Some years I cook a huge turkey and fill the table with guests. Last year, we had small turkey bites on skewers with sweet potatoes as I was in wine school during the day and didn’t have time to cook. I traveled from New York City to my mom’s house in Vermont for turkey sandwiches once in my twenties and it was one of the best Thanksgivings ever.
Every year is different for me by choice which also makes it easier for me to downsize in the pandemic. I’m not missing a continuous tradition but building yet another one.
This year, I worked all day and then sat down to a mini-Thanksgiving with my boyfriend with what are for me the Thanksgiving essentials, Brussels sprouts, stuffing, dinner rolls, and some turkey.
I cooked some fairly random turkey and made these Martha Stewart no-knead dinner rolls that I make for most American holidays as they are delicious and super easy. They are pictured above with a decanter of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. I also made Brussels sprouts and stuffing as they are two of my favorite foods. Recipes below!
Brussels sprouts with guanciale
- 15-20 Brussels sprouts
- 60 grams guanciale, pancetta, or bacon, cut into small cubes
- A pinch of red pepper flakes.
- Parmesan cheese
- Bring a large pot of water to boil and add a handful of coarse salt.
- Cook the Brussels sprouts in the boiling water until tender.
- Remove the Brussels sprouts, run under cold water, and cut each sprout in half.
- Cook the guanciale, pancetta, or bacon with the red pepper flakes in a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over low heat until the guanciale is crispy on the outside but still soft on the inside.
- Add the Brussels sprouts to the skillet and cook in the rendered fat on medium-high heat until golden and crispy.
- Add some parmesan cheese when they are almost done and cook over medium-high heat for about 30 seconds while tossing.
Stuffing with sage and pancetta
- 1/2 loaf country white bread, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for buttering the parchment paper
- 30 grams pancetta, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 celery stalks, sliced into moon shapes 1/4-inch-thick
- 6 sage leaves, minced
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 3/4 cup turkey, chicken, or vegetable broth
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- Salt (or colatura di alici) and black pepper
- Parchment paper and tin foil
- Preheat oven to 300° F (150° C).
- Spread bread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until dry and crispy. Toss occasionally and then remove and let cool.
- Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add onions, celery, and pancetta, and cook until soft and translucent.
- Add garlic and sage and season with black pepper and salt (or colatura di alici) and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Add the wine and cook until the smell of alcohol fades and then remove it from the heat.
- Heat oven to 375° F (190° C) and butter a baking dish.
- Place bread and onion mixture in a large bowl, drizzle with stock and stir to combine.
- Stir in eggs and transfer to the buttered baking dish.
- Top with parchment paper that has been buttered, drape with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
- Uncover and cook for another 40 minutes.