I know you are probably thinking that title has a typo….It really is called United States of Thanksgiving Dressing. America is implied in that name. If you are like me, you get a little nostalgic around this time of year. I have so much to be thankful for and as an American, I really love to celebrate Thanksgiving.
Nothing makes you appreciate American Thanksgiving history and tradition more than living abroad. For the seven years that we lived outside of the United States, November would come and go in other countries with nothing but a regular workday. Nobody stopped to assess and cherish, take flights to family across the country, no one celebrated Thanksgiving of course, because it is uniquely our story ….except for the Americans that seemed to find each other and gather together at night after work to bring their food, faith, differences, similarities and American foundation together.
During those years I tasted family recipes from San Francisco to Cape Cod and Chicago to Baton Rouge. Whoever we were with …well, we were just all Americans and it was all good. Friendships were forged and traditions from different parts of the United States collided together at the same table far from home. One thing in common. American.
We weren’t Pilgrims or anything but we did know what it was like to be far from the Mothership like the Pilgrims and out of those fun times came this…
The Best United States of Thanksgiving Dressing Recipe that morphed out of some of those meals and it is truly delicious. It’s great to cook today, tomorrow or Thursday for your crowd because it’s a side full of flavor for your Thanksgiving table. The full printable recipe is at the bottom of my blog.
This dressing is really easy and just combines so many flavors together.
Apricots, Almonds and Dried Cranberries…. a little Grand Marnier.
Ground Pork sausage…sometimes we use hot and sometimes plain or sage flavored. Or I add fresh sage.
Fresh cornbread mixed with store bought dressing mix….
First, you need to make the cornbread by the box instructions except pour it into a rectangular pyrex like this one instead of muffin cups.
While the cornbread was cooking, I cooked the Hot Pork Sausage breaking it up as it cooked.
I cut up some fresh sage that you can see here in the skillet….I use my kitchen scissors to cut up my herbs to small snips. The sage adds a really nice flavor to the spicy sausage. I broke the sausage up more than you can see here to smaller pieces….when it’s cooked through just drain it in a colander in the sink.
Leave the sausage bits and oil in the pan and add two cloves of chopped garlic, two cups of chopped celery and two cups of chopped onion. If you’re short on time, buy it chopped. If not, use that cuisinart or your knife skills! Zip, Zip done.
Add two tablespoons of butter to the same sausage skillet and throw in the garlic….stir some and then add the onion and celery to saute, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon for about 4 minutes or until soft and transluscent.
While the onions and celery are sauteeing, I soaked my dried cranberries in the Grand Marnier and chopped the apricots.
When the onions are done, just turn the fire off. In a new skillet I added a pat of butter and some fresh thyme….
Then I added the apricots and stirred them for about a minute. Then I added the cranberries and Grand Marnier, a pinch of salt, pepper and sugar. Stir for 3 minutes on medium low heat.
Ok, now the kitchen smells amazing….cornbread in the oven, all that sage and sausage and now these herbs and fruit and onions….mmmmmm!!!
Cornbread needs to cook until golden…which was 10 more minutes than the package said. Sometimes I leave it on the counter overnight covered to dry out a little. Today, I’m just throwing it in fresh.
Next I toasted some sliced almonds on a cookie sheet until golden brown…They smell really good….
Heres the fun part…
I put the sausage, half a bag of dry Pepperidge Farm dressing mix, my whole pan of cornbread all broken up, all of the onions and celery, all of the fruit cooked down with its yummy sauce and the almonds. I added salt, pepper and some chopped rosemary.
Then add all of the chicken broth.
Stir it all up, fold it over and over and taste it for seasoning.
It should be wet but not soupy and full of flavor. Make sure you like your salt and pepper levels.
Spread it in a pan and top with some tiny pats of butter. You could cover and refrigerate it at this point to bake later or the next day. If you make two or more days in advance, cover well and freeze it to then thaw and bake on Thanksgiving day. Be sure to leave plenty of time to thaw.
Bake for 30 – 40 minutes on 375 degrees. It should be toasty on top and moist all inside.
It is really good and will make you grateful to be an American…or even just ALIVE all over again!
1 Timothy 1:12 & 17
I am grateful to the one who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord, ….Now to the eternal king, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever! Amen.
Happy United States of Thanksgiving!