Showing posts with label stuffing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label stuffing. Show all posts

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.

They better watch out!

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.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ideas for YOUR Feast

The most common complaint, or at least comment, that I hear after Thanksgiving or other food related family gatherings is "I'm so full I can't eat another thing", and then we bring out the dessert and everyone finds rooms for just a little more. Why do we do this? Well the essence of hospitality in many cultures is to provide far more than enough food when you entertain.

Now that we have clearly entered the time of year when the groaning board is expected, anticipated with delight, and set up proudly by hosts and hostesses, here are some ideas from past posts to help you exceed expectations and create an even more festive holiday meal.

Some of these are simple but satisfying, like the pear-cranberry crisp. Some are quite traditional, like the Stuffing recipe from my Family Food cookbook. Some are over the top like the Pumpkin Pie Spectacular...your family and friends will be very impressed...and grateful...if you make it.

No matter what you serve, here's wishing you and yours very happy holidays!
XO Elle

Holiday Recipes from Soup to Nuts:

Soups -Butternut Squash Soup - Very seasonal, smooth and delicious!- Pumpkin Spinach and Rice Soup - Simple to make and very warming, plus the flavor combination is great!

Salad - This one is perfect for this time of year - Paula's Winter Salad has greens and oranges and raisins and it's a composed salad so you can make it ahead.

I'm not going to do a roast turkey recipe because Butter Ball does such a great job with that. I will, however, give you my favorite STUFFING recipe! Click HERE.

Side Dishes - The all time favorite, and one which is requested often, is a savory combination of wild and brown rice with the tang of cranberries. It goes REALLY well with roast turkey, but is great with pork roast, roasted chicken and roasted duck. Click HERE for a great seasonal side dish.

Still in the cranberry frame of mind? Try Cranberry Pear Sauce with your meal. It uses fresh cranberries which are plentiful most places this time of year. It's a bit like a chutney since it has some vinegar to offset the brown sugar.

It makes a great condiment with left over turkey, too. Click HERE for the recipe.

Looking for a healthy veggie side dish? Try Chard and Spinach with Onions, Currants and Lemon Zest. The flavors are clean and lively which is a nice counterpoint to the richness of other dishes on the groaning board. Find the recipe by clicking HERE.

Now it's time for my favorite part of the meal...dessert!

If you really want to WOW everyone, make Pumpkin Pie Spectacular with Gingersnap Crust. It takes pumpkin pie to the next level and really isn't too much more difficult than regular pumpkin pie. Click HERE to find the recipe.

Maybe you want to go with something seasonal but a little less rich? Try Pear Cranberry Crisp, maybe with a scoop of frozen yogurt added to each bowl when served. The crisp recipe is HERE.

With pomegranates all the rage, you might want to try a tart that uses pomegranate juice to make a fruit curd for the filling and is also used to poach pears for the topping. It's unusual and delicious. Click HERE for the Pomegranate Lemon Tart with Poached Pears.

Last, but not least, HERE is a recipe for a Mosaic Nut Tart (see, nuts came at the end as promised and the photo is at the top of the post) that is similar to pecan pie, but just a little different. Dollop on some whipped cream and enjoy a sweet slice...maybe as you watch the last Bowl game of the day?

If you enjoy any of these recipes and have the time, come back and let me know, OK? Always fun to share and rewarding to know that others liked 'em.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Almost Turkey Time

If you don't live in the U.S.of A., the coming of fall probably doesn't mean that it is time to gather up the recipes for cooking a big turkey for a family, or extended family, or family and friends dinner toward the end of November.

If you do celebrate American Thanksgiving, you probably have a raft of family traditions associated with the feast.

It might be Aunt Mabel's green bean casserole with onion rings or Uncle George's special meatball appetizer or Grandma's super sweet, marshmallow covered sweet potato casserole. With the way that tastes change over time, this might be the year that you decide to try something new and different...well, at least for one dish.

If you are the brave soul that is willing to stand up against family pressure and make a casserole that has fresh green beans and no fried onions in sight, or something with sweet potatoes that is actually savory, perhaps with some sage butter, or even a different stuffing for the turkey, you might need some suggestions for new recipes to try. I'm selfish enough that I want you to make one of the recipes I've blogged about if thats teh case...besides they are good!

