Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Stuffed or Dressed? (Stuffing)

I know many people who, oddly, don't care for stuffing that much. I say, what kind of stuffing have you had? I imagine it must be some horrible rendition in some horrid school cafeteria. Or perhaps your great-aunt made it with something you didn't like in it-raisins, oysters, celery, onion, etc. Which are not bad things, but if you don't like them or the way they are cooked it can ruin your stuffing experience.
I love stuffing. I know we really should call it dressing, because we never actually stuff the bird, but we always just call it stuffing. I love it and we only have it a few times a year! Recently I have begun making it when we have a roasted chicken, which happens several times a year, and also when we have ham (a twice-a-year occasion). I like it anyway it comes. I even order turkey dinners at restaurants because I just love stuffing and gravy! At a restaurant I worked at, we served several Thanksgiving banquets the week of, and the sous-chef knew of my affair with stuffing and saved me a large portion each time. I still ate plenty on Thanksgiving! A few years ago, I discovered an absolutely delicious stuffing recipe, and it has become a family favorite. It has bulk sage sausage, apples and cranberries in it. I always make one pan of that stuffing, and one pan of plain (for the unadventurous). I usually have none of the sage stuffing left. You can make the stuffing with a box mix, and just add the additional ingredients, or make it from old bread that you baked in the oven until its dried. If you use your own bread, just saute some finely chopped onions and carrots with the sausage, and season with salt and pepper.
I make this early in the day on Thanksgiving, and I put it all in a pan, cover with foil, and reheat while the Turkey is resting. I know I have mentioned Thanksgiving a lot, but I think its time we serve stuffing all throughout the year, instead of making it wait until Thanksgiving to make its appearance on our table. Let us have a stuffing revival!
Sage Stuffing
1 lb sage sausage (homemade or purchased)
2 boxes stuffing mix, any brand
4 cups water
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon,
4 cups homemade chicken broth
2 small apples (crisp, sweet apples like gala, pink lady, fuji or jazz are best)
1/3 cup dried cranberries

Brown sausage in a large pot over medium-high heat.. Add apples and cook, stirring for about 1 minute. Add stuffing mix, dried cranberries, water and bouillon (or homemade chicken stock), and turn off heat. After thoroughly combined, transfer to a 9x13 glass baking dish. You can cover and reheat at 350 for about 25 minutes.

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