Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 4 ozs dark semi-sweet chocolate
Melt in a small sauce pan over low heat.  When melted, remove from heat transfer to a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups cane syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
In a large bowl beat with a mixer on medium speed until thoroughly combined.  Add the butter and chocolate mixture and mix until combined.
  • 1 pillsbury pie crust
Unroll and carefully roll with a rolling pin to stretch and make sure it fits in the pie plate.  Place in a 9 inch deep dish pie plate gently pressing down and into the sides.  Crimp the edges.  Make sure you don't puncture the pastry.​
  • 2 1/2 cups whole pecans
Arrange in the pie plate.  Gently pour the  Bourbon Chocolate mixture over the pecans.  Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.  Allow to cool then cover with aluminum foil.   

Everyday Divas Celebrations
Mimi's Thanksgiving Specialties

It has taken me years of baking this to realize I wasn't making enough of the filling to go with the pecans.  This year I went for broke and doubled the filling but not the pecans -- I got rave reviews, even from the guest who said he really doesn't like pie.  I am challenged still by the amount of time to bake this (especially at high altitude where you have to adjust time and temperature).  The pecans came out a little more browned than I find satisfactory. 


There was also pumpkin pie. That recipe is right on the Libby's can and simple as can be.  Plus I covered the pie with aluminum foil while it was baking, the top stuck and it ruined the appearance so there's no photo.  Lesson learned.  I need to buy one of those rings that protects the crust from over browning. 

 First Thing Wednesday Morning
 After the Pie, Stuffing

Sausage, Chestnut and Fennel Stuffing
  • 1 1/2 lbs loose sweet Italian Sausage
In the largest sauteé pan you have (I used a 12 inch) brown the sausage over medium high heat breaking it into small pieces.  When browned, remove from the pan and place in a large bowl.  Do not drain the fat from the pan or clean it.
  • 2 fennel bulbs
Remove the stalks, fronds, end and core at the center of the bulbs.  Cut into quarters.  Place in the bowl of your food processor and pulse until you have pieces approximately the size of peas.  Remove from bowl and set aside.  Rinse and dry bowl.
  • 1 large sweet onion
Peel and cut into quarters.  Place in the bowl of your food processor and pulse in the same manner as the fennel.  Remove from bowl​ and set aside.  Wash and dry bowl.
  • 6 celery stalks
Cut ragged ends and scrub with vegetable brush under cold water. Cut into quarters.  Place in the bowl of your food process and pulse in the same manner as the fennel.  Remove from bowl and set aside.  You are finished with the food processor now.​
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
Melt butter in the sauté pan you used to brown the sausage. Add the chopped fennel and sauté 3-4 minutes.  Stir in celery and sauté 3-4 minutes.  Stir in onion and sauté until transluscent.
  • 1 bunch thyme
Strip leaves from stalks.  I use about 1/4 cup of leaves.
  • 1 bunch sage
Strip leaves from stems.  Coarsely chop.  I use​ about 1/2 loosely packed chopped sage
  • 1 bunch parsley
Coarsely chop.  I use 3/4 loosely packed chopped parsley
Add herbs to vegetables.  Stir and sauté for a few minutes until the aroma releases.  Add mixture to large bowl with sausage.​
  • 2  12 oz jars of chestnuts
Slice in half lengthwise and add to vegetables and sausage.  Mix thoroughly.
  • Two large bags unseasoned bread cubes
Empty the bags into a very large disposable aluminum roasting pan.  Dump the vegetable and sausage mixture on top of the bread cubes and thoroughly combine. 
  • 1  32 oz container Kitchen Basics chicken broth
Pour the broth over the bread cubes a cup at a time and mix.
  • 1 cup whole milk​
Pour milk over the mixture and mix.  When thoroughly combined cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate.

I find it easiest to chop all my vegetables and herbs ahead of time and then just focus on sautéing and mixing.  When making this amount of stuffing, mixing it in the roasting pan is really the only alternative.  I also mix it using my bare hands to make sure everything is thoroughly combined.  I am better able to gauge whether I have added enough broth and milk.  It should feel slightly damp but definitely not soft or mushy.  Some of the stuffing goes in the turkey and the rest is baked right in the roasting pan.  When the bird comes out of the oven, take the stuffing out and mix it with the stuffing in the roasting pan.  Place in a pre-heated 350 degree oven and bake for 1 hour.  Remember, the turkey rests for 1/2 hour before carving.  Then the carving takes 20- 30 minutes so everything is ready at the same time.  This year we put the turkey in hot broth on the top of the stove in another roasting pan to keep it warm.  
 Thanksgiving Day

Sweet Potato Soufflé
Make the base of the soufflé as early in the day as you wish.  Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.  Do not refrigerate because it will bind up.  You can also prepare the soufflé bowls ahead of time.  Liberally butter and sprinkle with granulated sugar the bottom and sides of the bowls.  I had two large sized bowls and one individual sized bowl.  I refrigerate the bowls until 1/2 hour before I am going to use them.

  • 8 large sweet potatoes
Peel, cut into 1/2 inch pieces and boil until fork tender.  Drain and place in a large bowl.​  Mash with a potato masher.
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 pt half and half
Add to still hot potatoes and with a hand mixer blend until very smooth.  The potatoes should be the consistency of pudding.  If they are not add whole milk to reach the proper consistency.
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Add to the sweet potato mixture.  Blend with hand mixer and taste.  You may want more sugar or cinnamon.  If you do, add it gradually.   Add the sugar 1 tsp at a time and the cinnamon 1 dash at a time. 

15 minutes before the turkey comes out of the oven.

  • 1 dozen eggs
Separate eggs and beat the egg whites until they form gentle stiff peaks.  Do not over beat the whites​.  Check your sweet potato base.  If it has thickened up, add a little more milk.  Take 1/3 of the whites and mix them into the sweet potato base to lighten it up.  Then gently fold the rest of the whites into the mixture.  Pour into each of the prepared soufflé bowls and bake for 1 hour at 375 degrees.

For our guest with dietary restrictions, I reserved about 1 cup or so of boiled sweet potatoes. I put them in a separate bowl, added a couple of tablespoons of margarine and soy milk until I reached the desired consistency and then seasoned it with a tsp of brown sugar and just a dash of cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg and salt.  I took about a half cup of the beaten egg whites and mixed them into the sweet potato base and then folded in a second full cup.  The individual soufflé only needed to bake about 20 minutes.  Our guest said it was delicious! 

Here's a few thoughts on sweet potato soufflé.  The key is to have a base that is light enough to rise with the whites.  That's why you may end up adding milk a little at a time.  To make sure the soufflé can climb the bowl you put sugar in the bottom and then roll the bowl around so that it is completely covering the sides.  I do this over a sink to make sure I thoroughly cover the bowl and don't make a mess on the floor.  

Timing is everything.  So, if you get the sweet potato soufflé into the oven as the turkey is coming out, it will be ready at the time everything is ready to serve.  

The soufflé should look "solid" and slightly browned on top.  We put it at the end of the table and have one person serve rather than trying to pass the hot bowl around the table.