This year, I decided to make two different dressings at Thanksgiving: next to the Roasted Jalapeno & Cheddar Cornbread dressing will sit this beauty. Because nothing says “I am thankful” to your loved ones like pushing multiple vats of carbs on them like it’s meth.
When my daughter came home from a weekend away at Gram’s house with two bags of pecans from their trees, I decided our favorite dressing would go ahead and make an appearance at Thanksgiving, but not before getting a Texas makeover.
Out with the roasted chestnuts and sausage, in with roasted Texas pecans and chorizo.
Chorizo is a Mexican sausage that’s spiced with cumin, chile powder, garlic, and oregano among other things. It’s a staple around here for breakfast tacos and it adds a delicious twist to what is already The World’s Greatest Thanksgiving Dressing.
If we don’t speak before Thursday, have a safe and happy Thanksgiving! And don’t forget to enter this week’s My Favorite Things Holiday giveaway. I’ll be back next week with my contributions to a progressive holiday dinner. SO much fun!
I should really go clean now. Because nobody judges dusty baseboards and a missed splatter on a kitchen floor tile quite like family.
Roasted Pecan and Chorizo Dressing
A Texas twist on the classic holiday dressing with chorizo and roasted pecans.
1 cup chopped pecans
1 medium carrot, peeled and rough chopped
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 green onions, roughly chopped
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
1/2 bunch sage leaves
1 handful flat-leaf parsley
2 cloves garlic
1 lb chorizo, removed from casing and crumbled
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
~1.5 lb loaf bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (enough to fill a 9x13 dish; I used a mixture of sourdough and multigrain)
1 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 large eggs
Preheat oven to 375.
Line a baking sheet with foil and spread pecans on top; cook for ~7 minutes until browned and fragrant.
Butter or spray a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Place the pecans and bread cubes into a very large bowl (or 2 not-so-large bowls - you need room to toss the bread with the other ingredients).
In a food processor puree the carrot, onions, celery, sage, parsley, bell pepper, and garlic until you have a fine pulp.
Set a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the sausage to the pan, cooking through about 5-7 minutes.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the sausage and place in the bowl with the bread
Add the vegetable pulp to the pan and saute until most of the moisture has evaporated.
Season liberally with salt and pepper and transfer to the bread bowl.
Whisk together chicken stock, cream, and eggs. Pour over the bread and toss to mix and coat well.
Transfer dressing into the prepared dish and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown on the top.
There’s also some broccoli in there, too. All the food groups represent: cheese, carbs, leftover protein, and green stuff. If that doesn’t scream balance, then I do not know if there’s help for you.
With the coldest night since April on tap for us tonight – 44F, BRRRRR! – I wanted something warm and not-chili for dinner. I took the house – and Thanksgiving favorite – Cheesy Broccoli and Quinoa Casserole and grabbed a can of chipotles and that leftover shredded chicken in the fridge that needed to be eaten, like, yesterday.
It’s still all the things you love about the traditional broccoli, cheese, and rice casserole: one baking dish, cheesy, gooey, not-very-pretty comfort food. But this version, it gets a little added kick from stirring a few tablespoons of minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce into the cheese sauce.
It’s a little spicy. It’s still super cheesy. And insanely comforting.
Cheesy Chipotle Chicken and Rice Casserole
The cheesy comfort food favorite gets a spicy kick from chipotle peppers.
1.5 cups uncooked white rice (or enough to yield 3 cups cooked, check your package instructions)
16 oz frozen chopped broccoli
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cups milk
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp minced chipotles in adobo sauce*
Salt and pepper, to taste
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cups leftover shredded chicken
*I put the entire can into a mini-chopper and mince and then save the leftovers in the fridge. Or freezer.
Preheat oven to 400.
In a medium sauce pan, cook the rice in water with a generous pinch of salt, according to package, directions and then set aside.
In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter.
Whisk in the flour, onion, garlic, 2-3 tablespoons of minced chipotles (if you're sensitive to heat, start with 2), a generous pinch of salt and black pepper.
Let cook 1-2 minutes and then slowly add the milk, whisking until the sauce is smooth.
Let the sauce simmer, reducing the heat if necessary, about 5 minutes until thickened and bubbling.
Remove from heat, whisk in the cheddar a handful at a time until completely melted.
Taste for spice/seasoning and add additional chipotles, salt, and pepper to taste.
Add broccoli, rice, and chicken to the pot and mix well.
Transfer mixture to a casserole dish and bake ~35 minutes, until the top is nicely browned.
The onset of hatch chile season means that the pot of beans I make for the 2-3 TexMex nights that are always on the menu get a green chile makeover.
Where I come from, you usually have three options for beans on taco night: refried beans, charro beans, and borracho beans.
Refried beans are easy, especially when your two-ingredient recipe calls for a can opener and a can. Charro beans take a little bit of planning and a whole lot of bacon.
Borracho beans? They also need a little bit of planning. But most of all? They need beer.
In addition to being spiked with beer, these beans are also spiked with green chile salsa verde and a hatch chile pico de gallo.
Here in Texas, Shiner has always been the popular choice for borracho beans. There are very few rules, but there is one thing to remember: Pick out an amber-or-darker brew from your fridge because, just like in all other aspects of real life, light beer won’t do much for you.
Hatch Chile Borracho Beans
Your favorite taco night side infused with green chiles and beer.
For the beans:
1 lb dry pinto beans, rinsed and soaked*
12 oz beer (medium/amber is best; I used a locally brewed jalapeno ale this time)
If you’ve spent any time poking around the blog at any point over the last 8 (!) years in late summer, you know you can guarantee three things:
1) Somewhere, I’m bitching about the oppressive Texas heat and humidity.
2) I’m hoarding stocking up on hatch chiles.
3) I’m planning my next margarita, usually with the current margarita in hand.
Never change, Shawnda.
So while your grocery store is boasting $.67/lb fresh hatch chiles, make sure you get in on the action. You need no special equipment – a pan, some foil, an oven, and something to protect your hands.
My seafood counter guy will gladly hand over a free pair of the food-service gloves that they use behind the counter. But when I forget to ask, or assume I had an extra pair when I actually didn’t, I can MacGyver some freezer bags and rubber bands into a clunky – but effective, considering the alternative – substitute.
2 lengths of foil, slightly longer than your baking pan
Gloves/Protection for your hands when peeling the cooled peppers (see above)
Sandwich- or snack-sized baggies
Turn on broiler and put your oven rack in the top 1/4th of the oven.
Line a large baking pan with one sheet of foil.
Place washed chiles on the pan in a single layer.
Roast under the broiler for 6-8 minutes, until blistered.
Flip, repeat (the second side usually takes less time).
Make the pepper is mostly blistered (larger sections of unblistered pepper will be hard to peel).
Remove from the oven, condense the peppers into the center of the pan and cover with the second sheet of foil (it won't be air-tight but it will hold the steam and heat in that makes it possible to peel the peppers easily).
Allow peppers to cool to room temp.
Peel each pepper, remove the stem, and slice open.
Use your knife to scrape out the seeds.
Dice peppers, transfer to a bowl for use within 7 days, and then proceed to put peppers in and on everything that doesn't move.
For longer storage, place in freezer bags (I use 1 cup portions) and freeze.