Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Seasonal Meal (kind of): Can stuffing be in season?

I have this thing about Thanksgiving food--I love it so much and have such a variety of recipes, but it's kind of an unspoken rule not to mess with the recipes. When you only get stuffing once a year, you kind of want to get what your expecting. So, I thought about bringing stuffing back to the table. It's such a comforting dish for when you need it--not at the beginning of the cold season, but right smack in the middle of those nasty winter doldrums. It's a great Sunday supper with a roasted chicken. And you never know, if you experiment enough with stuffing, you may find a recipe sooo irresistable, you may just rock everyone's world next Thanksgiving!

I like this recipe, because it leaves a lot of room for your own preferences:

Here are the basic ingredients
1 one-pound loaf bread set out overnight (or 1 1/2 pounds cornbread)
4 cups chopped vegetables (I liked my combination of celery, sweet onion, and fennel)
1 cup fresh herbs, predominantly parsley, sage, and thyme
2 cups or less liquid (I used chicken stock, but you can use a combo of stock, butter, or eggs)
1 pound meat (sausage, beef, or ham....I like sausage)
Butter and/or olive oil
4 cups or less fruit/nuts (I put in a granny apple and some pecans and called it good. No need to get weird!)
3 tablespoons seasoning (S&P)

1. Cut bread into slices or cubes the night before, and set out overnight to dry.
2. Chop a variety of veggies and fresh herbs and set out liquid.
3. Saute the meat until cooked through and remove from skillet with a slotted spoon.
4. Saute chopped vegetables in the rendered fat from the meat (or butter/olive oil) until they are softened.
5. Combine cooked meat, all vegetables, fruit, nuts, and bread. Toss just until combined--overdoing this will cause texture issues.
6. Add liquid; taste and adjust seasoning.
7. If you are stuffing the bird, do it now, otherwise bake at 375 degrees until golden, about 30-40 minutes.