Monday, November 26, 2012
I realize that Thanksgiving 2012 is now past. I want to show you this and tell you how I do "stuffing". After all, Christmas is not long from now and it might be helpful.
I have never used a recipe for stuffing and I don't actually stuff the poultry anymore. "They" have scared me off with all the warnings about possible salmonella exposure, so now I roast the bird and bake the stuffing separately.
Here is a list of what I use:
Stale homemade bread
Homemade poultry broth or stock
Salt and pepper
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme (whole, dried and rubbed until small)
A small amount of ground poultry seasoning (be careful with this. It is very strong.)
1. Slice the bread, as much as you like (for 12 people I use 2 loaves) and lay it out in trays to get stale and dry out some. You don't want it to be hard, just dried up a bit.
2. Break the bread into small pieces into a large bowl. Add celery and onion, as much as you like. For this amount I would use 2 medium onions and about 5 celery ribs.
3. For this amount, I pour on 1 cup of melted butter and enough broth to make it moist, not soggy.
4. I never measure the seasonings. I just put on "some" and keep tasting until I like the flavor. Do the salt first and then start adding bits of the other things, the parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme and black pepper. When that tastes nice to you, sprinkle on a little bit of ground poultry seasoning and stir it all well.
5. Taste it a few times and pay attention. You will know when it tastes right.
6. Pack it all into an oven-proof covered dish and bake at 350 for about an hour.
7. When it is time for your big dinner, reheat in the oven, just until warm. Serve with gravy that you make from the drippings from your roasted bird, as follows...
Remove the bird from the oven and use your baster to take out the pan drippings. If you don't have a baster, with a little help, pour the drippings out. Put them all in a saucepan. Add enough of the aforementioned broth to make the amount of gravy you would like to have. You will have to gauge the amount of thickening by how much liquid you are now using. For 1 cup of liquid, use 1 Tablespoon cornstarch or 2 Tablespoons of unbleached flour mixed in a little warm water. When it all comes to a boil, then slowly add the thickening, stirring carefully to prevent lumping. Add any little bits of meat from the neck and dice the giblets too if you like. Simmer until thick, then taste it and see if it needs anything else, like a little more salt or pepper, but it probably won't.
Leftover stuffing can be frozen and reheated for future meals. I like to make what I call "Thanksgiving pie." Cut up some of the leftover turkey, mix it with some leftover stuffing, pack it into a pie plate and pour gravy over it all, then top with mashed potatoes and bake at 350 until the potatoes start to brown a little bit. We love this!
I have even filled some pie plates, as above, without the potatoes, and wrapped them snugly and frozen them for later use. All you have to do is add the potatoes and bake.