28 December 2006

Holiday Cookin'

Traditional Thanksgiving dinner - turkey, stuffing, mashed taters, and a veggie - is the meal that I could eat four to five times a week, if I had to. I love turkey - white meat, dark meat, legs - you name it. If I am in a restaurant and they have turkey dinner on the menu, I have a hard time choosing something else - especially a homestyle New York diner. Cooking turkey dinner, on the other hand, is a tough deal for a single guy. Cooking a turkey has a complexity level that exceeds heating up a can of soup or microwaving a bag of popcorn (my usual home cooking!) by a large margin. The holidays, though, bring out the best in me.

I had Thanksgiving dinner at a friend's home where I was one of 35 guests. While happy for the invitation, "seconds" to take home were not an option. Heck, I was lucky to get "firsts" - some of those people could eat! Ever since, I have been eager for some turkey dinner. Publix, apparently upon hearing of my want for turkey, had them on sale for 79 cents a pound last week. I picked up a small bird (less than 10 lbs.), and based on this Roguefood.com thread, I decided to make the stuffing the focus of the meal. Any good turkey dinner should be measured on the merits of the accompaniments, as well as the flavor and texture of the turkey, itself. Naturally, I tweaked the recipe to my own liking (soft pretzels were not an option, and the original recipe lacked traditional stuffing seasonings). The full recipe and photos of the adventure can be found after the break...


  • l box Snyder's broken sourdough hard pretzels
  • 1 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • Add ground pepper, rosemary, thyme, sage to taste
Saute onion & celery in butter until soft. Mix in pretzels & remaining ingredients. The original recipe calls for the mixture to be set overnight in the refrigerator. In this case, that was not an option, and the end result worked. I may try it next time - just to see what difference it makes.

Bake in casserole dish (I used 13X9 Pyrex) at 350 for about 25 minutes.

The stuffing (yeah, I know that if it is prepared in the stove, as opposed to in the bird, that it should be called "dressing" - I just don't care) turned out delicious. The pretzels definitely add a different flavor and texture compared to what most folks usually expect from traditional stuffing.

At this point, I was still pretty skeptical. We had some seasoned and sauteed onion and celery and some broken pretzels. But, things started to take shape....

I won't lie. There is a good reason that there is a box of Stove Top sitting on the counter. If this stuff turned out bad, I wasn't having dinner with no stuffing! There is a part of me that thinks that this is common sense and needs no mentioning, but....DO NOT ADD SALT. There is plenty on the pretzels. I didn't think that the final product was too salty, but I like Stove Top - and that stuff is loaded with salt.

No worries, though - it tasted as good as it looks! One of the truest stuffing tests is to see how it holds up the next day as leftovers, and I happily report that the flavor and texture didn't lose anything overnight in the fridge.

The ultimate plate of food - mashed Yukon Gold potatoes (five potatoes - almost one whole stick of butter - a ratio that should be set in stone), green beans, pretzel stuffing, and mixed light and dark turkey - all covered in homemade giblet gravy. I am pretty sure that THIS is what God created on the eighth day.

Never satisfied, though, I am thinking about making a sweet version of the pretzel stuffing. It works with bread stuffing, right? I think I can add apples, cinammon, and maybe raisins. If it happens, I will do a follow-up post.

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B. Durbin said...

Put in dried cranberries instead of raisins. Cranberries and turkey go very well together.

B. Durbin said...


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