First of all, sorry/not sorry for the Giorno thumbnail. This article has nothing to do with JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, but I like Giorno’s hair, and also this season is great, so you should be watching it.
Okay, so… Thanksgiving. The one time of year when people seriously think about cooking for the first time all year, and decide to cook a giant bird to feed like thirty people, all without catching their home on fire. It’s a stressful time of year if you’re not a wiz in the kitchen, and even if you are, Thanksgiving can be a day of extreme anxiety if you’re not mentally and physically prepared to handle the weight of a thousand relatives and an entire batch of burned gravy, the stench of which will not be eradicated from your kitchen for at least three weeks.
I don’t have a foolproof plan for success, but if you are one of the unfortunate souls who has agreed to cook for someone this Thanksgiving, let me give you a few tips. If I’ve learned anything from the copious amounts of cooking anime I’ve watched, I have at least a few ideas for getting your kitchen in order and dishing up something truly amazing.
First, positivity. This sounds kind of corny, but bear with me. All the great cooking anime characters have this! Look at Soma from Food Wars, Aoi from Kakuriyo Bed and Breakfast for Spirits, or Kazuma from Yakitate!! Japan. The single biggest factor that can contribute to your meal either being a hit or a flop all stems from how you approach the overall dish. If you go into the kitchen with a recipe, a basic idea of what you’re doing, and a genuine willingness to see it through, no matter what, you’ve already got this positive mindset I’m talking about. The only time I see someone truly crash and burn with a dish is when they get into the kitchen and lose all faith in what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. Grating cheese morphs into a chore so immense, they determine that it’s hardly worth the effort. They can’t figure out how to get all the papery bits off their garlic, so they give up on the garlic (hint: NEVER give up on the garlic). They need to flip a cake out onto a cooling rack, wimp out halfway through, and end up ripping their cake in half. It’s honestly a little tragic.
Let’s face it–cooking doesn’t always go right. Things happen. You find out you forgot to buy a key ingredient. You accidentally set your entree and apartment on literal fire (I’m guilty of this). Maybe you didn’t get the perfect sear on your steak. No matter what, if you’re willing to roll with the punches, you’ll end up enjoying the process and the final result much more than if you give up because you somehow think you messed it up halfway into cooking.
Once you’ve gained a little positivity, the next thing you need is an ace up your sleeve. Do ONE little thing with an otherwise well-known dish to wow your friends. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel to make something really impressive–Soma and Kazuma are EXPERTS at this technique. For example, Soma took curry rice, and amped it up by making it into a curry risotto! Kazuma’s classic 324 layer croissant has the same effect- it impresses by doing something different witha familiar medium.
My stuffing recipe below also fits into this category. It’s a Ginger Miso Pork Stuffing, a definite riff on traditional Thanksgiving stuffing that is made better (in my humble opinion) by introducing some of my favorite Japanese style flavors. My recipe takes the basics of stuffing- the bread, the liquids, and the seasonings, and adds a Japanese twist on the flavors. Seriously, it’s the best stuffing I’ve ever had and incredibly easy to make as well. Make your ace this stuffing recipe and you won’t regret it, and will have your friends begging for more. I know personally because my friend Sarah literally demolished almost the entire tray of stuffing in a single sitting.
The last thing you need to succeed in the kitchen is an amazing group of friends willing to let a few mistakes slide. Thanksgiving isn’t a cooking competition. It’s not a call for you to show (or fake) your cooking chops. It’s a time to get together with friends and have a little fun. Gather the people together who might tease you a little for a dry turkey, and then just pour on more gravy to cover it up.
Enjoy! Hopefully your Thanksgiving is stress free and full of fun in the kitchen! Make this stuffing- it’s perfect for Thanksgiving, or even for later on in the year, just…as the main entree. I love stuffing. Watch the video below to see the full process.
Ingredients for the Ginger Miso Pork Stuffing
Feeds 10, or 6 really hungry people if you’re making this as the main for dinner.
-2 loaves gluten-free bread (sandwich bread)
-3 cups chicken stock
-3 tbsp soy sauce
-3 tbsp mirin
-3 tbsp sake
-3-4 tbsp awase miso (Depending on how salty you like it, go for the lower or higher amount. I like things well seasoned, so I used 4 tbsp and was very happy, but I will admit that I was pretty thirsty afterwards.)
-1/2 cup chopped parsley
-1 stick butter
-2 bunches green onions, chopped
-3 tbsp grated ginger
-4 cloves chopped garlic
-1 lb pork
-1 tbsp soy sauce
-1 tbsp sake
To Make the Ginger Miso Pork Stuffing
1. Tear up the bread into bite-size pieces and set aside in a large bowl.
2. Preheat oven to 400 F. Start by combining the liquids. Add soy sauce, mirin, and sake to the chicken broth. Thin the miso down with some of the broth, and then pour it in. Whisk in the eggs, and then whisk in the chopped parsley. Set aside.
3. Melt a stick of butter in a pan. Sautee green onions on medium high heat, abut 2 minutes, or until softened. Lower heat to medium, and add in grated ginger and chopped garlic. Sautee about 90 seconds, or until fragrant. Then, toss through the green onions.
4. Raise temperature again to medium high. Add in the ground pork, and season with salt. Break the pork up into bite size pieces and brown, about 5-6 minutes. Stir soy sauce and sake through the pork mixture, and set aside.
5. Add the pork mixture to the bread, and the liquid mixture. Stir through until the liquid is evenly soaked into the bread, and the pork mixture is evenly distributed. Pour stuffing into a baking dish (I had to use two to contain it all), and bake, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes, or until top is nice and crispy and browned.
6. Serve up, nice and hot! Garnish with extra parsley. Serve as a side to something, or as a main–pair with a salad and roasted vegetables.
I hope you enjoyed this post! Check in next week for another recipe, and to check out more anime food recipes, visit my blog. If you have any questions or comments, leave them below! I recently got a Twitter, so you can follow me at @yumpenguinsnack if you would like, and DEFINITELY feel free to send me food requests! My Tumblr is yumpenguinsnacks.tumblr.com. Find me on Youtube for more video tutorials! Enjoy the food, and if you decide to recreate this dish, show me pics! 😀