The door is closed isn't it?
The door is closed isn't it?
I do two stuffings: in bird and pan. I do this for two reasons:
- some people freak out about in-bird stuffing, although it tastes sooooooooo good and I've never gotten sick from it, and
- there's simply not enough room in the bird for as much stuffing as people want.
Mine is a light adaptation from the Joy of Cooking. Makes enough for a 2-quart with enough left over to generously stuff a pretty wompin' bird (last one I did was a 19-pounder and I still had a tiny handful of stuffing leftover after filling a two-quart casserole.
- 1/2 cup Vidalia onion, chopped or minced (I prefer minced)
- 2 apples (preferably Granny Smith apples)
- 1 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup dry white wine (I prefer vermouth)
- 1/2 to 1 cup chopped celery (optional)
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1-1/2 stick butter
- 7-8 cups bread crumbs*
- 1 tablespoon honey or two tablespoons brown sugar (optional)
- 1 lb. patty sausage, cubed.
- to taste:
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- coarse cracked pepper and salt to taste
- red pepper
- curry powder
- dill weed
- pretty much anything else you can think of
Melt butter in a medium-small skillet. Meanwhile, chop/mince onion and garlic. Combine all dry spices in a small bowl as desired. Add to melted butter.
Also gently heat wine in a small saucepan and add raisins (and sugar/honey as desired) to the wine. Keep hot, but below a boil. The raisins should soak up much of the wine/sugar mix and plump. Set aside once raisins plump (usually about 3-4 minutes).
Once butter is hot enough, slowly sautée the onions to clear, then add in the garlic, and continue sautéing until both are a nice brown.
Cube at least two cups of apples, and then ball sausage into marble-sized bits.
While the butter mixture is sautéing, in a very large salad bowl, toss breading and apples. Then, drizzle entire breading mix with butter mixture containing onion, garlic, etc. Toss in raisins including wine. Toss all together thoroughly to ensure that all stuffing is moist (be sure to "pull up" from the bottom of the bowl, or get an identical bowl, mate them, and shake the entire mixture to ensure thorough coverage.
Spoon off about a quart of the tossed mixture into another bowl, and then add sausage to the remainder and toss again. You now have two different stuffings: one without sausage to go into the bird, and one with sausage to go into the pan. You should have just enough in your large salad bowl to spread into a greased 2-quart casserole. Heat the pan stuffing at about 325 for a half hour or so, or you can stick it in under your bird cooking a low temperature (~ 190) for an hour or so and you should get a little bit of bird taste into the stuffing. The trick is knowing how long to leave the stuffing in at the lower temperature, and that's frankly just a knack I can't describe. You're looking for the sausage to bubble nicely and brown up.
The bird stuffing should be just fine to spoon out once the bird is cooked. Make sure your bird "rests' for a good half hour or so after you take it out of the oven. If your bird cooked, then your stuffing is cooked.
Share and enjoy!
* A little-known fact is that the Pelopennesian War was actually started over an argument about the right kind of bread crumbs to use in stuffing. Seems that the Macedonians just couldn't accept that nicely-cubed bread that had been lovingly dried after having been coated with spices and oils was the way to go, despite the Greeks' careful preparation and desperate attempts to explain the superiority of this method. Then the Spartans came along and weren't interested in this bullshit arguing, so they just smashed the fuck out of everyone's bread crumbs. Hilarity ensued....
Personally, I use primarily cubed Pepperidge Farm herb cubes and then "back fill" with crushed cornbread. that way, I get the best of both worlds w/r/t stuffing. I do have a friend who makes her own crumbs out of French bread she bakes herself and then dries with very nice spicing. And I will happily say that from a pure standpoint of the bread portion of the stuffing, hers is superior. Personally, frankly, I just don't have time to do that myself. One day, if I have that time, I'll be quite interested in trying this for myself.
Goddamn Adam, I miss Thanksgiving. :p
Oddly enough, when I read the title to this thread, I thought for sure that "The Final Frontier" was a metaphor for something else. Imagine my disappointment. :(
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