As the countdown to Thanksgiving continues, many of those hosting are already planning their menus, and stuffing is on many, if not all, of those menus. Stuffing is a versatile part of the Thanksgiving spread because it lets you get creative and can be made vegetarian- and vegan-friendly without losing all its savory nomness.
We’re not kidding about versatility, either. This lightened-up traditional stuffing recipe from Skinnytaste.com combines French bread, bacon (optional), onion, celery, sage and parsley, and is baked for just 20 minutes or until the bread feels entirely firm. No encroaching on the time that bird needs to spend in the oven here.
This rustic herb stuffing recipe from What’s Gaby Cooking combines fresh parsley, oregano, sage and thyme, and includes grated Parmesan cheese for an extra savory kick.
We were especially wowed, however, with this recipe for Thanksgiving “dressing” polenta triangles, because, well, because polenta! The recipe comes from Marcus McEntire, who hosts a regular cooking class series in the storefront Viking kitchen of his small business in Okla.
Melt 1/4 cup butter in a French oven or casserole pan over medium heat; add onion, celery and garlic (these can be minced in a food processor), and sauté 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. Add the broth and bring to a boil; gradually stir in cornmeal. Add the sage, salt and pepper to taste. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring often, 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parmesan cheese.
Pour the mixture into a lightly greased 13x9 baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap or foil, and chill 3 to 12 hours or until firm. Cut polenta into triangles. This recipe should make about 12 triangles.
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large nonstick frying pan that is set over medium-high heat. Add a few polenta triangles cook them for 2 to 4 minutes on each side. They will brown nicely; if they do not brown, increase the heat. Transfer to a serving dish and keep them warm. Simply repeat this process until all the triangles are cooked. Serve 2 triangles per person, and use the triangles as a base for turkey.
Marcus McEntire is co-owner of Distinctive-Decor.com with his wife, Leigh. They started the online retail company in 1999 and have grown the business to include a 17,000-square-foot retail and warehouse space in Duncan, Okla.