For smaller Thanksgivings, you’ll need to make some substitutions. Can’t eat a whole turkey? Try just a breast, or a leg. Or skip it altogether. I’ve seen no evidence that turkey was served in 1621(or 1637), so how about some venison? Or some salmon? Eat what you love! You’re cooking solo this year and want roast pumpkin? How about a small yam or a delicata squash instead? Don’t feel like mashing potatoes? Have your guests make their own—serve baked russets and provide butter and crème fraîche to mix in. Green bean casserole is easily scaled down. You just need a smaller baking dish. If you are making a fresh-cranberry sauce, a hand blender will make quick work of it. Shopping at a farmers’ market allows you to choose exactly the amount of food you need instead of buying prepackaged ingredients portioned for a family of four in a grocery store. The quality is usually better—drawn from local and more sustainable sources—and, a pandemic plus, shopping outside is safer.
And if any of this sounds like living hell, then pick up the phone and order from your favorite restaurant. That’s actually what my partner and I are doing. She’s bringing home leftovers from her restaurant. God knows the hospitality industry can use all the help it can get right now.
The year is almost over. We can at least be thankful for that. And isn’t giving thanks the most important part of this day?
Anita Lo’s Foie Gras and Prune Stuffing
1 qt. stale plain French baguettes, bottom crusts removed and diced (not sourdough)
1 medium onion, diced
2 tbsp. butter
10 pitted prunes, cut into quarters
Armagnac, cognac, or port to cover
4 oz. foie gras mousse, roughly cubed
2 cups chicken stock (more or less, depending on dryness of the bread)
1 tbsp. chopped fresh chives
1/2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp. fresh tarragon, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
In a small sauté pan, sweat the onion in the butter on medium-low heat, stirring until soft and translucent, about five minutes. Add to a bowl with the cubed bread. Place the prunes and booze in a small pot and bring to a boil. Cook until almost dry. Add this to the bowl as well. Add remaining ingredients and stir, allowing the bread to soak up the chicken stock. The bread should be quite wet, but no stock should pool at the bottom—you may need to let the mixture sit a bit, then stir again so that the bread soaks up the liquid. Add more stock as necessary. Taste and adjust seasonings. Place in a shallow baking dish and bake at 375° until golden brown and crispy on top, about 45 minutes. Serve in the baking dish.
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