My wife is of Lebanese descent, and over the past few years I have enjoyed eating, and learning about her family’s delicious, middle eastern cuisine. I cook a fairly traditional Thanksgiving dinner, but wanted to give a little culinary nod to her folks who will be joining us for our feast this year. Thanks to Food52, I decided to rework my turkey day stuffing to reflect some flavors of their culture, and the resulting dish will be a welcome addition to a more “international” day of Thanksgiving. Lamb sausage, pistachios, mint, feta cheese, and zatar, combine with local flavors such as apples, cranberries, and leeks to make a deliciously new take on an old standard. —Oui, Chef
artisinal sourdough bread, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
lamb sausage (mild, not hot like a merguez)
stick of butter
cloves of garlic, finely minced
leeks, white and pale green parts only, thoroughly washed and cut into large dice
celery stalks, cut into medium dice
granny smith apples, peeld, cored, and cut into medium dice
raw pistachio meats
finely sliced fresh mint
finely minced fresh rosemary
finely minced fresh thyme
zatar (can be found in middle eastern markets, or through Penzeys)
Preheat oven to 375 ?. Place bread cubes on sheet trays and bake until dry and just starting to turn golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and place in a large mixing bowl.
Remove sausage meat from casings, and saute with a little olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat, breaking up large pieces with the back of a spoon, until cooked through. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and add to the bread cubes.
Remove any lamb fat from the pan, return it to the heat, add the butter, then the garlic and saute on low-medium heat until it just turns golden. Add the leeks, apples, celery, cranberries, pistachios, rosemary, thyme, zatar, and mint, and turn heat up to medium. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the leeks and apples soften, about 10 minutes. When done, add to the mixing bowl with the meat and bread.
Whisk the two eggs and add to the mixing bowl along with 1 to 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken stock to moisten (how much will depend on the bread you use), add the fresh parsley, the feta cheese, and check again for seasoning.
Preheat the oven to 350 ?. Butter a large glass or ceramic baking dish and fill with the stuffing. Top with a piece of buttered foil and bake for about 35-40 minutes, remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until top is nicely browned.
I am a father of five, who recently completed a two year professional hiatus during which I indulged my long held passion for cooking by moving to France to study the culinary arts and immerse myself in all things French. I earned “Le Grande Diplome” from Le Cordon Bleu, studied also at The Ritz Escoffier and Lenotre cooking schools, and completed the course offerings of the Bordeaux L’Ecole du Vin.
About six months ago started "Oui, Chef", which is a food blog that exists as an extension of my efforts to teach my children a few things about cooking, and how our food choices over time effect not only our own health, but that of our local food communities and our planet at large. By sharing some of our cooking experiences through the blog, I hope to inspire other families to start spending more time together in the kitchen, cooking healthy meals as a family, passing on established familial food traditions, and perhaps starting some new ones.