There will be round ups and lists to be found around the Internet. My group of Thanksgiving ready recipes will be limited to ones I've posted here in the Land of St. Honore' at Feeding My Enthusiasms. That might make it a short list, but that makes it easier for you to scan it, check out any that look interesting to you, then pop on over to the next blog (which might be one on my likely blogs list...if you are smart).

Here goes....drumroll please.....


White Bean Dip, hits a lot of high notes - robust taste, not too filling, good-for-your-heart legume based, great with either crackers or crudites, easy to make and ...Yay!...can be made ahead and tastes even better if you do.

Caprese on a Skewer, is colorful, fun to make and fun to eat. Finding flavorful tomatoes might be a challenge, but you can use cherry tomatoes which are usually sold in pint baskets. They generally taste good. You can substitute flat leaf parsley (Italian parsley) leaves for the basil leaves. The flavor combo will be different, but the skewers are still pretty that way. You can Serve the skewers by sticking the end in a small pumpkin or you can corral a bunch of filled skewers in a tall glass, fanning them out.


A tossed green salad is always welcome, but if you want a make-ahead salad, try this Composed Orange Salad, . You can arrange the lettuce and orange slices on salad plates, stack them up in the 'fridge, then dab on the mayo, add the cherry and sprinkle on the raisins and coconut shortly before guests sit down and put them a plate at each place. The orange is refreshing and light which is a good way to start a meal that is heavy on the starches.

If the day is chilly as November often is, starting with a nice bowl of soup is warming and welcoming. Try a seasonal favorite like Two Squash Soup, rich with roasted butternut and pumpkin squashes, plus onions, sweet potato and apples. With a sour cream and diced red pepper garnish it's quite festive and flavorful.


The main event is usually a roast Turkey, golden and juicy. Turns out that I haven't blogged a turkey recipe, so I'm sending you to the experts. The Butterball turkey folks have a great helpline and website if you need a recipe or help. I usually cook mine in a brown-in-bag because it makes it difficult to over cook the bird, plus clean up is so easy.This one wasn't cooked in a brown-in bag and it is overcooked.


What is a turkey without stuffing? No nearly as good! My Mom makes the best stuffing (you knew I'd say that, right?...well, it's true) and the Stuffing, recipe I posted last year is based on her bread and corn bread stuffing. You'll need a slightly drier stuffing if it is going inside the bird than if it goes in the casserole, so add a little extra broth to the casserole baked stuffing. You can make it your own by adding favorite dried fruit, different nuts, and so on. Make plenty because people usually want seconds of this stuffing!

Good turkey benefits by the accompaniment of cranberries. There's something about the sweet-tart fruitiness that brings out the best in the bird. Cranberries also ripen in the fall, making them a fall favorite since Colonial times. If you want to break away from cranberry relish, try Elle's Wild and Brown Rice with Cranberries, for a side dish instead. It has the nutty flavors of wild and brown rice, plus apple juice soaked cranberries and a dash of orange flavor for zest.

(You can still open a can of cranberry jelly for purists).

Swiss chard is a seasonal green that is all too often forgotten makes a wonderful side dish. It is refreshing and savory and light...just right with such a rich meal. Try it fixed as Swiss Chard and Spinach with Onions, Currants and Lemon Zest, an interesting mix of greens, onions with the contrast of currants and the zip of lemon zest.


Even though the usual Thanksgiving meal has plenty of carbs without it, everyone loves freshly baked rolls. Pile the bread basket with these Refrigerator Rolls, which can be partially made ahead. They are from my other blog, Bread Baker's Dog, devoted to bread baking. Pop them in the oven when the turkey comes out. They'll bake while it's resting and being carved and you will be a star when you pass the bread basket and people get a whiff of freshly baked bread.

If you are feeling artistic and want to really impress, make the Harvest Sheaf bread, also found on Bread Baker's Dog. It is easier to make than it looks. To serve, I just sliced across the sheaf.


The last morsel of turkey has been polished off and the coffee is brewing. Now comes my favorite part, dessert. Here are three desserts that use seasonal fruits. They make a nice addition to the dessert table, which can also include a traditional pie.

