Stuffing Robot: Gonna Take You Right into the Recipe Zone!

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We’re taking you straight from the Danger Zone into our RECIPE ZONE!

Welcome to our first annual Thanksgiving blog series: Stuffing Robot! It’s a short week for everyone so we thought we’d make it go even quicker with our incredibly informative and delicious series of posts revolving around the most appetizing of holidays: Thanksgiving!

Also, the Stuffing Robot pun was too good to pass up.

Today we are going to share a few of our favorite recipes from the Stuffing Robot crew.  If you make each and every one of these dishes, your Thanksgiving will be the best and most talked about dinner of the year. People from all around the neighborhood will follow the smells emanating from your house, right into your living room. “Those smells are about to Take My Breath Away,” they’ll say.

So thaw that turkey, lock those doors, and get cooking. These recipes might be writing checks your appetite can’t cash!


Side Dishes

Pan Fried Bacon Brussel Sprouts
From Holly Amlin, Vegetable Dish Designer

Very delicious. Very smelly.

Very delicious. Very smelly.

Ingredients:

  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Bacon
  • Onion (chopped)
  • Salt & Pepper

Blanche those brussel sprouts and cut them right in half. Cut the bacon into small chunks and fry until slightly cooked. Let that bacon grease coat the pan completely! Now, sear the onion in the bacon fat for a just a little bit. Now add your halved brussel sprouts and cook until slightly charred. Finish it with the princes of all seasoning: salt and pepper. Great to make for Thanksgiving, or on those Hot Summer Nights.

Eat them all because leftover brussel sprouts are smelly.


Cranberry Sauce with Port and Dried Figs
From Peter David, Developer of Side Dishes

Ingredients:

  • 1 2/3 cups ruby Port
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 8 dried black Mission figs, stemmed, chopped
  • One 6-inch-long sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • One 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
  • 3/4 cup sugar

Options:

"Just drink the leftovers"

“Just drink the leftovers”

Make a double batch to use an entire bottle of port, or make one batch and drink a half bottle of port (see above image).

This recipe makes about 3 1/2 cups.

Preparation:

Remove the stems of the cranberries. Combine the first 6 ingredients in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes. Discard rosemary. Mix in cranberries and 3/4 cup sugar. Cook over medium heat until liquid is slightly reduced and berries burst, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Cool. Transfer sauce to bowl; chill until cold. (Cranberry sauce can be prepared 1 week ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated. Sneak early tastes while everyone is out Playing With The Boys and girls outside).


Salad Olivier (Russian Salad)
By Bill Salfelder, Turkey Support

This is a Russian recipe that is super important to every good meal with a Russian family! One of my favorites.

Russian Thanksgiving. Why not?

Russian Thanksgiving. Why not?

Ingredients:

  • 5-8 good size potatoes (depends on the potatoes you use. I use standard Russets, so 5 works. If you use Yukon Gold or Red it may take closer to 8)
  • 3-5 whole carrots (3 BIG carrots or 5 regular size ones)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 pound diced ham (no honey ham!)
  • 3/4 pound green peas
  • 3 or 4 dill pickles (you can use English cucumber if you want, but dill pickle is more traditional)
  • 1 to 1-1/2 cups mayonnaise (you can eyeball this, just make sure the salad is creamy)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

Boil the potatoes and carrots in their skin, once softened up cool them down and peel them. Hard-boil the eggs and peel them as well. Then chop the eggs, ham, potatoes, carrots and pickles in to 1/2 or 1/4 inch squares (the smaller the better).

Combine those in a large mixing bowl with the green peas and some salt (this is to taste, but any Russian cook will tell you that the secret to this salad is that everything is proportional, so equal amounts of taste for each ingredient.). Mix your dill and onion powder in with your mayo, then stir in mayo for the amount you are going to serve; if you intend on saving any of your chopped up ingredients don’t add mayo to them as they won’t keep well. Use as much mayo as you would like, be careful to not overdo it or use too little; the salad should be creamy but not just taste like mayo. If you want the real Russian experience, mix in a tablespoon of sour cream to the mayo you add; that is super traditional!

Let the mixed salad stand in the fridge for an hour or two until it sets, then serve and enjoy! Preeyatnava Apateeta!


 

Sam’s Sausage and Rice Stuffing
From Sam Miller, Senior Sausage Optimizer

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of spicy ground Italian sausage
  • 1 lb of sweet ground Italian sausage
  • 3 ribs celery – chopped
  • 1 medium onion – chopped
  • Small can of sliced black olives – rinsed
  • 6 – 8 cups of COOKED and cooled white rice
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts – lightly toasted in a dry pan
  • Parmesan cheese – 1/3 cup finely grated
  • 1 cup of dry white wine (I usually use chardonnay)
  • 2 – 3 cups of chicken broth
  • Poultry seasoning
  • Salt and pepper

Sauté the Italian sausage until cooked through, remove with slotted spoon and set on paper towel lined cookie sheet to “dry”.  Put onion and celery into fat remaining in pan (add some butter if needed) and cook until tender. Add white wine and 2 cups of chicken broth and stir well.

Now, the next part you can start right in the pan (if it is a really big saucepan, and you feel the need for speed) but if not just get a big bowl out and start by combining the meat, rice and onion/celery mixture. Add a few shakes of the poultry seasoning, Parmesan cheese, black olives and pine nuts.  If you need to get it a little moister, then add the additional cup of chicken broth.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Put it in a buttered baking dish to warm up in the oven.  Keep it covered in the oven when warming or the rice will get crunchy.  Enjoy!


