My husband and I traditionally celebrate our wedding anniversary by having an extravagant dinner at VOLT in Frederick, Maryland. It is the restaurant of Bryan Voltaggio, of Top Chef fame. On our 19th anniversary, we brought home an autographed cookbook after enjoying our lovely meal. Last Thanksgiving, I made two side dishes from this special book. ❤
This stuffing recipe was adapted from Home: Recipes to Cook With Family and Friends by Bryan Voltaggio. I modified the proportions and used prepared stock as well as store-bought sausage as shortcuts.
Both the cornbread and the poultry seasoning can be made days in advance, which is always helpful. It was interesting to me that the cornbread was made without a leavening agent, making it more dense than a typical cornbread. The stuffing had a deep celery flavor from the celery seed and chopped celery. Nice.
Yield: 10 servings
For the Cornbread:
nonstick cooking spray
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
5 T (1/3 cup, 75g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp (9g) fine sea salt
3 large eggs
2 tsp (12g) molasses, honey, or sorghum syrup
1/4 tsp (0.6g) freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup (240g) buttermilk
1 cup plus 2 1/2 T whole milk
2 2/3 cups (400g) all-purpose flour
2 cups (276g) cornmeal
For the Poultry Seasoning:
2 tsp (2g) finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp (0.5g) finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp (1g) finely chopped fresh sage
1 tsp (1g) finely chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp (2g) ground celery seed
1 tsp (2g) ground coriander
1 tsp (2g) onion powder
1/2 tsp (3g) fine sea salt
1/2 tsp (1.5g) freshly ground black pepper
For the Topping:
2/3 cup (50g) panko breadcrumbs
2 1/2 T (25g) poultry seasoning (above)
2 T unsalted butter, melted
For the Stuffing:
nonstick cooking spray
3 T extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil
4 1/2 cups (300g) freshly baked and cubed cornbread
1 pound loose sweet Italian pork sausage
2 medium onions, cut into 1/4-inch dice
3 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice
4 to 6 stalks celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chicken or turkey stock (preferably homemade)
For the Royale:
3 large eggs
1 cup (240g) milk or heavy cream
To Make the Cornbread:
Preheat the oven heat to 350 degrees F, preferably on convection. Spray or butter the bottom and sides of two 9-by-13-inch baking dishes. (One 13-by-18 inch casserole pan can be substituted.)
Put the sugar, 5 tablespoons butter and the salt in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes.
Beat in the eggs one at a time, waiting until each one is fully incorporated before adding another.
Beat in the molasses and nutmeg.
Reduce the mixer to low speed, add the buttermilk and milk, and beat until incorporated.
Add the flour and cornmeal, and beat on low speed until well combined.
Increase the speed to medium and beat until the batter is well-blended and thick, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times, 2 to 3 minutes.
Pour the batter onto the prepared baking dishes. Tap each dish on the counter to settle the batter.
Bake until the cornbread springs back lightly when pressed with your finger, 22 minutes on convection or up to 30 minutes in a standard oven.
Cool completely in the dish on a wire rack.
The cornbread may be made 3 days in advance, covered with plastic wrap, and held at room temperature.
To Make the Poultry Seasoning:
Combine the parsley, rosemary, sage and thyme in a small bowl.
Add the celery seeds, coriander, onion powder, salt and pepper. Toss to combine.
The seasoning can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
To Make the Topping:
Put the panko breadcrumbs in a medium bowl and add the poultry seasoning (the remainder may be used to season gravies and other holiday dishes).
Drizzle with the melted butter and toss with your fingers to moisten the breadcrumbs. Set aside.
To Make the Stuffing:
Preheat the oven heat to 325 degrees F, preferably on convection. Spray a 9-by-13-inch flameproof casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Cube the cornbread and put into a large mixing bowl.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat.
Add the sausage and cook, stirring and breaking it up into small pieces with the back of a spoon so it cooks evenly, until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the sausage to the cornbread.
Return the same skillet with the drippings to medium heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Once the oil is hot, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent, about 3 minutes.
Add the carrots and celery, season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until just tender, about 5 minutes. Add the vegetables to the cornbread and sausage.
Put the eggs in a blender to make the Royale. Start the blender on low-speed and mix until the eggs are just blended.
Put the milk or cream in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and heat until a thermometer registers 180 degrees F. Add to the eggs in the blender and mix on low speed until homogenized.
Add the egg mixture to the cornbread mixture.
Add 2 cups of stock. Season with salt and pepper.
