Thursday, November 20, 2014

Stuffing (Dressing)

I'm finally up to 40,000 words.  I have been very busy, and skipped at least two days trying to fix a leaky toilet, but it looks like I'll be able to finish the project if I can find an hour a day to work on the book.

Meanwhile, I'm still not cooking as much as I would like.  I'm currently on a batch of macaroni and cheese with bacon.  It tastes great, and used up most of the random bits of cheese in my fridge, but it is a rerun.  I think I'm going to make a simple margherita pizza tomorrow to use up the last dregs of some spaghetti sauce and some shredded mozzarella.  A dozen cherry tomatoes are in the oven right now, dehydrating to use on future salads.

I bought two bags of cranberries and canned up a year's worth of sauce while typing at the kitchen counter.  Five half-pints will even be enough for me to take some next week to Thanksgiving.

There was talk of Costco stuffing at the meal, so I decided to make some of the real stuff to have at home with pork chops.  Stuffing is super easy, can be baked alongside most meats, and can be flavored with absolutely anything you want.  I did celery, onion, an apple, and the sage pumpkin seeds I loved.  You could easily swap out the apple for a carrot or parsnip, but I thought the sweet would go well with the pork chops and apples come with fiber.

This is a small version for a family dinner, not the huge mounds you make for a holiday meal.  Yes, it takes longer than the box, but you can flavor it any way you want.

*1/2 French bread or baguette, stale and cut into 1/2" cubes
1 C chicken or vegetable stock
1 Tb butter, plus greasing
1/2 onion, diced
*3 ribs of celery, diced
*1 medium apple, diced (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp dried sage
1/4 C pine nuts or pumpkin seeds, toasted

1.  Cut bread and set aside.  It can get as dry and stale as it wants.  Butter an 8"x8" baking casserole.  Preheat oven to 350º.

2.  Melt 1 Tb butter in a large skillet.  Add onion and sauté until it starts to get soft, about five minutes.  Add celery and apple and continue to cook over medium until everything is soft, stirring occasionally, as much as 10 more minutes.  Stir in sage and 1/2 C stock to deglaze pan.
3.  Stir in bread.  Once the bread soaks up all the liquid, transfer to baking dish.  Drizzle with remaining stock and allow to sit a few minutes so the bread can soak it up.  Sprinkle top with seeds or nuts and bake until bread is toasty and everything is heated through, about 20 minutes.  Serve hot, with gravy if desired.

Difficulty rating  π

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