When we were invited by the editors of FoodNetwork.com and their blog FN Dish to attend a virtual Thanksgiving dinner, where we’d be joined by other members of the food community who all would contribute a dish, I knew immediately what dish I would choose: Fennel, Sausage, and Caramelized Apple Stuffing.
Why? Well, because it’s just that good. The flavors are classic—sausage, apple, sage—so the Thanksgiving traditionalists will be happy. (After all, isn’t this holiday meal the most tied-to-tradition of all?) But for those who like a little oomph mixed into their tradition, there are some new flavor twists that make this stuffing more interesting. It starts with the choice of bread—sourdough, with its full, tangy flavor. We also toss in fennel (both fennel bulb and a hint of fennel seeds) to add light anise notes to the mix. Even the apple gets a little extra: It’s caramelized for deeper, richer flavor with the slightest whiff of burned sugar. And the cooking technique is perfect. Once everything is stirred together, the dish bakes covered for a while and then uncovered for a while, giving you the best of both worlds, texture-wise: a moist, almost creamy-bready interior and a deliciously crisp top crust. With every bite, you discover something new that you love about this stuffing! And there’s even more to love… It’s a healthy option for a meal that’s usually anything but. This stuffing includes over nine cups of fruits and vegetables, and it’s much lower in calories, sat fat, and sodium than a traditional bread stuffing with sausage—saving you as much as 500 calories, 16 grams sat fat, and 1800 milligrams sodium per serving!
HERE'S THE MENU FOR THE FULL VIRTUAL THANKSGIVING DINNER:
Cocktails, Appetizers, Salads and Breads:Liquor.com: Thanksgiving CocktailsThe Kitchn: Goat Cheese Panna Cotta Topped With Canned Cranberry Jelly Cut-OutsBig Girls Small Kitchen: Braided BiscuitsEpicurious: Chestnut and Sherry SoupYahoo! Shine: Spicy Caramelized Onion Jam With Goat CheeseYumSugar: Kale and Chard Salad with Pomegranates and HazelnutsWhole Foods Market: Mixed Green Salad With Pears, Hazelnuts, Blue Cheese and Homemade Croutons
Sides:Cooking Light: Fennel, Sausage, and Caramelized Apple StuffingBon Appetit: Maxine Rapoport's Turkey StuffingEatingWell: Green Bean CasseroleSerious Eats: Ultra-Crispy Roasted PotatoesOprah.com: David Chang's Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Asian VinaigretteFood Republic: Cavatappi With Fontina and Fall VegetablesHealthy Eats: Green Bean Casserole With Crispy ShallotsSaveur: Green Beans and TomatoesDiner's Journal: Fiery Sweet PotatoesReal Simple: Brown Sugar-Glazed Carrots With Rosemary and PecansThe Daily Meal: Bacon Brussels SproutsAP/ J.M. Hirsch: Ginger-Pear Cranberry SauceFood52: Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Onions and Goat CheeseFood.com: Make-Ahead Mashed PotatoesFood & Wine: Michael Symon's Swiss Chard and Leek GratinAll You: Sweet Potato Bake
Desserts:The Blender/ Williams-Sonoma: Deep-Dish Apple Bourbon Streusel PieSouthern Living: Pumpkin-Pecan CheesecakeCooking Channel: Apple Bread Pudding Fox News: Ginger Molasses Sugar CookiesGourmet Live: Pumpkin Coconut Panna CottaMelissa Clark: Sweet Potato Ginger Custard PieMyRecipes.com: White Chocolate Cheesecake With Cranberry Currant Compote