Fold everything together with a rubber spatula until fully combined and the stock has mostly been absorbed. The stuffing will seem a little too wet before baking.
Spread the stuffing in the baking dish. Lightly tap the dish on the counter to even out the mixture in the pan.
Add the topping, letting it fall from your fingers in an even layer across the top.
Bake the stuffing until very hot and cooked through, 30 to 35 minutes.
Turn the broiler on high, and broil the stuffing until the crust is GBD (Golden Brown and Delicious), 3 to 5 minutes.
Serve family-style from the casserole dish.
Note: When blending hot liquids, first let cool for 5 minutes or so, then transfer to a blender, filling only halfway. Put the lid on, leaving one corner open; this will prevent the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Cover the lid with a kitchen towel to catch splatters and pulse until smooth.
I actually have a third tasty soup to share. This one is reminiscent of one of our family favorites, Lentil-Kielbasa Soup. Don’t worry- it’s not so similar that it will prevent me from making my tried and true lentil-sausage soup as well this season. 🙂
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Sarah Digregorio. I used French green lentils instead of black lentils, modified the proportions and incorporated a mixture of CSA greens including beet greens, broccoli greens and escarole. I also garnished the soup with my CSA parsley instead of basil.
This soup could easily be made on the stove top instead of in a slow cooker. I loved that it gobbled up my CSA greens too.
Yield: 6 servings
1pound hot or sweet Italian pork sausage, loose or removed from its casing
olive oil, if necessary
1large red or yellow onion, chopped
10 largegarlic cloves, chopped
1teaspoon onion powder
1teaspoon garlic powder
2oregano sprigs, leaves only, or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
generous pinch of red-pepper flakes
freshly ground black pepper
3/4cup dry white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
2cups dried lentils, preferably black beluga (I used French green lentils)
1(14-ounce) can whole or chopped tomatoes
8cups chicken stock
5ounces greens, such as baby spinach or kale, or 1 medium bunch greens, such as chard or kale, stemmed and chopped (I used a mixture of beet & broccoli greens with escarole)
1 T red-wine vinegar
chopped fresh parsley or basil, for garnish
grated Parmigiano Reggiano, for garnish
In a large, dry skillet over medium-high heat, cook the sausage, breaking it up with a spatula, until it is in small, coarse pieces, and starts to brown and sizzle in its own fat, about 8 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked sausage to a 5- to 8-quart slow cooker. There should be a thin layer of fat covering the bottom of the skillet. If there is much more than that, pour a bit of the fat off. If there is not enough fat to cover the bottom of the pan, add a drizzle of olive oil.
Add the onion to the skillet, season generously with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium-low, add garlic and cook until softened and fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Add the onion and garlic powders, the herbs, red pepper flakes and several generous grinds of black pepper. Stir to combine.
Increase heat to medium-high, pour in the wine and stir well, scraping the bottom of the pot. Let the wine bubble until the pan is almost dry, about 3 minutes.
Scrape the skillet mixture into the slow cooker with the sausage.
Add the bay leaf and the lentils.
Add the tomatoes with their juice. If using whole, crush the tomatoes into pieces using your hands as you add them with their juice.
Pour in the chicken stock.
Season generously with pepper and add 1/2 teaspoon salt if you are using low-sodium stock or 1 teaspoon salt if using homemade unsalted stock. Do not add salt now if you are using fully salted stock.
Stir well to combine all ingredients. Cover and cook on low until the lentils are tender, about 6 to 8 hours. (Taste the lentils to make sure they are firm but creamy on the inside; black lentils can vary in their cooking time depending on their age and the heat of your slow cooker.) The soup holds well on warm for 2 additional hours.
Switch the heat to high. Remove and discard the thyme sprigs. Stir in the greens and cook until wilted and tender, about 2 minutes for baby spinach, 10 minutes for kale.
Stir in the vinegar.
Serve in bowls, topped with chopped parsley and/or basil and grated Parmesan.
This quick recipe results in a full-flavored replica of a classic version that has simmered for hours. I served it to my family for our past two Mardi Gras feasts- followed by a mandatory King Cake, of course! 🙂
This recipe was adapted from David Guas, a New Orleans native and chef-owner of Bayou Coffee Bar and Eatery in Arlington, Virginia, via The Washington Post.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
8 ounces smoked, cooked pork sausage
2 15-oz cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 T canola oil
1 medium green bell pepper, stemmed and seeded, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 medium sweet onion, diced
7-8 scallions, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
6 cloves garlic, sliced
3 cups chicken stock
3 fresh thyme sprigs or 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
3 bay leaves
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
2-3 stems flat-leaf parsley, leaves minced
about 1-2 tsp coarse salt, to taste
1 cup white Basmati rice cooked in 2 cups chicken stock, for serving
hot sauce, for serving, optional
Cut the sausage in half lengthwise, then slice into half-moons.
