Thursday, November 21, 2013
It's the Stuffing
Everyone who knows me well can tell you that I adore turkey. Although we don't have the full whole turkey with all the trimmings that often during the year, we do have turkey sausage links on the barbecue, ground turkey as the meat for chili and spaghetti sauce, and sliced turkey for sandwiches.
When late November rolls around it becomes easy to find whole turkeys in abundance in the U.S.A. because the celebration of Thanksgiving is right around the corner. I usually buy a frozen turkey and let it thaw in the fridge. I tried an organic, fresh-never-frozen turkey one year but it didn't seem to be much better than the flash frozen ones and was quite a bit more expensive.
Sweetie loves stuffing in much the same way I love turkey, so at Thanksgiving he is a happy camper, too. Since the stuffing I use to stuff the bird's cavity also flavors and perfumes the turkey and the whole house, if you want to do it right, pay attention to the stuffing!
There are all sorts of takes on stuffing. Maybe your family has a traditional recipe and you want to use that. If you are looking for a new one, you could try the one that I make. It is a slight variation on the bread stuffing that my Mom has made since I was tiny. It has the savory hit of sautéed onions and celery, herbal notes of poultry seasoning and parsley, plus the textural contrasts of mixed yeast bread cubes and crumbly baked corn bread. Sometimes I also add in some chopped apple or chopped pecans, but it's fine without.
What I like best is to stuff the turkey with about 2 cups of it and then put the rest into a casserole so that it can bake during the last 20 - 30 minutes the turkey is in the oven or right after the turkey comes out and is resting before being carved. That way you get all of the stuffing flavors inside the bird, but a nice side dish, too, with a crusty top.
1 cup margarine, melted
4 medium onions, minced
¾ cup parsley, chopped
1½ cups celery leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
2 teaspoons salt
1½ teaspoons pepper
4 quarts soft stale breadcrumbs/bread cubes and corn bread - I use a mixture of leftover bread ends of many kinds, plus corn bread
1 cup chicken broth
Saute’ the onions, parsley, celery leaves, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper in the melted butter for 5 minutes. Combine sautéed mixture with the breadcrumbs (may substitute some cornbread). Moisten with chicken broth. You may also add chopped apples, dried fruit, chopped toasted pecans, or oysters. Use stuffing to stuff bird. Extra may be baked in 4250 F. oven ‘til brown (after turkey is out of oven). Enough for a 15-19 lb. turkey.