When she hosted Thanksgiving dinners at our house, my mother would put chestnuts in the stuffing and a couple of strips of bacon atop the turkey. My wife’s mother used ground beef and raisins in her stuffing recipe. My wife generally uses ground turkey meat and raisins. Last year we didn’t have any ground turkey on hand so she had to improvise. Our son had stopped at Jack’s Bar-B-Que in Nashville on his way home. My wife put some of the leftover pulled pork in the stuffing and it was amazing. We did it again this year, also adding a diced apple but fewer raisins. This year, she made maple cranberry sauce, using a bag of fresh cranberries.
We cooked the bird using Alton Brown’s popular recipe, which requires a thermometer similar to the fancy digital wireless one my sister gave me several years ago. For simplicity, we bought a jar of The Spice Hunter Turkey Brine at Food City. The strips of bacon we put on top left tan lines on the turkey skin.
We had intended to cook rice inside a sugar pumpkin, which was something our friends in Burbank did every year. When our son requested snow-capped broccoli and roasted garlic mashed potatoes as side items, we decided to skip the rice pumpkin. There were already enough starches on the menu. Snow-capped broccoli is a recipe we got from fellow parishioners in Knoxville. The “snow” is made from meringue and Parmesan cheese, as opposed to the miniature marshmallows on top of the sweet potato casserole.
My wife had just taken her chocolate pecan pie out of the oven when we saw Chef Marcel Cocit make the exact same thing on TV. His cooking segments were used as filler during the CBS telecast of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Marcel said the chocolate chips were a “secret ingredient.” My wife got the recipe from our Burbank friends over ten years ago, so somebody must have blabbed.