We've certainly come a long way since the first Thanksgiving celebration in 1621. Could the pilgrims or the Wampanong Indians- who reportedly actually ate such things as venison and even lobster- have imagined the traditions we now associate with our annual harvest celebration? From the Snoopy Balloon parading in New York City's Macy's Day Parade, to our national leader officially pardoning a turkey, and the endless football watching (which I will undoubtedly endure this holiday), we've really incorporated some interesting traditions into this harvest celebration.
And now, I bring you something the pilgrims and Indians truly could not have imagined: a virtual Thanksgiving celebration.
As you prepare to set your own table this Thursday, and to welcome family and friends to feast and give thanks together, consider this delicious spread (pictured above).
- Thanksgiving Turkey from Sue of Feel Good Eats
- Celery Root, Parsnip, and Apple Puree from Amy of Eggs on Sunday
- Fennel, Apple, and Cranberry Stuffingg from me (continue reading this post)
- Brussel Sprouts with Virginia Ham from me (continue reading this post)
And because we're such a sweet bunch of food bloggers, plenty of desserts:
- Squash and Apple Bake from Amy of Eggs on Sunday
- Apple and Pecan Tart from Kristin of The Kitchen Sink
- Sweet Potato Cake with Praline Pecan Topping from Grace of A Southern Grace
We'll start with my recipe for Fennel, Apple and Cranberry Stuffing.
In a large bowl, mix the bread cubes, fresh thyme, fresh sage, fennel seeds, the cooked vegetables, diced apples, diced cranberries and salt and pepper. Combine well.
Add the chicken stock to the mixture in the bowl and mix well. If necessary, add a little extra chicken stock to absorb into the bread cubes.
Place the bread mixture into the buttered baking dish. Drizzle the additional 1/2 cup of chicken stock over the mixture. Cover with foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and discard the foil. If desired, dot the top of the stuffing with butter. Return to the oven for 10 additional minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
Serve alongside roasted turkey or chicken.
Of course, Thanksgiving wouldn't be Thanksgiving without a lot more food to gorge yourself on. This next recipe will help you to feign health consciousness: brussel sprouts. *Ignore the large quantities of butter and salted meats to maintain that "healthy" feeling.
Brussel Sprouts with Virginia Ham
This recipe keeps the focus on the tender and fresh brussel sprouts. The addition of Virginia ham adds a contrasting flavor to perfectly complement the sprouts sweet flavor. The ham can be sauteed a few days ahead of time, making the prep time for this recipe a mere 15 minutes on your Thanksgiving day.
- 2 cups of raw brussel sprouts
- 1/4 Cup water
- 2 TB butter
- 1/4 cup Virginia ham, diced into 1/4 inch pieces and sauteed*
Place brussel sprouts and water in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Cook for about 5 minutes until brussel sprouts are bright green-- adding a little more water if necessary.
Once water has evaporated, add 2 TB of butter. Allow the brussel sprouts to saute so that they are slightly caramelized-- about 3-5 more minutes. Add diced Virginia ham until just reheated.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *