I love Thanksgiving food. I have to thank my husband for introducing me to the tradition; he's been making his family's meal from scratch every year since he was a teenager. Most of the recipes I make now are adaptations of the ones he refined in the past.
I enjoy the turkey, the mashed potatoes, the yams, the gravy and the pies, but my favorite is the stuffing (or dressing, depending on how you use it).
Of all the Thanksgiving dishes, it's the most complex in flavor and texture. The other dishes are more singular in quality. Yams are sweet. Mashed potatoes are creamy. Sure, they can have some variation and subtlety, but most often, these dishes are really celebration of a single ingredient.
Stuffing is the harmony that contrasts the melody created by all the other Thanksgiving sides. It is also the most flexible of all the dishes, and is very forgiving of modification and experimentation. Not to mix metaphors, but croutons form a perfect canvas upon which many contrasting and complementary flavors can be layered.
For this particular stuffing recipe I used apples and cranberries, both fall flavors, for sweetness. The apples also provide a crunch that's an excellent foil to the softness of the bread. To the usual suspects of celery, carrots and onions, I added shallots and king mushrooms. The mushrooms in particular add an earthy and meaty quality to the dish. All the ingredients were amply seasoned with Italian seasoning and a little lemon zest. Full Recipe...