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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Italian Sausage And Mushroom Stuffing

Sweet And Hot Italian Sausage Stuffing (3)

Sweet And Hot Italian Sausage Stuffing (2)

Sweet And Hot Italian Sausage Stuffing (1)

I’ve been talking to a lot of people who say their favorite holiday dish is the stuffing or dressing. I have to agree. My family’s traditional stuffing recipe has changed over the years. The ingredients are the same but the preparation is totally different. I remember my mother stuffing the turkey before it went into the oven. My stuffing is done separate from the bird and I believe it makes a big difference in the way a turkey cooks.

I’m going to a Christmas party this year so I’m bringing the stuffing. I’m using a disposable deep-sided pan for easy transport.

In my opinion, the best bread for the bread cubes is Ciabatta bread. Let’s talk a little bit about the bread cubes and how easy it is to make your own.

I do think that you’ll want to make a large pan or two of stuffing. Family and friends love this dish and always want extra helpings. It’s also great to serve the next day, especially with a ladle of your favorite gravy on top! This is my Italian Sausage And Mushroom Stuffing.

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Stuffing (2)

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Stuffing (5)

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Sweet And Hot Italian Sausage Stuffing (2)

 

Prep Time: 40 minutes (includes all prep and the cooking of the vegetables)
Baking Time 1 hour 10 to15 minutes
Total Cook Time: 1 hour 50 to 55 minutes
Yields: 12 servings
Equipment: 12-inch sauté pan, large mixing bowl, two 1/4-size rimmed baking sheet pans, a 13 x 9 x 2 baking dish/disposable pan

Tip:  The day before you want to make the stuffing, make the Homemade Ciabatta Croutons.

Ingredients:
2 loaves of  Ciabatta (artisanal bread)
3/4 of cup olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper

Directions For The Oven Bake Method.
Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.

Step1: Homemade Croutons:
Start by evenly dividing the bread cubes out onto two rimmed baking sheet pans. Add olive oil, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper, toss to evenly coat the bread cubes. Spread the bread cubes evenly into a single layer. Bake for 15 minutes turning them once halfway through the cooking process to make sure they brown evenly. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

Step 2: Stuffing:
Use 1/4 cup of butter (4 tablespoons) to grease a 13 x 9 x 2 disposable pan (or casserole baking dish).

Ingredients:
2 pints of whole Cremini mushrooms, quartered
2 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
2 tablespoon of unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
In a large sauté pan over medium heat add butter and olive oil. Add the Cremini mushrooms, minced garlic, pepper, and fresh thyme leaves. Stir to combine. Cook the mushrooms for about 5 minutes. Once the mushrooms have softened and released their water, add the Kosher salt. Cook for another 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and transfer the mushroom to a bowl and set aside.

Steps 3 and 4: Italian Sausage And Vegetables:
Ingredients:
1 pound of hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 pound of sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 sprig of fresh rosemary

4 tablespoons butter, unsalted
1 large onion diced
2 1/2 cups of chopped celery
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
In a large sauté pan, on medium heat, add in olive oil and sausage breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Add the sprig of fresh rosemary and cook for around 15 minutes or until no longer pink. Discard the rosemary stems, drain.  Remove cooked sausage with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl.

In the same sauté pan over medium heat melt butter. Add diced onions, celery, minced garlic, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Cook until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, allow to cool.

Step 5: The Mix:
Ingredients:

3 large beaten eggs (cage-free)
3/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons of fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons of Italian parsley flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1-quart chicken broth, unsalted

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325-degrees F.
In a mixing large bowl, add the beaten eggs, cheese, all herbs, and seasonings. Add the cooked mushrooms.  Combine really well so the mushrooms are completely coated.

In another very large bowl combine the croutons (cooked bread cubes), cooked sausage, and cooled veggie mixture. Add the egg-mushroom mixture to the bowl, gently toss to combine.

Finally, slowly pour the chicken broth over all the ingredients, allowing all the bread cubes to absorb the liquid. Continually stirring gently, as you add the liquid. There will most likely be extra liquid in the bowl, that liquid will get absorbed during the baking process.

Spoon the stuffing mixture to the buttered casserole dish. Pour over any excess liquid left in the bowl.  Cover and bake for 1 hour. Uncover, bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until light golden brown, and a meat thermometer reads 160-degrees F.

Homemade Ciabatta Croutons

Maple Bourbon Brined Turkey

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Roasted Acorn Squash Filled With Italian Sausage And Pears

 

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My favorite part of any stuffing is the crunchy and caramelized topping that occurs in the last minutes of cooking. How the croutons become golden brown, the pears release their sugars and glisten from that slight char along with the crunchy exterior of the sweet Italian sausage. Yet inside, the stuffing is soft and flavorful. What I’m describing is my Roasted Acorn Squash Filled With Italian Sausage And Pears.

Let me start by showing you how roasting winter squashes brings out their flavor. Then I’m going to go a step further and fill them with savory sausage and sweet pears.

Homemade Ciabatta Croutons (3)

Homemade Ciabatta Croutons (2)

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One final step. They get a drizzle of olive oil over the top of each one and go back into the 400-degree oven for 3 to 5 minutes. Just long enough to get the tops golden brown and caramelized.

I know it’s a few steps to pull this dish together. Really all the steps are easy. It’s just a matter of having all the prep done and roasting the acorn squash first. I’ll explain in more detail in the directions at the end.

