For the first time in many years Joe and I will be spending Thanksgiving by ourselves. In years past we always spent the day with Joe’s mom. Our boys would also be there to feast on the traditional turkey and stuffing. This year has been a transitional year, Joe and I moved back to New Mexico about 6 month’s ago. Josh spent a year “down under” for the adventure of a lifetime traveling throughout Australia. He spent 6 month’s working at an observatory near Coonabarabran, which he called his second home. He met so many folks from all over the world and along the way made some lifelong friends. Cameron remains in the Kansas City area and is now part of the management team at Monster Mountain where he continues to share his love of rock climbing indoor and outdoor. He maintains and creates routes for the wall and coaches a group of young climbers that he is so proud of. We have a lot to be thankful for. Josh arrived back in the states on Halloween just in time to pass out candy and stayed with us for the past couple of weeks. He made plans to spend the holiday in California, but before he left for “The Golden State” he wanted us to share a Thanksgiving feast with all the trimmings. I just couldn’t see cooking a turkey with all the side dishes for just the three of us so we cooked up a smaller version that tasted just as good as having a traditional meal. It’s pretty simple and takes way less time to make. We layered slices of toasted artisan bread with baked chicken or (sub turkey breast) layered with stuffing, gravy and a dollop of cranberry sauce. Of course I had to have mashed potatoes and gravy on the side. It is the most delicious meal to make if you want to make a feast for just 2 or 3 people. Also this would be a great way to use any leftovers for those who have a traditional roasted turkey with all the trimmings. Whether you are entertaining for two or want a way to make your leftovers taste just as good as your Thanksgiving meal, give this layered open faced sandwich a try. Happy Thanksgiving!!
I started with a loaf of Josh’s Artisan Bread, Stove Top Stuffing and Cranberry Sauce. I have to admit, I have a weakness for Stove Top Stuffing. It’s probably just me, I’ve tried to make stuffing but I don’t like it as well as Stove Top. Of course it’s up to you whatever stuffing you like. And lastly you can’t have stuffing without cranberry sauce.
You can season any part of the chicken or turkey you wish to place on your open faced sandwich. I prefer the chicken breast but the guys wanted thighs. Sprinkle the Atchafalaya seasoning on the chicken or turkey pieces, drizzle with olive oil and roast at 400 degrees for 30 – 40 minutes.
Add the dry stuffing mix and stir until all the liquid has been absorbed into the bread crumbs. The onions and seasoning will also be distributed throughout the stuffing. Turn the burner off and place a lid on the pot. Let sit for 5 minutes or more.
Now it’s time to make the gravy. Since I don’t have the juices left over from a roasted chicken or turkey I’m going to have to compromise. Start by melting 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium pan. When the butter has melted, stir in 3 tablespoons of flour, 1 tablespoon at a time until all of the flour is absorbed. This is the roux.
As the gravy begins to thicken you will need to add more broth until it becomes a gravy that sticks to your spoon but isn’t too thick or thin. Gravy is one of those things you need to judge by taste and texture. It’s hard to be specific on the exact measurements, it the one thing that comes naturally to me. This particular gravy used 1 cup of broth and was perfect. Use your instincts and taste along the way. You can always add more broth if too thick. Add a teaspoon or 2 of flour stirred in with a couple tablespoons of broth to thicken the gravy if necessary.
No holiday meal is complete without pie. Josh’s favorite double layer pumpkin pie is made with a graham cracker crust, a layer of cream cheese and whipped cream, a layer of pumpkin mixed with vanilla pudding and finally topped with more whipped cream. One day I will share the pie!
Thanksgiving for Two
1 box Stove Top Stuffing (Savory Herbs)
1/2 medium Onion, diced small
5 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, divided
1 1/2 cups Water
1 teaspoon Atchafalaya Seasoning, recipe follows
2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
3 tablespoons Flour
1 heaping serving spoonful of Prepared Stuffing
Sprinkle of Atchafalaya Seasoning to taste, recipe follows
1 – 1 1/2 cups Chicken Broth (I used Better than Bouillon mixed with water)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare 1 chicken breast or thigh per person or 1 turkey breast for 2 or more people with a sprinkle of Atchafalaya seasoning. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and crisp on top.
To prepare stuffing: In a medium 2 quart pot, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and add the diced onion. Saute the onion until it becomes soft and translucent. Add about 1 teaspoon of the Atchafalaya seasoning in with the onions and stir the pot. Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and when melted add the water. Bring the mixture to a boil, add the bread crumb stuffing mixture and stir until all the water has been absorbed into the bread crumbs. Turn the heat off and remove pot from hot burner. Cover with a lid and let sit 5 minutes or more.
To prepare gravy: Melt 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter into a small saucepan. Add 3 tablespoons of flour, stirring in 1 tablespoon at a time until you have a thickened roux. Pour about 1/2 cup of broth into the roux and stir as it begins to thicken. Add a heaping spoonful of prepared stuffing and season with Atchafalaya seasoning to the gravy. Pour a half cup to 1 cup of remaining broth until you have a nice consistency. If too thick add more broth, if too thin, add 1 – 2 teaspoons of flour to 2 tablespoons of broth and stir into the gravy.
To build your open faced sandwich: Toast 1 slice of artisan bread per person. Slice and layer chicken over the toasted bread. Add a heaping spoonful of stuffing, ladle gravy over the top until it runs over the side. Add a dollop of cranberry sauce on top. Add any of your favorite sides to complete the meal.
Makes 2 – 4 servings.
Atchafalaya Seasoning adapted from Paul Prudhomme
1 tablespoon Salt
2 teaspoons Paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons Onion Powder
1 1/2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
1 1/2 teaspoons Dried Sweet Basil
1 teaspoon Dry Mustard
1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
3/4 teaspoon White Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Dried Thyme
1/2 teaspoon Ground Savory
Combine all seasonings together and blend.