So I'm giving in this year.
Admittedly, it's not something I usually do, let alone admit to. I'm what many call stubborn, though I prefer stalwart. But after complaints, begging, pleading, and even a bit of polite asking I'll bend for once.
This year I'll make stuffing for Thanksgiving.
Now, admittedly, this probably sounds odd. Can one have a Thanksgiving without stuffing?
Yes. Yes you can.
Usually, I make blue cheese biscuits, cheddar crackers, homemade olive bread, or some epic macaroni and cheese where the cheese sauce bubbles over the sides and the house smells like warm feelings and comfort.
Last year, I crafted a wild rice stuffing studded with feta, roasted chanterelles, toasted pine nuts, dried cranberries, and the finest mince of scallion.
What did my guests say? "Oh, it's good. Delicious, in fact. I just miss real stuffing."
One even had the gall to ask if I wanted him to run out and grab a box of *shudder* Stouffer's. After beating him unconscious and leaving his corpse on the street I went back to my apparently simple rice stuffing and spooned in onto the unappreciative plates of my so-called loved ones.
So, this year, I'll make stuffing. I plan to use sourdough, cherries, sage, hazelnuts (or, perhaps, pecans), and plenty of turkey sausage. That should shut them right up.
However, if you're looking for something hearty for Turkey Day but don't want to do stuffing, might I recommend the following?
This is another popular recipe from my cookbook, Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese. If sitting by a warm fire in Europe has a flavor I imagine this to be it. It'll put meat on your bones, no doubt, but think of it as protection from the cold or perhaps a return on investment when you ate nothing but salad last summer.
It uses ham, but feel free to omit it and use roasted cauliflower instead.
Another option is leftover turkey because fuck yes leftover turkey mac and cheese.