The Mistress of Sarcasm has been visiting with us in Atlanta this week, having managed to score a few days off from work. Sadly enough, she will have to head back to Savannah in order to work over the long holiday weekend, so she will not be at our Thanksgiving table this year.
For that matter, we will not be at our own Thanksgiving table this year. In a rare instance of Letting Someone Else Do The Heavy Lifting, we have accepted the invitation of our friends JoAnn and Gary to dine with them.
We did not want to send the Mistress away without a chance to enjoy the Thanksgiving experience, however, so She Who Must Be Obeyed whipped up a Faux Turkey-Day yesterday evening.
The menu was pretty straightforward: a roasted turkey breast (tough toenails to the Dark-Meat Aficionado), the Infamous Green Bean Casserole, jellied cranberry sauce from the Ocean Spray can. Prosaic dishes all, but classics in their own way.
Oh, and the stuffing. The finest stuffing I have ever set teeth to.
We found this recipe back when it was published in Cuisine magazine (sadly, now defunct), in the December 1982 issue. Since that time, I doubt if we’ve gone a single year without making it. And now, it’s time to lob it over the Internet Fence at my Esteemed Readers:
Sausage-Rice Stuffing with Parmesan, Pine Nuts, and Raisins
According to Cuisine, this recipe comes from Antoinette Abruzzese of Milton, New York, and is two generations old (which would make it three generations old by now).
¼ cup golden raisins
3 tbsp pine nuts
3 cups water
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp salt
1½ cups long-grain rice
1 cup finely minced onion
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
¼ cup finely chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
3 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, well beaten
Freshly ground black pepper
In a small heatproof bowl, cover the raisins with boiling water and let stand about 15 minutes, or until raisins are plump. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts over low heat using a dry heavy skillet. You want them evenly browned – not scorched! – so stir them often. This should take about 5 minutes. Remove from heat when done. Drain the raisins.
Heat 3 cups water and 2 tbsp butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat until boiling. Stir in the rice, turn the heat to low, and cover. Cook until rice is tender and has absorbed the liquid, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
In a large heavy skillet over medium heat, melt the remaining 4 tbsp of butter. After the foam subsides, add the minced onion. Reduce the heat to low and sauté the onion, stirring frequently, until translucent and soft – about 15 minutes. Remove the sausage meat from the casings and crumble the sausage into the skillet. Jack up the heat to medium and cook the sausage and onion mixture until the sausage is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Drain through a sieve and reserve the meat mixture and the drippings separately.
In a large bowl, combine the cooked rice, raisins, toasted pine nuts, sausage and onion mixture, parsley, grated Parmesan, and egg, stirring until thoroughly blended. Stir in 3-4 tbsp of the sausage drippings – just enough to flavor and moisten the mixture. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Let cool to room temperature before using.
For a kosher version, use kosher turkey Italian sausage, pareve margarine in lieu of butter, and non-dairy “Parmesan” cheese substitute.
Generally, She Who Must Be Obeyed will double or triple this recipe and heat it up in the oven before serving, rather than using it to stuff a bird. You will want to make enough to last for several days – it’s serious!