This year I was determined to have a Canadian Thanksgiving dinner. Usually I get all wrapped up in Freshers’ week activities and forget that Canadian Thanksgiving is coming up. Everyone always asks me why us Canadians have Thanksgiving on a different day than the Americans. So here goes..
In Canada we celebrate on the second Monday in October and unlike the Americans who remember the safe arrival of the Pilgrims, we give thanks for a successful harvest. More detailed explanations can be found on Wikipedia and here.
Since Thanksgiving is a harvest festival, I wanted to make use of as many locally sourced products as I could. I bought a locally grown free-range organic chicken from a new deli and shop in Cambridge called Origin8 which specializes in local, organic meat, game and produce. From the market in the city centre I got local onions, celery, potatoes, carrots, apples, parsnips and a little pumpkin for a homemade pie, and from the garden outside I picked fresh sage. The wild rice was imported (by me!) and was my token representative of the Canadian harvest.
I stuffed a 1.6kg chicken (the biggest they had) and had lots of stuffing left over that I baked in aluminum foil alongside the chicken. I roasted potatoes, carrots and parsnips drizzled in olive oil and minced garlic. Unfortunately fresh cranberries are only available at Christmas in the UK, so I had to settle for cranberry sauce from a jar, but all in all, it was a fabulous dinner enjoyed with good friends.
Wild Rice StuffingPreparation time: 20 mins. Makes about 6 cups.
2 1/2 cups dried multi-grain bread, cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 cups wild rice, cooked
1/4 lb butter, melted
1/2 cup water or stock
2 small apples, chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1/8 cup walnuts
1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the bread, onion, sage, celery and wild rice.
2. Combine the melted butter with water or stock and gently mix into the bread mixture.
3. Add the apples, raisins and walnuts and toss.
4. Carefully stuff the chicken or turkey taking care not to pack too tightly – otherwise it will get sticky. If you don’t want to stuff the bird, or have extra stuffing that doesn’t fit, bake it in a covered casserole dish or aluminum foil for about an hour.