Holiday dining most often centers around family favorite, tried and true dishes served year after year. Adding a new dish or a twist on an old one this Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s Eve is a great way to take a menu from routine to extraordinary. Three top New Jersey chefs offer tips and recipes to enliven your holiday menus. Chef Corey Heyer shares his recipe for the Bernards Inn’s most requested Thanksgiving menu item:
Cornbread & Granny Smith Apple Stuffing
8 tbsp. sweet unsalted butter
2 cups yellow onion, small diced
1 pinch of salt
1 cup carrots, small diced
1 cup celery root, small diced
1 cup corn kernels
1 1/2 cups Granny Smith apple, small diced
1/2 cup dried cranberries, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes
2 tbsp. thyme, chopped
2 tbsp. sage, chopped
2 tbsp. flat leaf parsley, chopped
Fresh ground black pepper
8 cups cornbread, cut into small cubes and lightly toasted
4 cups chicken stock
1 In a large rondo melt the butter over medium-high heat.
2 Add the onions, season with a pinch of salt and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add the carrots and cook for 2 minutes. Add the celery root and cook for 2 minutes. Add the corn kernels and cook for 2 minutes. Add the apples and cranberries and cook for 2 to 4 minutes, stirring to ensure the vegetables cook evenly.
3 Add the thyme, sage, parsley and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
4 Add the cubed cornbread and mix to incorporate.
5 Add the chicken stock and mix to incorporate. The stuffing should be very moist, but not wet.
6 Scoop the stuffing into a 3-inch deep baking pan, cover, and bake in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes.
7 Remove the cover and bake for another 10 minutes. If the stuffing is made the day before, allow it to come to room temperature before serving.
Yields: 8 to 10 servings
In addition, here is a bonus recipe for Lobster Bisque, which is part of the Maine Lobster Casserole dish featured in the current issue of NJC:
Lobster Bisque Recipe
by Executive Chef Walter Leffler
Director of Culinary Operations
The Olde Mill Inn and Grain House Restaurant
2 (1-lb.) lobsters, cooked
4 tbsp. clarified butter
1 medium onion, minced
1 large carrot, minced
1 stalk celery, minced
1 tsp. garlic clove, chopped
2 tbsp. flour
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/2 cup dry sherry
1/4 cup brandy
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup lobster stock
1 tbsp. tomato paste
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Remove all meat from lobster shell and place in a bowl and chill.
2 Crush lobster shells as fine as possible. Heat a medium size sauté pan until hot and add butter. As the butter starts to smoke, add the shells, reduce heat to medium-low and cook shells for 4 to 5 minutes tossing often. Then, add all the vegetables and garlic and cook for 8 minutes or so.
3 Sprinkle in the flour, thyme, bay leaf and paprika and cook for another 4 minutes or so.
4 Transfer everything into a 4-quart saucepan and deglaze the sauté pan with the sherry.
5 Combine everything except lobster stock and tomato paste into the saucepan and heat the mixture to a simmer then slowly add the lobster stock until the soup thickens. Add the tomato paste, cook for a 30 minutes and strain.
Along the Way
Celebrate the start of a new year with music & fireworks
First Night Morris County (FNMC) will ring in a new year with a celebration of arts and culture in Morristown on December 31. Now in its 19th year, FNMC will offer more than 40 performances in 23 venues and two sets of fireworks during the night. This year in Morristown, guests are invited to window shop around town, dine at one of Morristown’s many superb restaurants and enjoy the night’s festivities.
Read more in the current issue of New Jersey Countryside Magazine, available now at bookstores, on newsstands and by subscription. Click here to get one free bonus issue and save more than 80% on a subscription.