Stuffing. Or rather, dressing. To me, it is the essence of Thanksgiving. Given birth out of the cavity of a chicken (too graphic?). It is the dish that is most remarked on by friends and family, whether in bread or rice form, requested and served by many. But what is the proper terminology for this savory side? Stuffing was its original name, but then it didn’t appeal to the ‘proper’ upper English class, so they labeled it as dressing. In modern days, it has become known as stuffing when inserted into the turkey, and dressing when it is cooked on the side. However, I find placing it in the turkey doesn’t serve enough hungry stomachs that want seasoned bread or rice, so I cook a bit of ‘dressing’ on the side.
My official holiday was held with the two most important people in my life, my mom and godmother, on a Saturday (we like to mix it up).
Mom hid from the camera (as per usual, I think I inherited that trait from her) as Auntie Jen puttered around in the kitchen (there is honestly only room for one in there).
We started with an appetizer of sushi (very west coast of us), and then began our feast.
An amazing quinoa salad, a pre-roasted chicken from Choices Market, a phenomenal Asian salad and my bread stuffing was combined on our plates and in our stomachs. Yum was the catch-word of the evening.
Pumpkin pie, a true holiday staple, was our closer of the evening.
The harvest festival of Thanksgiving in Canada originated with an explorer. It was about homecoming, about celebrating the bounty of this lovely land, the end to a journey. The way I look at this day is similar to that man hundreds of years ago – we travel through our lives, through hardship, through sorrow, year by year, and yet we come back to those we love, and those we know, in thanks for them.
On Monday, I was able to celebrate love in another household, Allison’s and Emma’s (with copious amounts of food of course).
It was also a roommate reunion – as I’ve said before, you come through difficulties, through pain, to be surrounded by those you love and adore on at least one day a year.
Red Currant and Almond Thyme Bread Dressing
1 loaf white bread (or for the more health conscious, whole wheat works as well)
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 large apples, chopped (I find sweeter apples work better, such as Gala or Fuji)
1 cup sliced almonds, with peels
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme leaves
1 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1 cup dried red currents
2 tablespoons either white balsamic vinegar or apple-cider vinegar
1. Combine all ingredients together.
2. Preheat oven to 375 F.
3. Place the stuffing inside the cavity of a chicken or turkey, and cook the poultry according to weight.
4. Fill a dutch oven or large ceramic cooking pan with the dressing and cook, covered with a lid or aluminum foil, for one hour, stirring twice during cooking time.
5. Serve with sliced turkey/chicken, vegetables, and mashed potatoes/sweet potatoes.
6. Pray. Eat. Enjoy. Feel pain, feel sorrow, feel joy throughout the year, and then celebrate it, feel whole again with those you love on a weekend that represents giving thanks.