Monday, November 23, 2009

Dear Diary: Sourdough Sausage Stuffing

Today on Serious Eats: Sausage, Apple, and Cranberry Stuffing. Because you can never have enough stuffing. And you can never say the word “stuffing” enough times in a blog post. (Also: stuffing.)

This year, in preparation for our Thanksgiving posts, I cooked and ate two 9x13 trays of stuffing, all by myself. It was grueling, tongue-bending work. But somebody had to do it. And somebody had to keep a diary of the ordeal.

Dearest Diary,
Thanksgiving is nigh! Oh, such joy and contentment the holiday brings to myself and my kin! What delightful provisions shalt we partake in this annus mirabilis? I do find stuffing particularly pleasing, and a lighter, savory recipe would create much huzzah-ing amongst mine hallowed guests. Let it be done, then! This evening, Cooking Light’s Sourdough Sausage Stuffing shalt permeate mine apartment like so many exhaust fumes of scrumptiousness.

Dearest Diary,
O, frabjous day! What wondrous victory the stuffing has been! Truly, a splendid addition to anyone’s Thanksgiving table. Alas, there is much left over, as the Husband-Elect has been detained by his place of employment. I shalt endeavor to persevere, as we bloggers must! Serving #3, down the hatch.

Dear Diary,
Prepared the other stuffing for Serious Eats. It’s quite good, but has left me with two plastic receptacles full of stuffing. I now embark on my sixth straight all-stuffing meal. This could last a fortnight. Beginning to rue decision-making skills, regret life choices.
Somewhat nauseously,

On to stuffing meal #9. I’m pretty sure a stuffing baby is forming in my abdomen. Who’s idea was this, anyway? I’d like to punch her in the neck with a ladle.

Stuffing has taken on bizarre, LSD-like characteristics. Hallucinations abound. Everything starting to look like Lady Gaga video. Why yes, Mr. Lincoln, I will unite the country with you. Nice hat.
Flounder staple,

Deer Diree,
To mutch stoofing. Tumy fulding inn onn isself. Scend halp. HAHAHAHA. *cry*

I woke up this morning next to a man in a banana costume, a copy of Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian, and a clean Pyrex dish. Trying to piece the previous night together, to little avail. I do know the following: 1) the stuffing is gone, 2) it was savory and delicious, and 3) Lou Reed is locked in my bathroom. Will definitely do this again next year.

The diary mysteriously ends there. Strange. But sweet readers, if you should want to set off on a similar journey, here’s some things to know:

1) The better the bread, the better the stuffing. I went for an organic, artisanal loaf here, and the price reflects the quality. Man, it was good, though.

2) Try to buy the bread pre-sliced. The cubing process will be much quicker.

3) Numbers come directly from Cooking Light, so only the price calculations are included below.

4) Cooking Light has more stuffing recipes where this came from, over here.

And with that, Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! May your turkey be moist, your pie be fresh, and your stuffing be plentiful. But not too plentiful.


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Sourdough Sausage Stuffing
Serves 9
From Cooking Light.

10 or 11 ounces sweet Italian turkey sausage (about 3 links)
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cups onion, chopped
2 cups celery, chopped very small
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons ground sage
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 cups (1/2-inch) cubed good sourdough bread (about 1 pound)
2 to 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Cooking spray

1) Preheat oven to 350°F and coat a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.

2) Remove sausage from casings.

3) In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add sausage and cook 7 to 8 minutes, until browned, breaking sausage into smaller pieces as you go. Add onion and celery, and cook for another 4 or 5 minutes, until onion is a bit soft. Kill the heat. Add parsley, sage, thyme, salt, marjoram, and black pepper, and stir to combine.

4) Combine sausage mixture and bread cubes in a large bowl. Gradually pour in about 2 cups of broth, and stir until everything is evenly moist. Place entire mixture in the 9x13 dish, and pour a little more broth over the top if necessary. Bake for 10 minutes covered, then 20 minutes uncovered. The stuffing should be hot and the top golden brown when finished.

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, and Price Per Serving
208 calories, 5 g fat, 2.1 g fiber, $0.98

10 or 11 ounces sweet Italian turkey sausage (about 3 links): $1.49
1 teaspoon olive oil: $0.04
2 cups onion, chopped: $0.41
2 cups celery, chopped very small: $0.94
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped: $0.33
2 teaspoons ground sage: $0.48
1 teaspoon dried thyme: $0.12
1/2 teaspoon salt: $0.01
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram: $0.27
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper: $0.02
12 cups (1/2-inch) cubed good sourdough bread (about 1 pound): $3.99
2 to 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth: $0.71
Cooking spray: $0.04
TOTAL: $8.85

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