Foolproof Tender Popovers

Foolproof popovers

It’s November and that means the beginning of my favorite time of the year. Thanksmas. Or should that be Thanksgivemas? It does not seem fair that the two best holidays in the calendar happen within about a month of each other. In Canada, we are given a reprieve between Thanksgiving and Christmas. By enjoying turkey day in early October, it seems like you’re better able to enjoy fall. You get to partake in all of the best of the harvest, see the leaves fall, and then top it all off with Halloween. Then you get two whole months to prepare for Christmas.

The holidays feel so much more compressed in the States. You barely get to tuck into the turkey, before you have to think about the crazy day that is Black Friday, and the kick off for Christmas. I love, love, love the holidays, so most days the short season seems that more festive. But I can see how it can be stressful for many.

To minimize stress, I like to plan. I plan just about everything, and often include a timeline. “The timeline!”, is often an exclamation the hubs like to say when we’re on vacation. It all started with our honeymoon in Maui, but I digress.

So here in early November, I am planning the Thanksgiving dinner menu. Last year we hosted about 14 people around our 9 foot dining table, to much success. There was some last minute defrosting issues, a 6 month old infant, and just enough chaos to make it all memorable.

Last year I don’t even remember if we had bread. I do remember the juicy turkey and the creamy homemade New York cheesecake. But I do not remember if we had rolls, or breadsticks, or what. This year is going to be different. This year I came across the perfect popovers by Food Network’s Melissa d’Arabian. The name isn’t hyperbole. It is in fact the easiest, most tender, and consistent popover recipe I’ve come across. Even with the little one under feet, it has come out just about perfect every time.

So this will definitely grace this years Thanksgiving table, ready to sop up all the gravy. And don’t be surprised if it’s on the Christmas Eve roast dinner as well. Foolproof popovers, the perfect Thanksgivemas accompaniment.

Popovers

Foolproof Popovers (from Melissa d’Arabian)

3 tablespoons melted butter, divided
2 eggs
1 cup milk, warmed for 30 seconds in the microwave (should be lukewarm to warm)
1 cup (8 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Using a pastry brush, coat 8 muffin cups with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter and put the tin in the oven for 5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, mix the eggs in a blender until light yellow. Add the warmed milk and blend.

4. Add the flour, salt and remaining melted butter, and blend until smooth.

5. Pour the batter into the warmed muffin tin and return it to the oven to bake until golden, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve warm.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/melissa-darabian/fool-proof-popovers-recipe/index.html?oc=linkback

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Butternut Squash, Sausage, and Spinach Stuffing

Squash Stuffing

Ah butternut squash. Sweet and creamy, the perfect fall veg. Last week was Canadian Thanksgiving, so the hubs surprised me with fried chicken, mashed potatoes and brown gravy. Yes, fried chicken is indeed a proper substitute for roast turkey. So what was missing from this otherwise classic Thanksgiving dinner? Stuffing.

Stuffing is my favorite part of the holiday dinner, for sure. Especially when it’s cooked inside the bird, and the bread soaks up all the juices. Bread cubes saturated in poultry juice, heavenly! But when the dish is served outside the bird, it becomes the less flavorful cousin of stuffing, dressing.

Since one cannot stuff fried chicken (well I guess you could, but that’s for another post) what better way to liven up the boring dressing than with squash? Add some smoked sausage for a bit of meaty flavor, and throw in handfuls of baby spinach for some green and you’ve got the perfect Thanksgiving side. It was a weeknight, so to make things easy I went with a box of Stove Top. Of all the Thanksgiving food I like to make from scratch, stuffing is not one of them.  Perhaps I just haven’t tried a good homemade stuffing as of yet, but Stove Top just tastes better to me.  If you have a good stuffing recipe, let me know and I’ll try it. Until then, here is my doctored Stove Top stuffing, to go along with your fried chicken of course.

SquashStuffing2

Butternut Squash, Sausage and Spinach Dressing

1 box of Stove Top Stuffing (or your favorite boxed stuffing or homemade recipe, to feed 4)
2 cups diced butternut squash
1/2 lb diced smoked sausage
1 bag organic baby spinach
1 diced small onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 tsp ground sage
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 egg, lightly beaten
Olive oil
Baking spray
2 quart baking dish

1. Prepare stuffing according to directions.

2. In a medium sauté pan, fry smoked sausage and onion in a tablespoon of olive oil until slightly browned. Add garlic and squash and allow squash to lightly caramalize.

3. Add spinach and cook until wilted.

4. In a large bowl mix prepared stuffing, squash mixture, parsley, sage, nutmeg and egg until combined.

5. Pour into a 2 quart baking dish sprayed with baking spray. Bake for 30 minutes or until top is golden.