The first Double Apple Bundt Cake with or without Rum Glaze, features crisp, tart apples complemented with spice in an easy to serve bundt cake with a decorative rum glaze.

The next two are a bit unusual but delicious. Try Stuffed Figs and Plum Clafouti, with the added kick of bittersweet chocolate hiding in the figs.

Pomegranate Lemon Tart with or without Spiced Poached Pears, makes use of the season's pears and is very pretty with the sweet-tart pomegranate lemon pastel tart filling and the fan of bi-colored pear slices on top.

Still need some recipe ideas? Check out the index by clicking on the set table photo at the top right corner of this blog.
Happy Thanksgiving! East well and enjoy time with family and friends. XOXOXO Elle

Sunday, November 23, 2008


It's not even Turkey Day, but I'm stuffed anyway. Since we will be joining my daughter and her beau for Thanksgiving this year, we celebrated a little early with Grandma L and our Sunday breakfast buddies by skipping breakfast and having turkey with all the trimmings for dinner Sunday instead.

Welcome to my table, set with seasonal colors and a big basket of fresh fruit. There was also wine, but we were drinking it with 'horses ovaries' as grandma calls appetizers. Later the whole table was covered in dishes and plates and bowls...there was enough food to feed three times as many guests as were at the table.

The turkey was over 21 pounds, big enough to enjoy and still have plenty to send home with our guests, plus for sandwiches for the next couple of days. I especially enjoy grilled turkey sandwiches for lunch.

The hit of the feast was probably the stuffing, as always. You may want to 'borrow' this recipe for your own feast. It is also good with chicken and with pork, so keep it handy. For pork I usually don't use poultry seasonings, just about a teaspoon of sage instead. It's a simple cornbread and bread stuffing with sauteed onions and celery, some herbs and spices, some apples and pecans. Everyone asks for seconds, so you know it's good.

This year I'm grateful for my health, for my Mom still being in great health and spirits, for my sister and nephew in particular, but for all my family being alive and kicking, for so many, many friends and for all they have meant to me this year, for the continued joy of blogging and those I've 'met' through blogging, for the luck of being in a meaningful job and having a good boss. Most of all I'm grateful for the abiding love of my husband and daughter, dog Xam and cat Merlin. Relationships are far more important than anything else as far as I'm concerned. In that respect I'm truly blessed.

Wishing you and those you love and who love you a happy Turkey Day and/or harvest season. Now go on, treat yourself, get stuffed with some stuffing!

(Elle's note: My Mom still makes the best stuffing in the world and she changes it a little each time. This is the stuffing I grew up with, changed slightly...less parsley, more fresh herbs...but basically the same. The smell brings back happy memories. Thanks Mom!)


Based on Mom's recipe in Family Food, June 1994

1/2 cup butter, melted
1-2 onions, finely chopped
1 - 1 1/2 cups diced celery...include some leaves if you like
3/4 cup minced parsley
1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 -8 inch square pan of cornbread (about 1/2 regular recipe)
1/2 loaf or so of stale multi grain bread - if not stale, dry out a bit in a low oven
1 medium apple, diced, skin left on
about 3/4 cup chopped pecans
1 can chicken broth, or equivalent (about 2 cups) home made chicken broth

Combine butter with onions and celery and saute' on medium high heat until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add parsley, salt, pepper, poultry seasoning and rosemary and stir to combine.

In very large mixing bowl or large pot, combine the cornbread, crumbled in large chunks, the bread, cut or crumbled in large chunks, the vegetable mixture, the apples and the pecans.

Stir well so that all ingredients are distributed evenly.

Stir in the broth quickly to moisten the ingredients. Immediately spoon into turkey cavities, keeping stuffing fairly loose and not packing it. Remaining stuffing can be put into a greased, oven-proof casserole, covered, and refrigerated. Finish off turkey and bake as you desire. About an hour before turkey is done, remove casserole from the refrigerator, seal the top with foil, and bake for 1/2 an hour along with the turkey. Uncover and continue to bake about another 1/2 hour, until top is crisp and golden.

Makes enough to serve at least 8 people. Wonderful with turkey gravy!