When Doc and I were married thirty-three years ago, one of my prized wedding presents was an Amana Microwave. Back in the day microwave ovens were just coming into vogue and had finally decreased enough in price to justify owning one. Amana advertised that that you could cook a turkey in it, and I just couldn’t wait to try it out. The microwave was huge and took up most of our apartment’s countertop real estate. In fact there were only 12 inches of countertop space left. I still can’t figure out how I did all my prep for two years on 12 inches!
Thanksgiving arrived and I followed the manual’s cooking directions for turkey. I entered the time, pressed start, and eagerly anticipated our first Thanksgiving dinner. (Poor Doc, if he only knew what was in store for him…) At the end of the cooking time I opened the microwave door. Smoke poured out and set off the fire alarm. Then when the smoke cleared, I noticed that part of the turkey was burned and part of it was still raw… It was a mess. I got out the knife and started hacking, looking for parts I could salvage. Back in the microwave they went. When the cooking time was finished the turkey had the texture of rubber. The rest of the meal was pretty much a disaster too. Now that I ponder it, I was the real “turkey” that first Thanksgiving. Thinking I could cook that bird in the microwave!
15 slices white bread with crust, torn into nickel size pieces
3/4 cup chopped Vidalia onion
1/2 cup chopped shallots
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
16 ounces, sliced then halved, white button mushrooms
8 ounces, sliced then halved, Baby Bella’s (baby Portabella mushrooms)
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons fresh sage leaves, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1/2 cup Marsala wine (use the real stuff, not the fake grocery store kind)
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup (33% less sodium) chicken broth
1 cup grated parmesan cheese (not the powder, add last so it won’t melt)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the torn bread on 2 jellyroll pans in a single layer. Place in oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Halfway through the cooking time switch the bottom and top pans. Remove from oven. Reserve. While the bread is toasting, prepare the rest of the ingredients. Sweat the onions and butter in a large skillet on medium high heat until soft and clear. Add the shallots and mushrooms cooking until tender. Add the thyme and sage. Remove skillet from stove then add Marsala wine. (We don’t want to singe our eyebrows if the alcohol catches on fire!) Return skillet to stove, and simmer Marsala until liquid is almost completely evaporated. Remove from heat. Pour mushroom mixture into a large bowl. Add toasted bread and stir to combine with mushrooms. In another small bowl stir together the beaten egg, salt, pepper, and chicken broth. Pour egg mixture over mushroom mixture and stir to combine. Add grated Parmesan cheese last so the cheese won’t melt. Pour stuffing into a non-stick sprayed 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Cover with foil. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 20 minutes covered, then remove foil and bake 10 to 15 minutes more or until stuffing is golden brown and toasted on top.
Published in The News And Neighbor on November 3, 2012