I adore simplicity and I think restraint, especially when it comes to cooking, is one of the most elegant things to practice. I haven't always been this way. True story: I am a recovered snob. When I first started cooking Thanksgiving dinner for my entire family and our extended tables of friends, which was when I was in middle school, I insisted that everyone try my warm panzanella with sausage and autumnal vegetables. I threw a fit when my brother insisted it was just stuffing — which, in fact, it was.
As I've gotten older, I've toned down the pretension and embraced the comfort of familiarity. I have also continued to tweak my stuffing recipe, as it's my favorite item on the Thanksgiving menu, especially when the leftovers are crisped in a frying pan the next morning and topped with a runny fried egg.
Read more of Julia on small victories: Julia Turshen on Small Victories After Thanksgiving + 7 Leftover Recipes to Try
Bread, Sausage, and Apple Hash
4 thick slices plain day-old bread, such as sourdough or sesame, torn into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces uncooked sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small green apple, halved, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 small yellow onion, finely diced
Freshly ground black pepper
6 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock
A small handful of finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
4 fried eggs
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400°F. Place the bread on a baking sheet and toast, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, about 10 minutes; set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Crumble the sausage into the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and the fat is rendered, about 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the sausage to a plate, leaving the fat in the pan.
Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the butter, apple, and onion to the pan. Season with a generous pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the sage and garlic and cook, stirring, until the garlic has lost its raw edge and smells fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the stock and bring to a boil, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the reserved bread and sausage, along with any liquid that accumulated on the sausage plate, and cook, stirring occasionally, just until the bread is slightly softened, all of the liquid has evaporated, and it smells like Thanksgiving, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley and season with more salt and pepper as needed. Serve immediately, topped with the fried eggs.
- Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
From Small Victories by Julia Turshen, photographs by Gentl + Hyers (Chronicle Books, 2016)