Monday, November 29, 2010

Sausage and Herb Stuffing

As I've mentioned, this is the first time I've EVER done Thanksgiving dinner all by myself. I did a lot of research on Turkey and Stuffing in particular b/c those are 2 things I've never made.

Krystal (another author of this blog) told me that she is a 'stuffing snob' and although she was sweet enough to send me the ingred list for her Mom's famous stuffing - she didn't give me measurements. Normally - I just wing it - but when I try something so crucial to the most important meal of the year - I have to have atleast ball park measurements.

So... I went to my go to, never fail me, culinary hero, Ina Garten for her recipe - and she didn't fail me!!
Sausage and Herb Stuffing - Barefoot Contessa
16 cups 1-inch bread cubes, white or sourdough (1 1/2 pound loaf)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 cups medium-diced yellow onion (2 onions)
1 cup medium-diced celery (2 stalks)
2 Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, cored and large-diced
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound sweet or spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Place the bread cubes in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake for 7 minutes. Raise the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Remove the bread cubes to a very large bowl.

Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, melt the butter and add the onions, celery, apples, parsley, salt and pepper. Saute over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are softened. Add to the bread cubes.

In the same saute pan, cook the sausage over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until browned and cooked through, breaking up the sausage with a fork while cooking. Add to the bread cubes and vegetables.

Add the chicken stock and cranberries to the mixture, mix well, and pour into a 9 by 12-inch baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes, until browned on top and hot in the middle. Serve warm.

In doing my research, all the 'foodies' on the food network, cookbooks, etc. The 'newschool' way of thinking is NOT to stuff the turkey. Logic being that stuffing the bird brings down the temp of the oven, and by the time the stuffing is done, the turkey has been over cooked and is dried out. SO... I followed the rules and was VERY pleased with the outcome.

Instead of white bread, I used those delicious steak rolls that come in a bag at Costco (I know that is totally cheating - but what can I say?? I did the whole darn Turkey dinner - not too shabby!

I excluded the cranberries and the apples - my husband has a thing about mixing fruit with meat - and it was fantastic.

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