This time of year, it seems every wine writer does the obligatory article about the ideal wines to pair with the traditional Thanksgiving menu. Haven't we resolved this one yet, can't we all agree that Dry Gewurztraminer and Pinot Noir are the perfect wines for your table and move on to the really controversial topic...STUFFING.
Yes, stuffing. Not 'dressing.' Even the damn name is controversial.
For the last 20 years, I've hosted large groups of wine-loving adults for a potluck Thanksgiving, and not one has ever disputed the wine pairing. But emotions run high when we try to decide who is going to bring the stuffing.
Cornbread vs. Wheat bread. Pork, oyster, chestnut, vegetarian or vegan. In the bird or in a tray. Every one of my friends has passionate, specific, inflexible opinion on what constitutes the best Thanksgiving stuffing.
We resolve it by having everyone bring their own, which usually means four or five trays, and yes, it gets competitive. But there's no contest. Mine is always gone first. Granted, I can eat more than anyone.
Years ago, Nancy Bundschu shared her traditional recipe with wine club members. It sounds delicious, and I've always wanted to make it on another occasion, but uh, yeah, there is no way I am testing that out on Thanksgiving.
Our recipes are below. Like you care. Please tell us what makes YOUR stuffing recipe the ideal pairing for Turkey & Gewurztraminer.
NANCY BUNDSCHU'S CORN BREAD DRESSING
Corn Bread--follow your favorite recipe
2 T. Butter
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
2/3 cup chopped celery
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can chicken broth
1 cup chopped chicken-apple sausage
1 1/2 t. dried thyme
1 t. dried sage (can use fresh too)
3/4 t. black pepper
1 1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried fruit (apricots, cranberry, dates, apples) macerated in gewürztraminer one hour
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Preparation: Preheat oven to 400. Cut corn bread into 1-inch cubes. Place in a large bowl and set aside. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion, bell pepper, and celery; cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in 3/4 cup broth, sausage and thyme, sage and black pepper. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Pour vegetable mixture over corn bread, stirring well. Stir in dried fruit, pecans and parsley. Combine remaining broth and eggs; pour over corn bread mixture, tossing well. Spoon into cavity of turkey or chicken and lace up, or spoon into 13 x 9 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.
Cover and bake at 400 for 15 minutes. Uncover, bake an addition 15 minutes or until browned. Or follow cooking instructions for the weight of your bird, always making sure your stuffing is throughly cooked inside the cavity of the bird.
THE BEST (& EASIEST) STUFFING EVER (aka Susan's favorite)
2 bags Pepperidge Farm Herb Stuffing (BLUE package, not the cubed kind!)
1 onion, finely diced
1.5 lbs pork sausage - I prefer the Whole Foods sage in bulk, but any mild Italian is fine, casings removed
Chicken broth and butter (see stuffing package for details)
Boil broth and butter as directed on the stuffing package. Saute the onions in olive oil until soft, then add the sausage and cook thoroughly while breaking it up into a fine mince. Add stuffing to broth and combine well, then add sausage and onion and combine well. Yes, include all the drippings, it is Thanksgiving. Bake in the bird or in a covered tray, as you wish.