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.
Add the sausage and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring a few times, so some of its fat renders. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the sausage to a shallow bowl.
Add the diced bell pepper, onion, scallions, and garlic to the rendered fat in the pot; stir to coat.
Increase the heat to medium-high and cook for 2 minutes, stirring, until just softened.
Add the beans, stock, thyme, bay leaves, black and cayenne peppers.
Reduce the heat to medium; cover and cook for 25 minutes.
Uncover and remove the bay leaves and thyme sprig stems with a slotted spoon.
Using the back of a wooden spoon, mash about 1 cup of the beans against the side of the pot, or until desired thickness is achieved.
Return the sausage to the pot. When heated through, stir in the parsley.
Serve hot, over cooked rice, with hot sauce, as desired. I have served it in individual bowls topped with a scoop of rice or in a serving dish over rice.
I am in love with kabocha squash- it is just so creamy and sweet. This dish may be the ultimate autumn casserole. It was a little bit involved to prepare but the results were worth every minute.
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit, contributed by Claire Saffitz. I slightly modified the proportions and method. Fabulous!
4 to 6 servings
1 small to medium kabocha squash
7 large garlic cloves
3 6-inch-long rosemary sprigs
½ cup heavy cream
freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch Tuscan kale (I used a 10 oz bag), ribs removed and torn into 1-2″ pieces (about 8 cups)
2 medium shallots
1 pound fresh pork sausage, such as sweet Italian (about 4 links)
2 cups crumbled cornbread, from a 6×4 inch piece
2 T unsalted butter
1 T olive oil
Bake cornbread. (I used Trader Joe’s Cornbread Mix.) Set aside to cool.
Position a rack in center of oven; preheat to 400°, preferably on convection.
Cut off stem end of kabocha squash and rest on cut side. Cut squash in half. Scoop out seeds and stringy innards with a spoon; discard. Cut squash into 1″-thick slices. Using your knife, slice off the tough peel and layer of light green flesh beneath.
Smash the garlic cloves with the side of the knife and remove peel.
Combine squash, garlic, rosemary sprigs, heavy cream, and ¼ cup water in a medium saucepan. Season generously with salt and pepper and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Cover pot and reduce heat to low. Simmer until squash is tender and easily mashes when pressed with the back of a spoon, 20-25 minutes.
Meanwhile, grasp stem end of each kale leaf. Starting at stem, slide your other hand along length of leaf to strip leaves. Repeat with entire bunch; discard stems. Tear leaves into 1″–2″ pieces (you should have about 8 cups).
Peel 2 shallots and thinly slice crosswise.
Use the tip of your knife to prick the sausages all over in several places.
Crumble cornbread into coarse crumbs (you should have about 2 cups).
When squash is tender, remove saucepan from heat. Uncover and pluck out rosemary sprigs, leaving leaves inside pot. Transfer entire mixture to a medium bowl (reserve saucepan) and mash with the back of a spoon or a potato masher until no distinct pieces of squash remain. Season with salt and pepper.
Wipe out pot with paper towels and heat over medium. Add butter and heat until melted. Add shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 4 minutes.
Add kale to the pot, a couple of handfuls at a time, stirring to wilt between each batch, and cook until leaves are dark green and wilted, about 3 minutes; season with salt and pepper.
Transfer to kale to the bowl with squash, then fold to incorporate.
Heat the olive oil in the same saucepan over medium and add sausage. Cook, turning once, until browned on both sides (they won’t be cooked through), about 6 minutes. Transfer to cutting board and let cool for a few minutes (reserve saucepan again and do not pour out fat from sausages–you’re going to use it one more time).
Meanwhile, using a rubber spatula, scrape squash and kale mixture into a shallow 2-qt. baking dish and smooth top. (I coated the baking dish with cooking oil spray.)
Cut sausages crosswise into 2″ pieces and nestle into top of squash mixture, spacing evenly.
Heat the drippings remaining in the saucepan over medium and add cornbread crumbs. Cook, stirring, just until crumbs are evenly coated in fat. Scatter cornbread crumbs over squash mixture; season with more salt and pepper.
