Sunday, May 2, 2010
Easy Peasy No-Bird Stuffing
Oh, Thanksgiving ... how I love thee ... In case you missed the cornbread post a few days ago, Thanksgiving in April is this American's way of getting her special food fix while living in subtropical Australia! It is autumn here now ... not that the leaves turn in Queensland or anyone's wearing sweaters yet or anything ... but it gets down to 15C (that's below 60F!!) at night now. Brrrrr!
Ok, enough of the gloating you say? Let's get on to sharing my favourite stuffing recipe ... my best take on the one my wonderful Grandma Alma made every holiday, and she even did it outside the turkey too! This year I baked it in a cast iron pot that I got for $5 at a garage sale, and it looked amazing. I only started making this after Grandma passed away, so I've adapted a recipe in my old Betty Crocker's Cookbook (circa 1969) that seems to do the job year after year. If you're interested, there is a newer Betty Crocker , but I haven't read it yet.
This recipe is a great way to use up stale bread ... I reckon you could try all kinds of variations, depending on what you have. Add nuts, or use different kinds of bread, or different herbs ...
Easy Peasy No-Bird Stuffing
This will easily serve 10-12 as a side, plus leftovers
1 onion, minced
3 stalks of celery, stalks and leaves all chopped
1 c butter (or a combo of butter and olive oil)
7 c bread cubes
4 medium apples, chopped (I don't peel mine)
3/4 c raisins or sultanas
1 - 1 1/2 L veggie stock
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp crushed dried sage (or 1 1/2 Tbs fresh)
2 tsp dried thyme leaves (or 2 Tbs fresh)
1/2 tsp pepper
*Always try to buy organic when you can!
1. Preheat your oven to 180C (360F). Saute the onion and celery in the butter until softened. Do this on medium heat so your onion doesn't burn. Stir in the herbs and mix. Then stir in 1/3 of the bread cubes and mix.
2. Put all the ingredients (except for the veggie stock) together in your baking dish (including what you've just sauteed) and mix well. Then pour the stock over, 1 cup at a time. Push the bread cubes down as the stock starts to creep up in your dish ... you want the cubes to absorb much of the moisture so you don't end up with soup. When the stock is visible below the top surface of the bread cubes (but these bread cubes have been adequately moistened), stop and put your stuffing into the oven. How much stock you end up using will depend largely on the staleness of your bread (drier bread will need more stock).
3. Bake for about 45 min - 1 hr (this will depend on the staleness of your bread). The stuffing is done when a) the liquid has been absorbed/baked away and b) the top is crispy and firm-feeling when you press on it with a spoon.
4. When it's done, I say serve it up in the baking dish with Sunday roast and lots of gravy!
PS. Feel free to stuff this into a bird if you want ... Betty says 3/4 c stuffing per every 1 lb of chicken or turkey.
Napkins for the mess ...
How much did this cost me?
Everything I used was 100% organic. Of course I didn't have any stale bread around, so I made a loaf in my breadmaker that morning. I reckon the loaf of bread cost me around $2 to make (if you use up stale bread, consider this free). The onion was about $0.60. The celery was half of a half bunch that I picked up at full price for $3.50 (so, $1.75), and the apples were about $2. The butter was almost a whole block, which I'd bought on special for $3.50. The raisins were about $14/kg so this amount was $0.70. And the herbs were negligibly cheap.
So, this organic Thanksgiving-y stuffing cost me just under $11 to make. Which may seem like a lot, for me, but you could do it more cheaply by using what you've got at home and it could be a hearty, easy main any night of the week (with a nice green salad ... yum!) for a family of 5 or so ... making it not too expensive at all.
Hope you're having a lovely weekend!