This was my first attempt at cooking stuffing. This Thanksgiving I plan on cooking everything from scratch, and even though it is a big task to take on, I am very excited.
Last weekend I decided to do a test run for the stuffing that I will make for Thanksgiving day, because to me, stuffing is more important than the Turkey. I love stuffing and, in my opinion, having poor-tasting stuffing on the big day can ruin the whole meal.
The first thing I did to prepare for my big cooking day was to peruse the internet for stuffing recipes. I looked at the MarthaStewart website, where I got the idea to use bacon. I read Simplyrecipes, where I got the idea for using French bread. And then I read a myriad of other blogs to get the basics for cooking stuffing. I decided to make a medley of the different recipes and to make my stuffing with prunes, sausage, bacon, and french baguette besides the regular ingredients such as celery, chicken stock, onions and butter.
I woke up on Sunday morning and went to the Bethesda Central Farmers Market, and walked around to see which ingredients I could purchase. I try to prepare most of dishes with organic ingredients when I can. I stopped by the Meat Crafters stand and purchased some Kielbasa sausage. (Apparently their recipe is a traditional recipe made of fresh pork, garlic, marjoram, and black pepper.) Then I walked over to the Bending Bridge Farm stand and purchased some onions. They grow their produce with care and patience and offer a myriad of fresh, organic produce.
Beside sausage and onions, I was not able to purchase any of the other ingredients I needed, so I went to my local supermarket where I was able to find the remaining ingredients. I headed home and immediately began cooking.
Bacon-Sausage-Prune infused Stuffing:
1 whole wheat French baguette
1 cup prunes (cut the prunes in half)
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/4 cup of chicken stock
6 tbsp of butter
4 or 5 strips of bacon
2 keilbasa sausages chopped
2 tbsp of sage
1/2 tbsp of rosemary
1/2 tbsp of thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste
I tore up the French bread into small pieces, and since it was not a day old, it was still very fresh, a good trick, I learned, is to put the bread in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes at 350 degrees or until it dries out. Then place the bread in a medium sized saute pan over medium heat, cover the bread with 3 tablespoons of butter and let the bread brown but not burn. In a different pan saute the onions, celery, and sausage in 3 tablespoons of butter. Let the sausage fully brown then add the bacon. After the bacon has been completely fried and become crispy add the sauteed bread from the other pan, all of the chicken stock, sage, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. Then cover the mixture and allow to simmer on a low heat for an hour. Every 15 minutes check on the mixture to make sure it has not become too mushy and is not sticking to the pan.
If I may say so myself, the stuffing tuned out well. It had the perfect balance of flavors and it was not too salty (I feared this because of the chicken stock). This stuffing was very easy to make and did not take a lot of prep time. Perhaps the one thing I will add for Thanksgiving day are some chestnuts. I find chestnuts to be a very fall/wintery ingredient and should add some texture to the stuffing.
Voila. You have a delicious organic easy to make stuffing for your turkey on the big day.