with antipasto and lasagna. Some people can’t believe that there is actually another course besides the turkey. If you are an Italian in Jersey chances are you start eating at 1 p.m. and you know about the lasagna or “macaroni” course. After all is supposedly said and done, around 9 p.m. you may be pulling leftovers out of the fridge and starting again. Some may gasp and wonder how anyone could even fathom doing such a thing. That is part of the beauty of Thanksgiving, you somehow can fit just a little more than usual.
Food aside, the best part of a Thanksgiving is the opportunity to reflect on all things good in your life. To be grateful for the food you have to put on the table and the family around it. Traditional dishes keep nostalgia alive, while new dishes bring a tradition to extend into years to come. I hope this recipe inspires you to add something to your holiday table that becomes a new family favorite.
Cornbread Stuffing with Chorizo
½ Spanish onion (yellow), diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 cup red apple, chopped (skin optional)
5 cups cornbread (stale), cubed
¾ cup chicken stock
1 tbsp olive oil
Chopped thyme, to taste
Chopped sage, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan or skillet. Add the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes, and then add the onion. Sauté the garlic and onion together, until fragrant or 4 minutes.
- Add the chorizo. (If it’s in the casing make sure you squeeze it out of the casing and discard the casing.) As it browns you’ll be able to crumble the pieces.
- Once the chorizo has started to brown and cook through (it takes about 12 minutes or so), add in the chopped apples. Give it a good stir and let the mixture sauté for another 2 minutes then remove the pan from the heat.
- After the mixture has cooled down a bit pour it into a large mixing bowl. Add the cornbread, sage, thyme, salt, and pepper to the bowl. Mix the contents of the bowl to incorporate.
- Add the chicken stock to the bowl. Using your hands knead the mixture together until the bread is moist, it is going to look like it may even be too wet.
- Transfer to a 9×12 or 9×9 ceramic baking dish. Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes, until you see the top begins to brown and get crusty.
- Serve and enjoy!