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Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 12-inch non-stick sauté pan, 4 rimmed baking sheet pans, Chef’s knife, small mixing bowl, whisk, pastry brush

Ingredients:
4 acorn squash that has been seeded and tops and bottoms cut
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon of chili powder
1/4 cup of dark brown sugar

Ingredients:
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, bulk or casings removed
1 sprig plus 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh sage leaves
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 diced Bosc pears
1 diced zucchini
6 cremini mushrooms, diced
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves minced garlic
2 ribs of diced celery
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 tablespoon of chili powder
3 heaping cups of homemade croutons, (Ciabatta bread), 1 /1/2 inch bread cubes
1/2 cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
greens for garnish

Directions For The Homemade Croutons:
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Start by evenly dividing the bread cubes out onto two rimmed baking sheet pans. Add olive oil, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper, toss to evenly coat the bread cubes. Spread the bread cubes evenly into a single layer. Bake for 15 minutes turning them once halfway through the cooking process to make sure they brown evenly. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.
Start by cutting the tops off the 4 squash. Next, clean the seeds out of the inside. Then cut a thin slice off the bottom of each one so they will sit upright on the baking sheets. Place 2 on each sheet tray. On the inside of each acorn squash add olive oil, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until fork-tender. In a small mixing bowl with melted butter add chili powder and brown sugar, whisk to combine. Brush the inside of each squash with the flavored butter mixture and return to oven for another 5 to 7 minutes. Be sure to keep a close eye on the squash for the last few minutes of cooking. You don’t want them to burn. Remove the squash from the oven and set aside.

In a large non-stick sauté pan over medium-high heat (no oil needed) add the skinless sweet Italian sausage. Using a wooden spoon, start breaking up the sausage. Cook the sausage for 15 minutes until brown, crumbly, and there is no pink. Transfer the cooked sausage to a plate lined with a paper towel allowing the fat to drain, set aside.

Tip: Take a paper towel and wipe out the sauté pan. No reason to dirty another pan

Using the same sauté pan over medium heat, melt butter, olive oil, and chopped sage leaves. Once the sage becomes fragrant add the diced cremini mushrooms, zucchini, celery, onions, Bosc pears, minced garlic, chili powder, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Once the veggies start to soften, then add in the diced pears. Stir and continue to cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Add the cooked sausage back to the pan, stir to combine. Cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Tip: It’s important that all the veggies are relatively cut the same size ensuring they’ll cook at the same time.

At this point, add the sausage and vegetable mixture to the bowl with the croutons. Add the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, gently toss to combine.

Fill each of the squash with the filling. Any extra filling place into an oven-safe baking dish. Drizzle olive oil over the top of each one and place back into the 400-degree F. oven for 3 to 5 minutes or until the tops become golden brown and caramelized.

Place leavy greens on the plate. Arrange the Roasted Acorn Squash Filled With Italian Sausage And Pears on top, garnish with a sprig of fresh sage. Serve hot.

 

Homemade Ciabatta Croutons

 

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Cannellini Bean Tapenade Topped With A Grape Tomato Salad

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Now Tapenades are traditionally made with olives and capers, but not always! Sometimes pestos contain olives. It can be confusing. I think of a Tapenade as more of some type of purèed vegetable as compared to pesto with a herb or leafy green base which may be used as an uncooked sauce.

The last meal I posted was my Pork Tenderloin Over A Bed Of Cannellini Beans. I had quite a bit of the beans leftover. I didn’t want to waste them because they were so delicious so I turned them into a quick Cannellini Bean Tapenade Topped With A Grape Tomato Salad to have the next day for lunch.

The Cannellini beans were prepared with sautèed leeks, Kosher salt, and freshly cracked black pepper. All I would need is a few extra ingredients and I’d be able to have an amazing lunch.

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Cannellini Bean Tapenade (2)

Grape Tomato Salad

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Prep Time: 20 minutes:
Cook Time: 12 to 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Yields: 8 servings
Equipment: 2 rimmed baking sheets, 10-cup food processor

Ingredients:
3 cups Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup of sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped and processed
4-ounces Pecorino cheese, grated
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 cup *E.V.O.O
2 tablespoons of chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
1 loaf of Ciabatta bread, sliced and toasted or grilled (yields 16 slices)

Tomato Salad Topping:
2 pints of yellow and red grape tomatoes, halved
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup *E.V.O.O.
2 tablespoon freshly chopped basil

Directions For Ciabatta Bread:
Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
Slice the Ciabatta bread at a 45-degree angle into 1/2 -inch thick slices. Arrange the bread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush the top surface of each slice of Ciabatta lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste. Place into the oven on the center rack. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the bread is golden. Take the baking sheet out of the oven and let the toast cool slightly before adding the toppings.

Directions For Grape Tomato Salad:
In a large bowl add all the ingredients for the tomato salad. Mix to combine, set aside to let marinate.

Directions For Cannellini Bean Tapenade:
Start with a food processor fitted with the metal blade. First, cut the cheese up into cubes. Add the cheese to the food processor. Turn the processor on and let it run for about 2 to 3 minutes or until cheese is the consistency (refer to pictures above) you need. Second, process the sun-dried tomatoes, until finely chopped.

Add the rest of the ingredients (except the *E.V.O.O. and the grated cheese) into the food processor. Pulse until combined. Next, add the grated cheese and pulse just to combine. Last, add the *E.V.O.O. through the feeding tube. Continue to pulse until the Tapenade reaches the desired consistency (refer to picture above). The Tapenade will have great texture because of the sun-dried tomatoes. Transfer the Cannellini Bean Tapenade into a serving bowl.

Drizzle the top with a little *E.V.O.O.

To serve, spread the Cannellini Bean Tapenade on the toasted Ciabatta. Top with the colorful Grape Tomato Salad.

*E.V.O.O. is Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Apricot And Soy Glazed Pork Tenderloin On A Bed Of Cannellini Beans With Sauteed Spinach

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