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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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

Homemade Stuffing With Italian Sausage And Mushrooms

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 that the turkey cooks. You can check out my turkey recipe under the “holiday dishes” category in the menu (top right hand side) of my homepage.

I’m going to a Christmas party this year so I’m bringing the stuffing. I’m using a disposable, deep sided baking 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 amount of this recipe. 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 you favorite gravy on top!

 

 

 

 

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Sweet And Hot Italian Sausage Stuffing (2)

Yields: 12 servings
Prep Time: includes prepping all veggies along with, sauteing all ingredients -40 minutes
Baking Time 1 hour 10-15 minutes
Total Cook Time: 1 hour 50-55 minutes

The day before I make the stuffing, I make the homemade bread cubes.
Equipment:
2- 1/4 size sheet pans
Ingredients:
2 loaves of Artisan bread – Ciabatta,
3/4 of cup olive oil
1-1/2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper

Directions:
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
In a very large mixing bowl, add the bread cubes, Kosher salt and black pepper. Slowly drizzle the olive oil into the bowl, and with the other hand toss the bread cubes around so they are all evenly coated with the olive oil, salt and pepper.

Spread the coated bread cubes evenly over both sheet pans. Bake for 1-1 1/2 hours until bread is light toasted and completely dried out.

Day of Stuffing- Step 1:
Using 1/4 cup of butter (4 tablespoons) grease 13 x 9 x 2 casserole baking dish.

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

Directions:
In a large saute pan, on medium heat, add butter and olive oil to pan. Add in the Cremini mushrooms, minced garlic, pepper and fresh thyme leaves. Stir all the ingredients through and saute mushrooms for about 5 minutes. Once the mushrooms have softened and released their juices, sprinkle in the salt. Saute for another 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and transfer the mushroom to a bowl and set aside.

Step 2 and 3:
Italian Sausage:
Ingredients;
1 pound each of sweet and hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 sprig of fresh rosemary

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

Directions:
In a large saute pan, on medium heat, add in olive oil and sausage braking 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 saute pan. on medium heat melt butter. Add in onion, celery, minced garlic, Kosher salt, and pepper. Saute until tender, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Step 4: The Mix:
3 large beaten eggs (cage-free)
3/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped sage leaves
2 tablespoons of freshly chopped Italian parsley
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 quart unsalted chicken broth

Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
In a 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 cooked bread cubes, cooked sausage, and cooked celery mixture. Add the egg- mushroom mixture to the bowl and toss through.

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 and additional 10-15 minutes, or until light golden brown, and meat thermometer reads 160 degrees F.

 

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My Comfortable Place

My Comfortable Place (2)

Spring Flowers

Potting Table (1)

Potting Table (2)

Potting Table

Spathiphyllum

While sitting in my rocking chair, I had a thought. I decided to challenge myself to use each one of my herbs to make really easy and delicious dishes.

Rosemary

My rosemary plant is out back in a different garden. Rosemary. is a much hardier herb and grows to be quite large. Planting the Rosemary in the ground only made sense.

Sweet Basil (2)

Sage

Oregano

English Lavender

Mint

Chives

Sage.JPG

Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

Starting soon, I’ll be profiling each of these herbs and incorporate them into a main or side dish. Fresh herbs bring so much flavor and to any recipe. They give the dish a gourmet touch. Well, I better get started on my first dish! Happy Cooking!

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Stuffing Muffins

 

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Stuffing muffins are a great way to serve this traditional side dish. My guests are always amazed when they see these on the table. Just as easy to make as baking the stuffing in a casserole dish

Equipment: 12 cup muffin tin
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Yields: 12 muffins
Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:
1 pound,  skins removed and browned, sweet Italian sausage  (drain excess grease completely)
2 tablespoon of olive oil
1 stick of unsalted butter
4 ribs of celery washed and trimmed into sticks, then diced
1 sweet onion, chopped
1/2 cup of golden raisins
2 tablespoon poultry seasoning
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh sage leaves
1/4 cup of freshly chopped flat leaf Italian parsley
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
8 cups of Pepperidge Farm cubed bread
1 quart box of unsalted chicken stock

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Convection- 350 degrees F.
Preheat 2 large saute pans over medium high heat. To the first pan add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, along with with the skinless sausage links. Using a wooden spoon break the sausage apart and cook until golden brown, about 10- 15 minutes. Drain the excess grease from the sausage completely and set into a large bowl.

In the second saute pan, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 4 tablespoons of butter. While the butter is melting add in the chopped fresh sage leaves. Add in the onions and celery as you chop them. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. Now add in the golden raisins. Saute for 5-6 minutes to begin to soften the vegetables. Lastly, add in the chopped parsley and turn the heat off.

