Previously, in Cook Your Comics Thanksgiving Spectacular, Part 1: If you’re going to feed the whole Justice League and Society, you’re going to need a lot of casseroles.
Okay, so we’re not quite done with casseroles. If you live in the northern U.S., casseroles are known as a “hot dish” which makes sense because it’s really cold there for a large portion of the year. Coming home to a casserole dish full of hot, comforting food is great on a cold day, so they’re perfect for a late November holiday. Really, they’re great year-round — and portable, so you can bring them to a potluck, or a family with a new baby, or wherever people need good food that’s easy to reheat. Swoop in with the right casserole, and you can be somebody’s superhero!
1 15-oz. can whole-kernel yellow corn, drained
1 15-oz. can cream-style yellow corn, undrained
8 oz. sour cream
1 8-oz. box Jiffy corn muffin mix
1/2 cup butter
- Preheat the oven to 350F and spray a 1.5 quart casserole dish with cooking spray.
- Mix together the two cans of corn in a large bowl. Don’t drain the creamed corn; you need a lot of liquid to make this dish extra creamy. But DO drain the regular corn, because you don’t want THAT much liquid.
- Add the sour cream and the corn muffin mix and stir it all together.
- Melt the butter and let it cool for a minute. Then mix the melted butter into your corn batter. Make sure the mixture isn’t hot from the melted butter before you add the eggs, or you might cook the eggs which we don’t want yet.
- Pour the batter in the greased baking dish and bake uncovered for about an hour. It may need a little longer than that; you want to make sure it’s set in the middle, but don’t let the top burn. It will turn a lovely golden brown. When it’s done, take it out and let it sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. This recipe can be made a day ahead if you like. Keep the unbaked corn mixture in the refrigerator, then take it out and let it come close to room temperature before baking.
Instead of stuffing the turkey, we make dressing which is made of the ingredients people put in a traditional cornbread-based stuffing, only baked in a casserole dish. Packing your turkey full of a dense stuffing makes it hard to heat all the way through without drying out the turkey, and it’s one of the major causes of Thanksgiving food poisoning incidents. So avoid that and make my great-grandmother’s cornbread dressing instead.
1.5 pans of cornbread, crumbled (I like to use two boxes of Jiffy corn muffin mix for the sake of ease and, then, use 3/4 of what that makes. Then you get to eat the remaining cornbread!)
1 12-oz. bags Pepperidge Farm Herb Stuffing
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 32-oz. container chicken broth
1/2 bunch celery, diced (about 1.5 cups)
1 onion, diced
1/4 cup butter
2 tbsp rubbed sage
2 tsp fresh ground pepper
- Bake the cornbread the day before making the dressing, if possible. Allow it to cool completely, then crumble into a large bowl.
- Preheat the oven to 350F and grease a 9×13 baking dish.
- Melt the butter in a large skillet. Sauté all the celery and onions in the butter until they are soft and just beginning to brown. Remove from heat and let cool a bit.
- Add the herb stuffing into the bowl with the cornbread crumbles and mix to combine.
- Add both cans of soup, the eggs, the sage, and the pepper to the bowl. Mix well.
- Add the cooked celery-and-onion mixture and mix it in, evenly distributing the veggies through the whole mixture and moistening all the breadcrumbs as well as you can.
- Begin pouring chicken broth into the bowl. Add it in slowly while mixing to incorporate it. The whole bread mixture should be just soaked, but not over-saturated or runny. You might not use the whole box of broth.
- Put the content of each bowl into the prepared baking dish. Put in oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until done. The top should have a nice brown crust, and the inside should be moist, but cooked through (not wet or runny).
I made this batch in a larger baking dish to create more surface area. It’s thinner that way, but I like the crunchy brown top, especially when gravy or cranberry sauce get involved.
Annie’s Fresh Cranberry Sauce
Speaking of cranberry sauce, I thought I hated it until I was in my mid-20s, but it turns out I just hate the canned variety. I discovered the joys of fresh cranberry sauce around 2000 and have been perfecting my own recipe ever since. It’s good on everything. I used it as a cheesecake topping once and it was incredible. Try it even if you think you hate cranberry sauce.
12 oz fresh cranberries
3/4 cup pineapple juice or orange juice (or a combination)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest OR
2 teaspoons Grand Marnier orange liqueur
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Rinse the cranberries in a colander and sort to find and remove any stems or squashed/wrinkly cranberries. Drain well.
- In a medium saucepan, dissolve the brown sugar and white sugar in the pineapple or orange juice over medium heat.
- Once the sugar is dissolved, stir cranberries into the sugar mixture in the saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, until cranberries begin to pop (about 10 minutes). Keeping a lid or splatter screen over the top of the saucepan when you are not stirring is a good idea as exploding cranberries are hot and sticky. Be careful not to let the mixture boil over.
- When the cranberries have begun to pop, turn off the heat and stir well. More cranberries will pop during this process, and the sauce still may be relatively thin at this point. That’s okay.
- Stir in orange zest or Grand Marnier and the cinnamon and mix well.
- Transfer the cranberry sauce to a heat-resistant serving dish. The sauce will thicken and gel as it cools. You may garnish the top with additional orange zest if desired. Serve at room temperature. You can store cranberry sauce in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Now that you have a smorgasbord of side items, what about the main course? Stay tuned — I (and a special guest) will talk turkey in the next installment!