Sunday, November 22, 2009

Friends Thanksgiving

Every year for the past 4 years, a friend has hosted an annual "Friends Thanksgiving" where she gathers friends and has a feast of epic proportions. Everyone brings a dish to contribute and it is a nice smorgesborg. Several people now have standard dishes they are expected to bring.

Four years ago, I made a recipe at the suggestion of my sister and it has been a hit. Savory Spinach & Artichoke Stuffing is pretty great recipe as it is... I've only made a few adjustments but nothing huge. It's relatively labor intensive but I now have a system after making it so many times soI just get antsy because I can't wait to dig in! 

Savory Spinach & Artichoke Stuffing
Emeril Lagasee Food Network


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 pounds spinach, washed (3 cups cooked and roughly chopped)
2 cups chopped yellow onions ends up being 1 onion
1 tablespoon roughly chopped garlic
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Emeril's Italian Essence, or other Italian seasoning blend
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
3 (8 1/2-ounce) cans quartered artichoke hearts, any tough outer leaves removed
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups heavy cream light cream
2 cups chicken stock broth
2 tablespoons lemon juice
12 to 14 cups cubed (1-inch) day-old French bread (1 loaf)
1 pound Brie, rind removed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes  1 small (8 oz) round, regular Brie; 1 small (7oz) round, light Brie
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the spinach and cook until just wilted, about 30 seconds. Drain and rinse with cold water. Once cool, squeeze as much water from spinach as possible, then roughly chop, and reserve. I take a small handful of spinach, wrap it in a paper towel, and squeeze the water out. You can also use a clean dish cloth and twist to squeeze the water out.

I haven't found an easy way to remove the rinds besides using a long, sharp knife (not a Santakou knife) and a peeler. I didn't use a peeler this time but I have in the past and it's worked ok. The brie tends to melt easily so it's best to work fast and keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until golden brown and tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, 2 teaspoons of Italian Essence, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the artichokes and cook, stirring, another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and reserve.

Combine the eggs, cream, chicken broth, lemon juice, remaining 1 tablespoon Italian Essence, remaining 2 teaspoons salt, and remaining 1 teaspoon pepper in a bowl. Whisk to combine. In a large bowl or stock pot, combine the bread, spinach, artichoke mixture, brie, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and parsley and mix together. Add the liquid mixture to the bread/spinach/ artichoke mixture.  If bread does not absorb all of liquid immediately then let rest until this happens, about 20 minutes.
Pour the bread pudding mixture into the prepared dish. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan over the top and drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Bake until firm in the center and golden brown, about 1 hour. Serve warm.

This picture was before being cooked

I thought I took a larger picture after it was cooked but I guess I didn't! I will update with better pictures after Thanksgiving when I make it again.

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