Thursday, November 19, 2009

Holiday Feast: Stuffing and Cranberries

Stuffing and cranberries are two of the side dishes essential to most Thanksgiving feasts. Stuffing has always been one of my (Heather) favorite parts of the meal. Over the years I've tried a number of different kinds and there are many more I'd still like to try (like Nigella Lawson's Gingerbread Stuffing). This Sweet Potato and Cranberry Stuffing is a winner, incorporating so many of the tastes we love on Thanksgiving with the addition of sweet potatoes and cranberries to the normal onion and herb bread stuffing. The colors are beautiful and festive and the taste is lovely. If you wanted to, you could also add a few stalks of celery with the potatoes.

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SWEET POTATO AND CRANBERRY STUFFING
(adapted from Country Living 2008)

4 Tbsp. butter
1 onion, chopped
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 c. dried cranberries
2 Tbsp. fresh chopped sage
1 tsp. salt
ground black pepper to taste
8 c. white bread cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 3/4 c. chicken broth

Heat oven to 350F. Lightly butter a 9x13-inch baking pan.

Melt 3 Tbsp. butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 4 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium, add potatoes, and cook until soft and onion is browned, about 15-20 minutes. Add maple syrup, cranberries, and 2 Tbsp. water. Cook until cranberries plump, about 3 minutes. Add sage, salt and pepper and cook 1 minute more.

Remove from heat and toss in bread and broth.

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Transfer to prepared baking dish and dot with remaining butter. Bake until heated through and top is golden (30-40 minutes).

Serves 10.

relish

This is my favorite way to have cranberries on Thanksgiving. This relish is fresh and tangy with just enough sugar to take away the sourness of the cranberries. I always have seconds and am always happy for leftovers (which go well in a fruit salad).

FRESH CRANBERRY-ORANGE RELISH
(Heather)

1 whole orange (peel included), washed, seeded, quartered
1 12-oz. bag fresh cranberries, washed
1/3-1/2 c. sugar

Place the quartered orange and cranberries in your food processor or blender. Pulse until evenly chopped in fine pieces. Add sugar to taste. Refrigerate until serving.

Serves 12.

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CRANBERRY SAUCE
(Alaina)
It should be noted that this is adapted from a recipe that my brother came up with!

1 c. water
1 c. sugar
1 - 12 oz. bag of cranberries, washed and sorted
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. orange zest
1 oz. brandy

Cook water, sugar, and cranberries together until cranberries begin to pop - about 10 minutes. Add zests and brandy and cook for 3 minutes more. Cool and chill.

Can be made ahead and served at any temperature.