I’ve never cooked a Thanksgiving meal. I’ve reheated meals I’ve bought from gourmet markets and I’ve helped by making a side dish and bringing it to a dinner someone ELSE cooked. I’m on track to avoid cooking again this year…But we’ll see. I was recently inspired to get a grip on Thanksgiving early by attending an interesting cooking class that taught us some great tips on cooking the big meal as well, allowed us to eat it and sent us off with leftovers and recipes! One of my best blogging buddies, Debbie of Manhattan Beach Momma arranged for a bunch of us LA area bloggers to attend a Thanksgiving Cooking Class at Simple Gourmet.
I learned some useful tips: 1) Get a fresh turkey. Frozen birds tend to dry out quicker during cooking. 2) Don’t cook a turkey over 18 lbs because it takes too long. If you need more turkey buy additional breasts and you can even cook them the day before and refrigerate them. On Thanksgiving, carve the breast and put in a pan with some turkey stock and cover with foil. Reheat at 350 degrees for 30 min.
I like stuffing. I never understood why it was sometimes, by some people, called “dressing”. I learned that night that stuffing is what is INSIDE the bird and dressing is cooked outside the bird. What remains a puzzle to me is…What if you have the exact same thing inside the bird and you have more of the same on the side in a dish baking in the oven? See? Thus, I prefer to use the word “stuffing” and to use “dressing” when I eat salads. That said, I will share with you a particularly intriguing side dish that was my favorite. It is a stuffing (dressing if you must) that has NO bread. Shake things up with your in-laws this Turkey Day and this out. Score extra points if someone needs to eat gluten-free.
Caramelized Parsnip and Farro Dressing with Sage Browned Butter
3 tbl butter
1 white onion, finely diced
4 cups finely diced parsnips
1 cup finely diced celery
1 tbl fresh chopped thyme
salt and pepper
6 cups cooked farro (to cook: add 3 cups to rapidly boiling water or stock. Cook until tender and drain)
2 tbl poultry seasoning (I recommend Bell’s Seasoning if you can find it)
1/3 cup turkey or chicken stock
1/2 cup grated parmesan
6 tbl butter
2 tbl chopped fresh sage
Heat a large skillet and add the 3 tbl of butter. Add the onions, parsnips, celery and thyme. Cook for 10-15 minutes over medium-high heat until veggies are soft and beginning to caramelize. Remove and season with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, toss together the farro, vegetable mixture and poultry (Bell’s) seasoning. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.
In another small bowl, whisk together the egg, stock and parmesan. Pour this mixture and the parsley into the farro and toss to combine.
Place a small pan with the 6 tbl of butter and sage over medium-high heat and cook until golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
Butter a 9×13 casserole dish and fill with the farro mixture and drizzle with the browned butter. Cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 15 more minutes until golden on top. Serve warm with extra gravy from the turkey.