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Warming up for Thanksgiving with Friendsgiving 2.0

Addie Broyles

For the second year in a row, I hosted Thanksgiving dinner a few weeks early.

This wasn’t The Real Deal Thanksgiving, just Friendsgiving, that less-stressful (and arguably, more fun) excuse to roast a turkey and hang out with the people you love who might not actually be related to you.

Last year, I waxed poetically about why I love Friendsgiving as much as real Thanksgiving, and yesterday’s feast reminded me why. We had some of the same faces as last year, but one of the truths of Friendsgiving is that as your social circle evolves, so does your guest list, unlike the set-in-stone family Thanksgiving.

It was wonderful to spend the afternoon with them, stuffing our faces with the first turkey of the season….

…the most amazing venison boudin cornbread stuffing…

…a decadent hash brown casserole that you should probably only eat once a year.

Some of the other dishes, like the cashew pie we were still devouring long after the sun set, will make their debut a little closer to the Thanksgiving proper (our big holiday food section comes out on Sunday, Nov. 23), but until then, here’s that hash brown casserole recipe to whet your appetite.

Hash brown Casserole

This is my neighbors’ favorite holiday potluck dish, and they’ve brought it to both of the Friendsgivings we’ve hosted for our friends and family here. It’s a sinfully delicious cheesy potato casserole with a unique twist: cornflakes. The dish has more calories than you’d like to know, but you can trim back the amount of sour cream, shredded cheese or butter and still have a tasty dish. Just know it won’t be like what the Morchers make. Kat Morcher says that they’ll often double the recipe if the crowd is big.

1 (16 oz.) bag cubed frozen hash brown potatoes

1 cup cream of chicken soup

1 (16 oz.) container regular sour cream

1 (12-oz.) bag of shredded Cheddar cheese

1 bunch of green onions, chopped

2 small cans of diced green chiles

2 cups cornflakes

1 stick butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in large bowl.

Transfer to a 9-inch-by-13-inch casserole dish and bake, uncovered, for one hour and 10 minutes.

Remove casserole from oven and sprinkle the cornflakes in a layer on top. Drizzle butter over cornflakes and bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes.

— Recipe from Leona Wilkins, adapted by Kat and Matt Morcher