Thankgiving Confessions

24 Nov

I know it violates every rule of journalism to write about something in the past tense, after the excitement is over.  However, I needed to wait until the Thanksgiving meal was a “fait accompli” before confessing how it was done.  We had a “pretty paleo” meal.  It was definitely gluten-free, with more paleo foods than not, and with a “beyond organic” turkey from Polyface Farm.  We got so involved in making the meal that we forgot to take pictures.

The biggest dilemma for me at Thanksgiving is the stuffing.  My brother-in-law grew up eating cornbread stuffing.  I’m from Minnesota, and we don’t do the cornbread there.  Our traditional family stuffing, in the best hot dish tradition of the frozen north, starts with a can of cream of mushroom soup.  Word.  It also has wild rice, bread crumbs, celery, onion, butter, sage, and chicken broth.  My brother-in-law has learned to love it, and he requests it every Thanksgiving.  So, there needs to be a way to paleoize this recipe.

Let’s break down the ingredients and see what we can do.  Hint:  you are about to read my brand-new stuffing recipe for the first time and this is my original recipe…one I could legitimately submit to a recipe contest.  Second hint:  if you want to make this you need to plan ahead.

Cream of Mushroom Soup:  No need to use a can of god knows what here.  You can make your own.  My recipe goes like this:

  • Melt two tablespoons of butter in a pan.  Saute one chopped onion and a chopped clove of garlic for 5 minutes.  Add 1 pound of chopped mushrooms (crimini or white).  Cover and cook for at least 10 minutes.  Do not hurry this step…relax.  Drink a glass of kombucha.
  • Stir in 3 tablespoons of dry sherry and 3 3/4 cups of chicken bone broth–preferable homemade.  See you need to plan ahead.
  • Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes.  Cool slightly and then puree in a blender or use a stick blender.  You’ll have a smaller mess with the stick blender but if you’re not careful you can end up wearing your soup.  Don’t say you weren’t warned.
  • Pour the soup back into the pan (if you took it out to blend) and add 2/3 cup heavy cream.  At this point, you could reheat and eat the soup or freeze it for use later in your stuffing.  Bonus:  I had enough to make a killer beef stroganoff recipe too, which will be served over zucchini noodles.

Wild Rice:  Make according to box directions and use the salt it calls for.  Wild rice is a permissible food according to Mark Sisson.  (Proof:  You can make this a day ahead (it cooks for an hour people, plan ahead I say).  Drain the water before adding to your stuffing.

Bread Crumbs:  There is no good way to make this paleo.  Just get over it and use the Gluten-free stuffing cubes from Whole Foods.

On the big day, chop 3 stalks of celery and one small onion.  Saute these in a large pot with two tablespoons of butter.  Season liberally with real salt.  Really let the celery get soft…it will not soften in the casserole so you have to be patient here.  When the celery is soft, add a tablespoon of chopped fresh sage and saute until you can smell the sage but don’t let it burn.  Add 4 tablespoons of additional butter and let it melt.  Now add your stuffing cubes along with up to 3 cups of chicken bone broth.  Add the broth a bit at a time and let the cubes soften.  When they are soft but not mush, add your wild rice and about two cups of the mushroom soup.  Salt and pepper heavily.  I had the soup heating in a reduction pan to thicken it up before adding it to my stuffing.

Okay, here is the secret.  Without the commercial mushroom soup, you are missing a lot of  sodium, and addictive secret flavorings like soy.  You need to replace those with something good, and something good is:  1 tablespoon of coconut aminos and 1 tablespoon of fish sauce (Red Boat Fish Sauce is good and you can order it from Amazon…invest in quality ingredients).

Put the stuffing into a casserole dish and bake at 350 for about an hour.

Verdict:  My brother-in-law said it was great.  He said it so many times I wondered if he was just trying to make me feel good, but when I tasted the leftover stuffing the second day, after all the excitement, I agreed it was good.

Leftover Stuffing

Leftover stuffing–gluten free goodness!

Truth be told I think this would make a fabulous casserole without the bread cubes.  Add some larger mushrooms and some cooked chicken and make a main dish.  Wild rice is a very starchy food so don’t overindulge if you, like me, have problems with insulin resistance.




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