Thursday, December 30, 2010

Holly Jolly Christmas 2010.

Christmas 2010 was definitely holly and jolly. Not only did I have four days off, but I got to spend time with family and friends, socializing, cooking, and eating - what we do best! And isn't that part of the blessing of the holiday season??? Weeks before Christmas, my dad, stepmom and stepsister started planning the Christmas meal. I offered to make dessert and my Nana's traditional stuffing. We settled on a menu and at the last minute a few additional changes were made, but here's what we ended up with:

BBQ chicken and ribs (made by Dad and served with a traditional BBQ sauce and an apricot mint spicy sauce (Bobby Flay recipe);
Potatoes Au Gratin (made by Clarissa);
Traditional Stuffing (made by yours truly);
Green Bean Casserole (made by Clarissa);
Creme Brulee (made by Uncle Stormy); and
Molten Lava Chocolate Cakes (made by Madame Munchies).

Everything turned out fantastic, each dish was flavorful and complimented one another very well. Prior to making the stuffing, I had consulted my Nana about a few steps she didn't include in her recipe and I ended up tweaking it and making it my own. There's nothing like my Nana's stuffing and I think I actually improved it.

Nana's Traditional Stuffing (adapted by Madame Munchies)
Serves 8-10

2 large white onions, chopped fine
3-4 celery stalks, chopped fine
1/2 pint of button mushrooms, chopped fine
3-4 carrots, peeled and chopped fine
4 tbs. unsalted butter
3-4 tbs. fresh thyme, chopped
15 oz. seasoned croutons
1 head of roasted garlic
1 lb. turkey necks
1 lb. turkey giblets
salt and pepper

In a large stockpot, add the turkey necks and giblets, cover with water and bring to a boil. Skim the foam and reduce to a simmer for 2-3 hours. Continue to skim as it simmers. Add more water to the pot, if any of the turkey parts are no longer submerged in water. When the stock is ready, strain and save the turkey necks. Discard the giblets. When cool to the touch, pull apart meat from turkey necks and chop finely.

While the giblet broth is simmering, heat a large skillet and add the butter. After the butter has melted, add the chopped onions, celery, carrots, and mushrooms. Saute until soft and add the fresh thyme. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large mixing bowl, add the seasoned croutons, sauteed veggies, turkey meat, and roasted garlic. Mix together well. With a ladle, add the giblet broth to the crouton mixture and incorporate. Add additional broth, until the mixture is moist but not super soggy. Season to taste.

Put the stuffing into a lightly greased 9x13 pan and bake at 350-375 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

I failed to get a picture of the molten chocolate lava cakes, but the link above gives you the visual as well as the recipe. A super easy dessert and it's also rather impressive for entertaining. Instead of serving it with it freshly whipped cream, I bought a pint of vanilla bean ice cream. Decadent, rich and uber chocolately, it was the perfect ending to an already coma-induced meal.