Bake gratin until crumbs are toasty and brown and sausages are cooked through (you can insert an instant-read thermometer into center of sausage to check if registers 140°, or just cut into one with a knife), about 15 minutes.
So, this dish uses broccoli rabe instead of broccoli- but I’m still including it in my “series.” 🙂 This is a skillet version of one of my favorite classic Italian dishes. It was delightfully cheesy too.
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit, contributed by Claire Saffitz. I used large garlic cloves and decreased the broiling time to 2 minutes. We ate it with a large green salad. Absolutely delicious!!
1 pound ridged medium pasta shells, or large tube pasta, such as lumaconi or rigatoni
Place racks in center and upper third of oven; preheat to 325, preferably on convection.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, for the pasta. Salt generously.
Grate the Fontina cheese on the large holds of a box grater (you should have about 4½ cups).
Smash the garlic cloves, peel, and coarsely chop.
Pick all sage leaves from stems and set aside about 10. Finely chop remaining leaves (you should have about 1 tablespoon).
Trim tough dried ends from the broccoli rabe, then cut stems into 2″ pieces. Leave leafy ends long.
Heat a deep, large, ovenproof skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high. Add ¼ cup oiland swirl to coat.
Remove sausage from casings and add to skillet. Break into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook, undisturbed, until sausage is browned, about 4 minutes. Stir a couple of times and continue to cook, undisturbed again, until sausage is fully cooked through, about 3 minutes longer.
Add garlic, chopped sage, and red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring, until garlic is golden, about 2 minutes.
Stir in half-and-half and simmer until sauce is thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low.
Gradually add about two-thirds of cheese, bit by bit, stirring constantly and letting cheese melt completely before adding more, until sauce is smooth and thick, about 3 minutes; season with salt and remove from heat.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in boiling salted water 2 minutes shy of package instructions (8–10 minutes depending on type).
During the last 2 minutes, add all of broccoli rabe to pot with pasta. Drain in a colander and shake several times to remove excess water. Return pasta and broccoli rabe to empty pasta pot.
Add cheesy sausage mixture from skillet to pot with pasta. Stir until pasta and broccoli rabe are coated in sauce, then transfer everything back to skillet.
Cover skillet tightly with foil and bake on center rack until pasta is tender and sauce is bubbling, 30–40 minutes. Let rest a few minutes while you heat broiler.
Remove foil and top with remaining cheese.
Toss sage leaves with remaining 1 T oil in a small bowl and arrange over pasta.
Broil until cheese is browned and bubbling in spots, about 2 to 5 minutes (depending on strength of broiler).
I have two versions of one of my favorite classic Italian dishes to share. This is the broccoli-loaded “healthier” version.
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Adam Rapoport. I increased the amount of broccoli, modified the proportions, and used sweet Italian sausage. It was a quick and tasty weeknight meal.
Yield: 6 servings
1 1/2 to 2 pounds of broccoli florets
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
4 to 6 garlic cloves, smashed
12 to 14 ounces fresh sweet or hot Italian sausage (about 3-4 links), casings removed
crushed red pepper flakes
14 to 16 ounces orecchiette
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1½ ounces Parmesan, finely grated (about ½ cup), plus more for serving
Cook broccoli in a large pot of salted boiling water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer broccoli to a colander and let cool (save pot of water for cooking pasta).
Chop broccoli into small pieces; set aside.
Heat 2 T oil in a large skillet over medium. Cook garlic, shaking skillet occasionally, until it starts to turn golden, about 2 minutes.
Add sausage and a generous pinch of red pepper flakes and break up meat into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring occasionally and continuing to break up sausage, until it is browned and cooked through, 6–8 minutes.
Bring reserved pot of water to a boil and cook pasta until barely al dente, about 9 minutes (set a timer for 3 minutes less than the package instructions; it will cook more in the skillet).
Meanwhile, ladle about ½ cup pasta cooking liquid from pot into skillet with sausage and add blanched broccoli. Keep mixture at a low simmer, stirring often and mashing with spoon to break up sausage even more, until pasta is finished cooking.
Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer pasta to skillet, then ladle in ½ cup pasta water. Cook, stirring, until pasta absorbs most of the liquid and is just al dente, about 4 minutes.
Add butter and stir until melted, then transfer pasta to a large bowl.
Gradually add 1½ oz. Parmesan, tossing constantly until you have a glossy, emulsified sauce.
Serve pasta topped with more Parmesan and red pepper flakes and a drizzle of oil.