The Main Event

Coconut Water Basted Turkey
By Bill Salfeder, Resident Turkey Expert

This is a recipe that I put together after watching how they roast pig in Hindu Bali. It takes some prep and attention, but it’s totally worth it. “Lead Me On this turkey journey!” you say? Ok!

Ingredients

  • 1 good size whole turkey (with Mighty Wings)
  • Vegetable stock
  • 2 liters coconut water
  • Salt
  • Brown Sugar
  • Peppercorns
  • White or Yellow Onions
  • Head of Garlic
  • Rosemary

Two days before roasting (that’s tomorrow, everyone!): Start thawing the turkey in the refrigerator. Make sure it’s not too cold (so not all the way in the back of the fridge).

Combine vegetable stock, 1 cup coconut water, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns in a large pot; bring to a boil. After a few minutes of boiling, turn off the heat on the burner and bring the brine to room temp. After that, refrigerate it as well.

Day of roasting – Get a 5 gallon bucket and put the brine (with some extra water) in the bucket; then take the turkey, breast-side down (and no innards) in the brine. Once the bird is completely submerged, cover it and let it sit for 3-5 hours in a cool place. Turn the bird around at least once during brining.

After brining is done, pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees (I know it seems like a lot, but trust me. I’ve been Through the Fire.). Rinse the turkey out with cold water and get rid of the brine. Add onions, garlic and a sprig of rosemary to the cavity in the bird and then rub the skin in canola oil until it’s completely covered (other oils work also, I’ve used EVOO before).

Roast the bird at 500 degrees for half an hour; then lower the oven temp to 350 degrees. Make sure you have a meat thermometer so you can make sure that it cooks to an internal temp of 160 degrees. A 15-20 pound bird should cook within 2 1/2 to 3 hours. During the roasting process keep a bowl with coconut water, salt and a bit of ground pepper around so you can either brush or baste the bird with a baster about every 30-45 minutes. Try to not do this too often or your oven temp will drop and the cooking time can get wonky, taking your turkey into Destination Unknown.

Once the internal temp of the bird exceeds 160 degrees you’re good to go! I serve this with standard stuffing and make sure to give everyone a slice of skin to try! The skin gets really tasty if done correctly.


Drinks

Cobra Clutch Cocktail
By Karen Locke, Pie-Eyed Strategist

In wrestling, a Cobra Clutch is cross-arm lock or cross-arm choke but on Thanksgiving it’s this distinguished and classy cocktail that will keep you sane even after being asked for the 4th time why you’re not married yet.

Take the largest punch bowl you can find.

Mix together the following:

  • 1/2 bottle of tequila
  • 1/2 bottole mezcal
  • 1/4 bottle of Becherovka herbal liqueur

A good splash of:

  • pineapple juice
  • lime
  • cane syrup

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Garnish with a mint sprig. After everyone’s had a few, try out this drink’s wrestling move namesake.


Dessert

Frozen Peanut Butter “Heaven In Your Eyes” Pie with Candied Bacon
By Robert Haydon, Dessert Strategist

I made this one year and everyone went nuts. They flipped out. The candied bacon resulted in a fist-fight for the last piece. Make it at your own risk.

Ingredients

  • 10 slices of thick bacon
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • About 35 chocolate wafers, finely ground in a blender or food processor (about 2 cups crumbs)
  • 3/4 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups chilled heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup salted roasted peanuts, finely chopped
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Currently on my desk.

Cook your bacon until it’s lightly browned on edges, but not crispy. Transfer to paper towels to remove the grease, then arrange back in the drained skillet. Sprinkle about 1/4 cup of sugar over the bacon and cook over low heat, constantly turning until the sugar dissolves and starts to caramelize. This can happen quick, so keep and eye on it and reduce heat if necessary. You’ll know it’s ready when the bacon look dark and shiny… LIKE CANDY. Transfer bacon to board to cool. After it’s cool, finely chop half of it into bacon bits. Eat one of the pieces of bacon, because you deserve it.

Stir together the wafer crumbs and butter, then press into the bottom and up the side of the 10″ pie plate. Chill in the fridge.

Heat remaining 1/2 cup sugar and milk in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and whisk in peanut butter and vanilla until combined well, then transfer to a bowl and cool completely in an ice bath (or freezer), stirring occasionally.

Beat cream with an electric mixer until it just holds stiff peaks, then fold into peanut butter mixture with peanuts and chopped bacon gently but thoroughly. Transfer filling to pie shell, smoothing top.

Cut the remaining bacon slices and decorate the top as you see fit. People will see this and their eyes will bug out, cartoon style. Freeze the pie until completely frozen. IMPORTANT! Take the pie out of the freezer and into the fridge a good 45 minutes before serving.


Oh noooooo, now we’re hungry! If you are Top Gun and end up making any of these EXCELLENT RECIPES, let us know on Facebook or tag us on Instagram!

Stay tuned for parts two and three of Stuffing Robot – posts so important to your Thanksgiving enjoyment that you will look back on previous Thanksgivings and wonder how you ever got along without them.

Salad Olivier Image Credit
Candied Bacon Image Credit
Brussel Sprouts Image Credit

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