Bread & Butter Stuffing With Cranberries
Secrets for great stuffing
Start with good bread. The better the bread, the better the stuffing. Go for a rustic Italian loaf or even an eggy challah. Skip the baguette. It has too much crust.
Amp up the veggies by sautéing, roasting, or smoking them first.
Use reduced stock. Moisten the bread with low sodium chicken stock rather than water, and reduce it to really boost flavor.
Use the gravy from my Ultimate Turkey recipe. If you make my recipe for The Ultimate Turkey, and you should, the gravy from this recipe is the best thing to use. Just remove 4 cups from the drip pan while the bird is cooking for the stuffing. No need to reduce that stuff.
Don't stuff the bird. Juices from the bird infiltrate the stuffing (but not as many as you think) and if you do not cook it all the way up to 165°F in the center you could get a tummy ache. Worse, by the time the time the heat travels all the way to the center of the stuffing, the meat will be waaay over optimum, perhaps 180°F, and that is shoe leather boardering on cardboard. Just put just a few sprigs of herbs, some onion, and orange rind in the cavity so the aromatics can season the meat from the inside out. Bake the stuffing in a shallow pan so there is more surface on top to get crunchy while underneath it remains chewy. It is like a savory bread pudding.
Make muffings. Better still, serve everyone a nice neat little muffing with lots of crispy bits! Here's how:
1) Take 2 eggs, mix them with a fork in a bowl, and add them to the unbaked stuffing mix.
2) Spread butter thickly in the wells of a muffin pan and press the stuffing in, mounding it high.
3) Bake at 375°F uncovered until the temperature in the center hits 160°F and the top starts to brown.
Stuffed onions. Jessica Szegedi Gesell runs the fun blog MommyBistro. She puts her stuffing (with sausage) in an onion! What a great idea!
Here's a very traditional stuffing recipe perfect for turkey or for stuffing a pork loin roast (above). It was inspired by a recipe from my former student and teacher, David Rosengarten. He was a student in my wine classes at Cornell, and I call him my teacher becuase he since became a famous chef, one of the first hosts of the FoodNetwork, author of several cookbooks, and I have learned immensely by listening to him and reading his work. He travels the world, reports on his culinary adventures, and creates amazing, complex recipes for his Rosengarten Report.
Bread & Butter Stuffing With Cranberries Recipe
Makes. 12 servings
Preparation time. Assembly takes 20 minutes, baking takes 1 hour.
2.5 pounds Italian bread, sliced
8 ounces (2 sticks) butter
1.5 cups finely chopped celery
2 cups finely chopped onions
1 cup peeled and chopped apple
6 cups chicken stock or turkey stock
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tablespoons of dried thyme)
2 tablespoons dried crushed sage leaves
1 cup cranberry raisins
1 teaspoon table salt
Several generous grinds of fresh pepper
About the sage. If you can find fresh sage use about 15 fresh sage leaves, remove the stems, and cut the leaves into thin strips.
About the stock. If you have made my Ultimate Turkey you will almost certainly have leftover stock. This is a great place to use it.
1) Take the bread and cut it into squares about 0.25" on all sides. Precision not required! Leave the crust on. Spread the cubes on a baking pan and put them under your broiler and until they get amber or golden, but not brown, about 5 minutes depending on how close they are to the broiler. Watch things closely because they can go from golden to burned in a hurry.
2) Pour the stock into a sauce pan on high heat and boil it down until you have about 4 cups, about 66% of the original volume.
2) Melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Add the celery, onions, and apple, and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Add the stock or water. Increase the heat to moderate and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and allow to cool for 3 minutes.
3) Pour the mixture over the bread. Add the thyme and sage to the bread mixture. Add the cranberry raisins, salt, and pepper, and mix well. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
4) At this stage you can go in one of two directions: Traditional, or Muffings. To go traditional, put the mixture in a large roasting pan and cover with foil. Bake in a 375°F oven, covered, with foil for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, bake for another 30 minutes, and serve. To make Muffings, follow theinstructions in the sidebar.
This page was revised 1/18/2012
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