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Recipe: Make ahead dishes for Thanksgiving

Cornbread Andouille Stuffing, anyone? Here's some more fantastic dishes you can make a day or two ahead, and simply reheat on Thanksgiving.

Cornbread Andouille Stuffing  (From Cooks Illustrated)

12 cups cornbread broken into 1-inch pieces (include crumbs), spread in even layer on 2 baking sheets, and dried in 250-degree oven 50 to 60 minutes
3 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups half-and-half 
2 large eggs , beaten lightly
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), plus extra for baking dish
2 red bell peppers , cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3 medium onions , chopped fine (about 3 cups)
3 rib celery , chopped fine (about 1 1/2 cups)
4 - 5 chipotle chiles en adobo , chopped (about 4 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves 
2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves , minced
3 cloves garlic , minced
1 1/2 pounds andouille sausage , cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon kosher salt 
2 teaspoons ground black pepper 

1. Place cornbread in large bowl. Whisk together stock, half-and-half, and eggs in medium bowl; pour over cornbread and toss very gently to coat so that cornbread does not break into smaller pieces. Set aside.

2. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in heated skillet; when foam subsides, add red bell peppers to skillet along with a third of the onion and celery. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes, and transfer to medium bowl. Return skillet to heat and add remaining 4 tablespoons butter; when foam subsides, add remaining onion and celery and sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in chipotle chiles en adobo, along with thyme, sage, and garlic. Add this mixture, along with sautéed onions and celery and andouille sausage, into cornbread and mix gently so that cornbread does not break into smaller pieces. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate to blend flavors, at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours.

3. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Butter 10 by 15-inch baking dish (or two 9-inch square or 11- by 7-inch baking dishes). Transfer stuffing to baking dish; pour any liquid accumulated in bottom of bowl over stuffing and, if necessary, gently press stuffing with rubber spatula to fit into baking dish. Bake until golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.

Pumpkin Flan with Spiced Pumpkin Seeds (From Gourmet magazine)

For caramel and flan:
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
5 whole large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk

1 (15-ounce) can solid-pack pumpkin (1 3/4 cups; not pie filling)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt

For spiced pumpkin seeds:
1 cup green (hulled) pumpkin seeds (1/4 pound; not toasted)
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne

Special equipment: a 2-quart soufflé dish or round ceramic casserole dish
Make caramel:

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Heat soufflé dish in oven while making caramel.

Cook 1 cup sugar in a dry 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, undisturbed, until it begins to melt. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a fork, until sugar melts into a deep golden caramel. Wearing oven mitts, remove hot dish from oven and immediately pour caramel into dish, tilting it to cover bottom and side. (Leave oven on.) Keep tilting as caramel cools and thickens enough to coat, then let harden.

Make flan:

Bring cream and milk to a bare simmer in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, then remove from heat. Whisk together whole eggs, yolk, and remaining cup sugar in a large bowl until combined well, then whisk in pumpkin, vanilla, spices, and salt until combined well. Add hot cream mixture in a slow stream, whisking.

Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, scraping with a rubber spatula to force through, and stir to combine well. Pour custard over caramel in dish, then bake in a water bath until flan is golden brown on top and a knife inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 1/4 hours. Remove dish from water bath and transfer to a rack to cool. Chill flan, covered, until cold, at least 6 hours.

Make spiced pumpkin seeds while flan chills:

Toast pumpkin seeds in oil in a 10- to 12-inch heavy skillet (preferably cast-iron) over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until puffed and golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Toss with salt and cayenne until coated.

To serve:

Run a thin knife between flan and side of dish to loosen. Shake dish gently from side to side and, when flan moves freely in dish, invert a large platter with a lip over dish. Holding dish and platter securely together, quickly invert and turn out flan onto platter. (Caramel will pour out over and around flan.) Sprinkle flan with spiced pumpkin seeds just before serving.


Here's a link to a Leek Bread Pudding by Thomas Keller, one of America's finest chefs.


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