Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Stuffing to End All Stuffings

It's my humble opinion that this is one of the best stuffing recipes ever created. Its fate was sealed as forevermore our family Thanksgiving stuffing recipe at first bite. If you're not a meat eater, you could use a soy sausage instead of pork. Do you call it stuffing or dressing?

Brown Bread Stuffing with Chestnuts, Apples and Sausage

source: Brown Bread Stuffing with Chestnuts, Apples and Sausage
photo courtesy of chow.com because the one I took
might possibly be the worst photo of food ever taken :)

Ingredients


fresh produce needed for this recipe
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick), plus more for coating the baking dish
  • 6 slices pumpernickel bread, crusts removed, medium dice
  • 6 slices wheat bread, crusts removed, medium dice
  • 5 sweet Italian sausages (about 1 pound), casings removed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, medium dice
  • 1/4 cup torn fresh sage leaves
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped Italian parsley leaves
  • 2 medium celery stalks, medium dice
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored, medium dice
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped chestnuts 
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Tips

For the chestnuts:

I've found that Asian markets carry the most reasonably priced chestnuts, I tend to buy a couple of bags each time I need them and freeze them so I have them on hand.
look for this style of packaging in the produce
section of  any Asian market
Chestnuts are easier to peel if you roast them first. Traditionally, a small paring knife is used to cut an "X" into the skin of each chestnut to allow the steam to escape while cooking. I'm not a patient person so it only took a few before I was looking for a quicker solution. I found it with our meat tenderizer. Learn how to roast chestnuts for peeling here.
creating an escape route for the steam
we've gone through several meat tenderizers and found
this style works best for us

For the apples:


An apple corer is a great tool to easily core apples before
cutting or for stuffing apples before baking.

It's also a clever tool to turn apples or any other
fruit/vegetable into a taper candle holder.

For the celery:

This is a tip I learned from my grandmother. The easiest way to chop celery is to first split them lengthwise then chop them. Her tuna salad was always the best because she'd slice them into several small vertical pieces before chopping, which makes very small celery pieces and gives the tuna salad the perfect crunchy texture.

Preparation

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with butter. Place the diced bread in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. Place a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the butter and crumble in the sausage. Cook until the sausage is lightly browned, stirring to break it up.
  3. Add the onion and sage and cook, stirring often, until the onion is soft and golden, about 5 minutes.
    bench scraper is a great tool for moving chopped
    ingredients to the pan quickly and easily.
  4. Add the thyme, parsley, celery, celery seed, apples, and chestnuts and cook until the apples are golden, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and pour the mixture over the diced bread, tossing well to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Spoon the stuffing into the prepared dish and bake for 30 minutes.