Thursday, November 17, 2011


As much as I love a good turkey, for me, Thanksgiving is all about the sides.  Nutritionists say that an average Thanksgiving dinner clocks in at about 4500 calories; I can assure you that the bulk of those calories appear on my dinner plate as buttery mashed potatoes, sweet potato souffle, green beans with frizzled shallots and apricot Grand Marnier Sausage stuffing.  It may be blasphemous to take sides with the "sides,"but these vegetable dishes represent family traditions and people find comfort in making and serving those foods that remind them of their childhood. For example, every family has their own particular take on sweet potatoes- we have always served a souffle of sorts with a buttery pecan and brown sugar topping. This dish is a family favorite, so it was particularly unsettling when a three potato gratin ended up on the table one year.  It was delicious but it wasn't the sweet potato souffle we had waited a year to devour. Our family has since returned to our "roots" and we're all much happier because when it comes down to it, the traditional side dishes of the holiday are the real stars of Thanksgiving, just don't tell Tom.

Here's my recipe for Apricot Grand Marnier Sausage Stuffing, which is a family favorite. The sweet taste of apricots and Grand Marnier are the perfect compliment to savory fennel and sausage. Try it,  you won't be disappointed.


2 pounds of day old white bread torn into 3/4" chunks
1 stick of butter melted, plus 1 tablespoon
1 cup of chopped onion
1 cup of chopped fennel
A bunch of fresh tarragon and sage, chopped
4 ounces dried apricots 
1 cup Grand Marnier liquor
1 pound sweet sausage with fennel
2 cups of chicken stock

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Fry the sausage breaking it into small pieces until cooked through, about 7 minutes. Move to a large bowl. Cook onions and fennel in 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter until translucent, about 4 minutes.  Add to the cooled sausage mixture. Place the apricots in the cup of Grand Marnier and let it sit for 10 minutes until the apricots are plump. Reserve the liquid and julienne the apricots.  Put the apricots into the sausage mixture. Take the day old bread and place into a large bowl.  Add the Grand Marnier liquid and half a stick of butter and toss lightly.  Season with salt and pepper and add the sage and tarragon. Stir in the cooled sausage mixture and add the rest of the melted butter.  Toss lightly and add some of the chicken stock until moist.  Turn out into a butter baking casserole and bake uncovered for 40 minutes.


The enchanted home said...

Barbara, my mouth is still agape at the 4500 calories being consumed at the averge Thanksgiving dinner? Really? Wow!!

Moving on..because even that will not stop me from eating my most favorite meal that I wait all year for....this sounds HEAVENLY and looks amazing! I must try it, I do try to mix it up from year to year and try new things and this might just be my new addition this year. I love the sounds of these ingredients together..thanks!

CDS said...

So true! It's all about the dies. While out on a walk last night with my friend I was telling her all about our sides, and who makes what. I meake a mean corn casserole. I can't wait!

JMW said...

Ooo, that sounds divine! Yep, I'm all about the sides as well. My husband makes a great oyster stuffing - it's probably my favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal.

Janell @ Isabella and Max said...

Oh I completely agree!! Which reminds me, yikes, I better start my list and get shopping!! Janell

Splendid Sass said...

Who counts calories on Thanksgiving? No us!
I am saving this recipe, and think I will cook it Sunday. Sounds perfect.
Have a nice Thursday, Barbara.

annie said...

4,500 calories...really? Could that be true?

I'm going to try not to think about that....while I'm doing that I'm moving on to think about your Stuffing recipe! Apricot Grand Marnier Sausage stuffing--now that sounds divine.

Kim@Chattafabulous said...

4500 calories? I better walk to my parents house in Atlanta!

p-l-a-i-d said...

This is making me hungry, I cannot wait for Thanksgiving!

quintessence said...

That sounds delicious!! My husband likes a VERY traditional stuffing so I'm afraid my family won't be able to enjoy this but will have to try on perhaps a roast chicken dinner when he isn't home!!

Acquired Objects said...

4500 calories...really? Somehow I don't think knowing that number is going to stop me but it might make me think about that second helping!

Dumbwit Tellher said...

Keeping to our roots @Thanksgiving is always a sure win. I think our family would all agree that the tried and true recipes we grew up with surpass all others; on the other-hand, your stuffing recipe looks divine. Happy Thanks giving to you and yours.

x Deb

Taylor Greenwalt said...

That sounds fantastic. One year we had an Argentinian Latin Thanksgiving. It was the best!

Fashion-isha said...

I have a weakness for stuffing and this one is mouth watering!

Anonymous said...

Oh I've been looking for a new stuffing recipe to go with my Christmas goose, this sounds delicious.

Mona Thompson Providence Ltd. said...

Oh my...sounds delicious. Our family has traditions that just can't be messed with either. If we want to try something new it gets added instead of substituted for an old family favorite. Needless to say we have way too much food. It's so fun. Happy Thanksgiving to you. XO, Mona