As I shared in last year’s Thanksgiving post (click here to read) this is my favorite all time holiday. Reading back over that post myself, I give some pretty descriptive reasons why that is so. Therefore, I won’t rehash them (though if you haven’t read the post yet you might be enlightened) but I did want to share a new recipe and a little story with you today.
This year Hubby and I are on our own for our feast. Since it isn’t a holiday for us here in the U.K. it is tough to fly to America for dinner with the family. And it is hard to be apart from them, of course. But we can still give thanks for the times we are able to spend with them such as this past September when we were in Nebraska with Hubby’s family. Then I flew to Washington State to spend my daughter’s birthday with her. Savoring these moments helps to keep us going until our next visit, which hopefully won’t be long.
The story I am going to share is an analogy of how we can look at this holiday in a different way. Thinking of it as being Thankful and also Giving, literally. The story also ties in with the #30daysofgratitude that I am hosting on my Snapchat account (username blissbakery).
The night before Thanksgiving a young female chef had a dream that she was met at the Pearly Gates by St. Peter. He told her that while waiting to see the All Mighty she would be taken on a tour of both heaven and hell. The first stop was hell. The young woman was very apprehensive but to her surprise when they arrived there, things actually looked okay. In fact they looked amazing. There were long tables with chairs on either side. People dressed in the finest of clothes were sitting in the chairs. The tables were decorated with the most expensive china, crystal and silverware. And on each of these long tables were platters filled to the brim with the most gorgeous looking food you have ever seen.
“Hey, hell ain’t so bad” she said to St. Peter. But he took her by the hand, walked a bit further in and said, “look closer and listen carefully”. She did take another look and the strangest thing, she noticed each of the diners had strange paddles at the ends of their arms where their hands would have been. Like giant spatulas! And she could hear moaning, whining and cursing. When she scrunched up her eyes she saw why they were making those awful noises. The people, who had been served this delicious food, couldn’t get the food into their mouths with those God awful paddle hands. Every time they tried to scoop it up and put it to their mouths the food would fall off and spill everywhere. “Wow, that sure sucks, all that food and you can’t even enjoy it. This is hell!” she said.
St. Peter took the young woman out of hell and up to heaven. She was still shaking her head in disbelief at that strange sight when they walked into the room of heaven. She couldn’t believe her eyes. It was literally the exact same room, the same set up of tables, and china plates and fancy linen tablecloths with stunning flower arrangements. In fact the people were all dressed in their finery and indeed had those strange and awkward paddle hands. She turned to St. Peter and said with a tinge of irritation, “Is this some sort of joke SP? It is the same bloody place! ” He cleared his throat, a bit of that “listen here young lady, give me some respect” and said, “now, now, take a minute and notice if there is in fact any difference”. She rolled her eyes and then stood quiet and listened. She noticed there was no moaning, just laughing and giggling. Then she saw those paddle hands, picking up that delicious food off the plates. And suddenly it became clear to her. She said, “OMG OMG, oh is that okay if I say that up here? SP I get it, I can see it now!” “What do you see my dear?”
She replied, ” I see the people and why they are so happy. They aren’t spilling the food, they aren’t frustrated. They are happy because they are eating, but also serving. They are each feeding each other! No one is hungry because rather than trying to feed themselves, they are serving their neighbor.”
St. Peter said, “That’s right my dear. They are fed and they are happy. They are happy because they are thankful. They are thankful, they are giving!” She gave him a giant hug. He looked at her and said, “And you have a chance to make that choice yourself.”
I hope you have a thankful and giving Thanksgiving no matter where you are. And if you are having a smaller than usual gathering, here is a recipe that might work. It has all the flavors of the day, but in a smaller portion. And it is made with chicken which is easier to find than turkey no matter what time of the year. I think you’ll want to make this one even when it isn’t my fav holiday. This is such a delish dish! Enjoy!
Chicken With Cranberries
4 free range “bone in” chicken breasts with skin (8 oz each)
2 Tbsp butter
1 ½ tsp dried thyme
1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp dried sage
2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1 cup cranberries (fresh or frozen)
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp cornstarch/corn flour (mixed with 1 Tbsp water)
- Preheat oven to 450 F/230C. In a small bowl, mix 1 Tbsp butter, 1 tsp thyme, ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper. Rub evenly under the chicken skin. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Place in the oven, skin side up, and roast until skin is golden brown and meat is cooked through, about 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes. Add the sage and remaining ½ tsp thyme. Cook for 1 minute. Add the broth. Simmer until reduced to 1 ½ cups (about 10-15 minutes). Strain the mixture and return only the liquid to the saucepan.
- Add the cranberries and sugar to the liquid in the saucepan, and boil until the berries burst (5-8 minutes). Whisk in the cornstarch mixture and return to the boil. Cook until slightly thickened (1-2 minutes). Remove from heat. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.
- Serve the sauce over the chicken breasts, along with a nice rice pilaf or mash potato and a green veg such as green beans. Garnish with fresh sage or thyme sprigs.
Giving you LOVE and thanks!