I cooked a Blue Apron box for Thanksgiving dinner, and here’s what happened…
Ok, so I put off writing this final Blue Apron box review for several months. Mainly due to my slacktivism, I figured, “why not? Let’s go out with a bang.” And what better way to finish up a review series on subscription box cooking than on the US National Day of Eating and All Things Food Related, Thanksgiving. I don’t read my Blue Apron “menus” ahead of time, so the element of surprise is always in play. I was expecting something Thanksgiving related, since our typical delivery days are Wednesday and Friday. Did they send a box full of Thanksgiving yummies? OH HOHO. They sent TWO!
Since the normal delivery schedule must be off for the holiday weekend, I received both Wednesday’s and Friday’s box, eagerly stacked and awaiting on the front stoop. This was definitely a welcome surprise. It’s my first year hosting Thanksgiving Dinner – like a muthafuckin adult!! – and hell if I know what to cook. Blue Apron just took a huge stress off.
Four meals, wow. I know Thanksgiving is a day of gluttony, but we are going to have more than enough for our party size of 4 adults, 4 children. From the recipes Blue Apron sent, I should have enough to save for later in the week. However, based on one of the recipes, and the number of attendees to our little soiree we have under the age of 8, I’m going to explain why I’ll be making all four.
Based on that recipe list, is there anything that jumps out at you as perhaps appealing strongly to the first grade and under cohort? The Brussels Sprouts? NOPE. Im’ma be making that turkey, stuffing, salmon, sweet potato salad AND Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese tomorrow. We will not be lacking for food.
Part One: The Make Ahead Portion
To save me time and oven space, I prepped the Pork & Mushroom stuffing today (Weds) minus the egg, so all I have to do tomorrow is pop in the oven and bake. The Turkey, Salmon, Sweet Potato Salad, and Mac & Cheese can all be made ready tomorrow. Our guests arrive at 5 pm.
MEAL ONE: PORK AND MUSHROOM STUFFING
Up to this point, every stuffing I’ve ever eaten has been heavy on the bread, the starch, and the celery, and dry dry dry. Boxed stuffing is good, but it’s really only good if you love sodium. That’s what Thanksgiving stuffing brings to mind: salt. Salt and carbs.
I approached cooking a more meat-based stuffing with an attitude of reverence for all Thanksgiving side dishes. Stuffing is the Vice to the Turkey’s Presidency. It is important, but needs to be supported with a protein entrée.
Thus, having a carb + protein dish led to some very dangerous “just sampling” territory, which could mean that “hmm, looks like stuffing’s off the menu tomorrow night, boys.” Because, upon sampling this preparation work, it really WAS that good.
The first step was to sautee and cook the Cremini mushrooms in Olive Oil, which, total side tangent, I cooked in oil we received from another subscription service TASTE THE WORLD. Would this Oleum Hispania from the Taste the World Spain Box allow for a more authentic flavor experience? I don’t know, guess we will have to find out. Perhaps another blog series for another subscription box. Hashtag, addicted.
Anyway, prep for the Pork Stuffing was easy enough. Chop mushrooms, vegetables, broil pork and herbs. The prominent flavor of this stuffing, however, will come from the fennel root. This being the first time I’ve ever cooked with a fennel root, please indulge me for a moment, the botany nerd appreciation for this bisection of a fennel root. That Parenchyma, Sclerenchyma, and Collemchyma, Xylem and Phloem! A plant nerd delights ❤ 😀
Preparation for this meal was very simple and straightforward.
- Sautee mushrooms
- cook and soften the fennel, red onion, garlic, and rosemary and sage herbs
- cook and combine the 1 lb ground pork and spice blend into vegetable blend