Thanksgiving stresses me out. I’m pretty sure I’m alone in dreading this holiday. Well, dread might be too strong of a word. I guess I’m more like intimidated by it. And I’m sure that sounds strange coming from a food blogger. Sure, I love to cook. And I especially love to cook turkey. But the thing is that it’s just me cooking this gargantuan meal for seven people. That’s a lot of stress for one person. And even though I’ve been doing this very thing for years, it never gets any easier. Even though the menu rarely changes…
One massive turkey. Traditional cornbread and sausage stuffing. Garlic green beans. Mashed potatoes. Yams with marshmallows (a nod to my Midwestern upbringing). Homemade cranberry sauce (and jellied for the picky 19 year old). Buttered and mashed turnips (homage to my much missed grandfather). Fresh baked Parker House rolls. Chocolate pecan pie (for eldest daughter). Traditional apple pie (for eldest son). Pumpkin pie (for youngest son). And vanilla ice cream for youngest daughter (God bless her for being simple).
That’s a tremendous amount of food for one woman to make. Don’t you think? But I do it every year. Why? It’s the penalty I pay for being part of a very small family. There’s no one to share the work.
But that’s ok. I’ve dealt with thornier issues in my lifetime. I think I can handle a multi course meal without having a total breakdown. Knock on cutting board.
So today I’m going to share with you a super simple appetizer. One that I’m going to serve my own family on turkey day. Brie with Brandied Cranberries and Figs.
I adore brie. Actually, this time last year I shared with you another brie appetizer that I love, Cranberry Pecan Brie Wrapped in Phyllo. And as much as I enjoy that recipe, this year I’m trying to cut back on carbs. A meal that is already carb heavy with stuffing, mashed potatoes, yams, fresh baked bread and three different pies doesn’t need carb heavy appetizers.
But I do love the flavor combo of cranberries and brie. So I decided to create a less carb heavy version of my beloved baked brie. And to keep it as a savory appetizer, I’ve mixed in caramelized onions which actually pairs well with the tart fruit. Just a few generous splashes of a good quality brandy elevates this appetizer from something quite good to something truly special.
After topping the brie with the brandied fruit and onion mixture, its baked until hot and bubbly. Served with your favorite crackers, it makes for a very festive appetizer. Not at all complicated, but still quite elegant. I love classy appetizers.
So if you too find yourself wigging out from all of the stress of holiday cooking, try keeping some of your recipes simple such as this Brie with Brandied Cranberries and Figs. Focus on recipes that are less labor intensive. Because Lord knows you’re going to need your energy for the homemade pies and rolls. Unless you were brighter than me and ordered them. Or maybe you have kids who only like vanilla ice cream. How easy would that be?
- 1 8oz wheel of brie
- 3 Tbsp butter
- ¾ cup vidalia onions, chopped
- ½ cup figs, finely chopped
- 3 oz fresh cranberries
- 3 Tbsp brandy
- 1½ Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 400º. Place brie in suitable sized baker.
- In a large saute pan, heat butter over median-high heat until melted. Add onions and cook for for 3-4 minutes. Add figs, cranberries, brandy, brown sugar and salt. Continue to cook for five more minutes. Remove from heat.
- Spoon fruit/onion mixture over brie. Bake in a 400º oven for 20 minutes. Serve with crackers or crusty French bread.