Interview by Katie Gregory
When you were young, what dish did your family make every Thanksgiving?
My mom always made her famous chestnut and sausage stuffing. I loved it and I still do. I usually make it every year now that I’m on my own. I have been known to shamelessly stand in front of the fridge gorging myself on cold stuffing at midnight. It is as delicious cold as it is warm and this is a scientific fact. I still look forward to stuffing the most. I love foods with lots of flavors and textures, so stuffing is my jam.
What is your favorite dish to make these days? Is there anything you make sure you cook every Thanksgiving?
I love making something new for Thanksgiving every year. Last year my favorite dish was David Chang’s fish sauce Brussels sprouts, and this year we’re shunning turkey in favor of fried chicken with crab macaroni and cheese and sweet potato pie. Thanksgiving is a holiday about exciting food, and eating the same thing every year seems like it would get pretty old, which is why I’m sharing this waffle stuffing with you fine folks.
Do you go out the night before Thanksgiving? What is your favorite dive bar to hit up?
Last year we just stayed in and had a few drinks, but I personally love a bar around the corner from my apartment called The Tradesman in Bushwick, which we may end up at this year. We also love Burnside Brooklyn, where you can play shuffleboard and eat cheese curds any day of the week. The night before Thanksgiving is devoted entirely to preparation for the next day. I can’t go hard in the club two days in a row, so I always leave Wednesday night for baking and chopping and getting myself ready for what I believe is the best day of the year.
Waffle, Maple & Sausage Stuffing
with cranberries and walnuts
Total Prep & Cooking Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
10-15 waffles (I used 10 large Belgian waffles, which is about 8 cups), cubed into 1-inch pieces
2 pounds breakfast sausage (think Jimmy Dean’s – this is America!)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 onions, finely chopped
5 stalks celery, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon ground sage
4-5 cups chicken stock
1 cup maple syrup, plus more for drizzling
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, finely cubed
Sea salt, for sprinkling
1. Use your favorite waffle recipe to make your waffles, or buy frozen Belgian waffles. Cook them according to the package directions. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F, cube the waffles into bite-size pieces, then place on two baking sheets and toast in the oven for 10-15 minutes until crisp. Allow to cool completely.
2. In a heavy bottomed pan, crumble in your sausage and turn the heat to medium-high. Cook the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until lightly browned and cooked through. Remove sausage from the pan and place on a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Add in 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter over medium heat, then add in the chopped onions and celery. Cook until softened, about 5-6 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for another minute or so, until fragrant. Remove from heat.
3. In a large bowl, toss together the toasted waffle cubes, sausage, onion mixture, walnuts, cranberries, salt, thyme, sage, and 4 cups of chicken stock. Toss together, and add another cup of chicken stock if necessary. Pour in the maple syrup and toss to combine.
4. Press the stuffing into a well buttered 9 x13-inch pan (if you have extra, divide the stuffing between the 9x13-inch pan and an 8x8-inch pan) and drizzle with additional maple syrup and a sprinkle of sea salt. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, until golden and crispy. You may need an additional 5 minutes or so, depending on your oven. Serve warm alongside your Thanksgiving feast!