The Best of Thanksgiving: stuffing and dessert

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Tina Miller's linguica stuffing from Vineyard Harvest. – Alison Shaw

 

Pumpking crème brûlée. – Alison Shaw

These two recipes are from my cookbook, “Vineyard Harvest” (Broadway Books, 2005), with photographs by Alison Shaw. “Vineyard Harvest” highlights local food and eating in season. Fast-forward 14 years, and I am now working as an editor at Edible Vineyard magazine, with very similar themes celebrating local food and community.

These recipes are simple and beautiful for your Thanksgiving celebration.

 

Linguiça stuffing
Serves 10

Toast bread cubes the day before so they are nice and crisp and cool.

10 cups  large-dice or cubed bread (sourdough or French round)
6 Tbsp. butter
1½ cups diced onions
½ cup cleaned and sliced leeks (white part)
1½ cups diced celery
2 cups linguiça, sliced lengthwise and in half-moon shapes
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
1½ cups chicken broth

Preheat oven to 400°F. On a sheet pan, bake cubed bread for about 20 minutes, until completely crispy. Remove from the oven and set aside. 

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions, leeks, and celery, and sauté for about 10 minutes, until softened. Do not brown. Add linguiça, herbs, salt, and pepper. Cook another 5 minutes, combining ingredients. Add chicken broth and heat until almost boiling. Remove from heat. 

Add toasted bread cubes to a large bowl. Pour linguiça mixture over bread, and combine well until everything is coated evenly.

Gently stuff the turkey, not to overstuff, it will get too mushy. Bake turkey as preferred.  Add the rest of the stuffing to a casserole and bake stuffing at 375 F for about 20 minutes until lightly browned on top.

Pumpkin crème brûlée

Serves 6

2 cups heavy cream
¼ tsp. allspice
⅛ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground ginger
¾ cup pumpkin purée
5 egg yolks
½ cup sugar, plus some for topping custards

Preheat oven to 325°F. Heat cream on medium heat with spices in a heavy saucepan. When the cream begins to form small bubbles, turn off the heat and gently whisk in pumpkin purée. Beat the egg yolks and ½ cup measured sugar in a small bowl until light yellow. Slowly add about half the cream mixture to the bowl with the egg mixture. This will temper the eggs so they will not cook. Slowly whisk the rest of the cream mixture. Do not whisk too vigorously, or you will create bubbles.

Once the mixture is completely blended, using a fine strainer, strain mixture into a clean bowl. Ladle mixture into six 4-oz. ramekins.

Set ramekins in a metal baking dish, and add enough warm water to the baking dish to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for about an hour, until the center is almost set. Carefully remove from the oven; don’t slosh the water. Remove ramekins and refrigerate uncovered for at least 4 hours, or overnight to cool completely.

To serve: Ideally, use a kitchen torch to create a caramelized sugar crust, or you can broil, just watch carefully.

Do this by evenly sprinkling sugar over the top of the cooled custard and run a torch over, or broil. It will happen quickly once browning starts. Serve immediately.