Foothill gourmet: Two excellent holiday recipes

By From page B2 | November 26, 2012

Donna Brown


Our family enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving repast.

Now, I have two excellent recipes to share for the Christmas holidays: sweet potato, pecan and cranberry surprise and Terri’s favorite cornbread-sausage stuffing with apples.

My sister made sweet potato, pecan and cranberry surprise for Thanksgiving dinner and my good friend Terri shared with me a delicious cornbread-sausage stuffing with apple.

Sweet potato, pecan and cranberry surprise — Ingredients: 2/3 cup dried cranberries, 1/3 cup chopped pecans, 1/3 cup light brown sugar, 3 tablespoon butter melted, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg, and 2 pounds sweet potatoes or yams.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a 9-inch round cake or pie pan with aluminum foil and coat with nonstick cooking spray. In a small bowl, mix together the cranberries, pecans, brown sugar, melted butter, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside. Peel the sweet potatoes and slice very thin. My sister, sliced all by hand, but if you have a food processor with a slicing attachment that also works. Spoon 1/3 of the cranberry-pecan mixture on the bottom of the prepared cake pan. Arrange 1/3 of sweet potato slices in concentric circles, overlapping in the bottom of the pan. Spread another 1/3 of the cranberry mixture over the potatoes. Arrange the next 1/3 of sweet potato slices and top with the remaining 1/3 of the cranberry-pecan mixture. Last, arrange the remaining potato slices on top.
Coat a sheet of aluminum foil with nonstick cooking spray and lightly place it over the potatoes. Bake for 45 minutes, remove the foil, and continue baking for another 20 minutes, or until brown and crisp on top and sweet potatoes are tender. Place a serving plate or cake plate on top of the cake pan and invert immediately. Remove the foil from top and serve. Makes eight servings.

Terri’s favorite cornbread-sausage dressing with apples — Ingredients: 6 tablespoons sweet butter, 2 ½ cups finely chopped yellow onions, 3 tart apples (Jonathan and Winesap are good) cored and chunked; do not peel, 1 pound lightly seasoned bulk sausage (Terri uses breakfast sausage with sage), 3 cups coarsely crumbled cornbread (homemade is excellent), 3 cups crumbled whole wheat bread, 3 cups coarsely crumbled white bread ( French or homemade preferred), 2 tablespoons dried thyme, 1 tablespoons dried sage, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, ½ cup Italian parsley, chopped, and 1 ½cups shelled pecan halves.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a skillet. Add onions and cook over medium heat, partially covered, until tender and lightly colored, about 25 minutes. Transfer onion mixture to a large mixing bowl. Melt remaining butter in same skillet. Add apple chunks and cook over high heat until lightly colored but not mushy. Transfer apples and butter to the mixing bowl. Crumble the sausage into the skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring, until lightly browned. With a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to the mixing bowl and reserve the rendered fat. Add remaining ingredients to the ingredients in the mixing bowl and combine gently. Cool completely before stuffing the bird, refrigerate if not used promptly. Spoon stuffing into a casserole. Cover casserole and set into a larger pan. Pour hot water around the casserole to reach halfway up the sides of the casserole pan. Bake for 30-45 minutes at 325 degrees basting occasionally with cooking juice from the bird or with the reserved sausage fat if necessary. Serves 12 to 14.

Donna Brown

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