Add the veggies and bread cubes to the bowl with the cooked sausage. Mix all the ingredients until combined.  Using a ladle, moisten the stuffing with the with the chicken stock until bread is soft not wet. This may use almost all the box of stock.

Using the reserved butter,  liberally butter the muffin cups. Use an ice cream scoop to fill and mound up the stuffing into the muffin tins. Bake until set and crisp on top, 12-15 minutes. Keep a close eye on them as they cook, times could vary slightly.  Carefully remove the stuffing muffins to a platter and serve hot or at room temperature.

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Maple Bourbon Brined Turkey

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This is my traditional recipe for making a turkey. My maple bourbon brine is the start. Echoing those flavors, I finish, with a maple bourbon gravy. The brine process starts 24 hours before the bird goes into the oven. It’s a lot of steps, all of which are easy and necessary, to have the most flavorful and tender turkey you’ll ever eat. This recipe has quite of few steps, but all are fairly easy. It’s really all in the planning.

Before starting the whole brine process, the turkey must me completely thawed. My recipe is listed in 3 parts. Part 1 is the brine. Part 2 is the prep of the turkey for the oven. Part three is cooking the turkey and making the gravy.

Part 1:
Process For The Brine -12 pound Turkey
Equipment:1 large plastic container with tight fitting lid and 1 large stock pot
Prep Time: 40-45 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 24 hours plus 15 minutes

Cook Time: Bring the brine up to a boil then turn the heat off.
Place the brine into the refrigerator to chill completely.

Ingredients:
2 quarts water
2 orange peels
1 lemon peel
3 cloves of smashed garlic
1/4 cup of Kosher salt
1-1/2 cups of bourbon
1-1/2  12 ounce bottles of pure maple syrup
15 sprigs of thyme  (no need to strip leaves)
1 large sprig of Rosemary ( no need to strip leaves)
5 bay leaves (dried)
2 tablespoons of tricolor peppercorns
1-1/2 cups of organic apple juice
1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar

Directions:
Prep all the ingredients for the brine including measuring out the water. Place all the ingredients listed above in a large stock pot. Turn stove on med high heat and bring everything up to a boil and then immediately remove from the heat source. Let the brine cool down, then place it into the frig, uncovered to chill, for around 30-35 minutes  or until completely cool.

Remove turkey from its packaging and remove the neck and innards from the cavities of the bird. The only part I keep is the neck to make turkey stock from. I’ll tell you about that in a minute. Completely pat dry the turkey really well. Place the bird into the brine container and back into the frig until the brine liquid has cooled.

Once the brine is ready and completely cooled, take the turkey in the brine container out and pour the liquid over the bird. The bird should be completely submerged in the liquid. Place the lid on and refrigerate for 24 hours. A quick note: Take notice on what time you place the bird into the brine. This will give you an idea of when the bird will be going into the oven. Allow an extra 20 minutes for rinsing the brine off the bird and letting it soak in clean water for 15 minutes. This will remove any extra salt flavor still on the bird. Then once again you will need to dry the turkey completely before part 2.

Part 2:
Once the bird has come out of the brine and well dried, it’s time to make a compound butter ( flavored butter) for the turkey. I have softened room temperature butter in a bowl. I add to that grated garlic, lemon and orange zest, Kosher salt, and black pepper. I mix all those ingredients together. With my clean hands!, I lift up the skin on the breast area, and slather as much of the butter underneath the skin as possible. Reaching as far around with breaking or tearing the skin. Next, I fill both cavities of the bird with flavorings.

Part 2:
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Equipment: Roasting pan with rack
Cooking Time: about 2 hours 40 minutes
Ingredients:
1 stick of softened unsalted butter
zest of an orange
zest of a lemon
2 cloves of grated garlic
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
2 teaspoons plus 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1 onion
1 head of garlic cut in half lengthwise
10 sprigs of thyme
4 sprigs of rosemary
1/4 cup  of Olive oil
2 quarts of unsalted chicken stock- generally 2 cups (enough to fill the bottom of the roasting pan with liquid, having the level of liquid about 1 inch high). 1 quart is used to make the turkey stock

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a bowl place the softened butter. Add the zest of both the lemon and orange. Grate both garlic cloves and add that along with Kosher salt and black pepper. Mix all the ingredients together.Moving on, I release the birds legs from their packaging position as you see in the pictures.

Next, the same lemon and orange used for their zest, cut in half. Place one half of each one into each of the cavities. Then the garlic bulb. Again, place one half in each cavity. To those I add the 1 onion, peel still on, that I’ve quartered in both cavities. Finally, divide the sprigs of herbs up and place them into both cavity.

Now I rub the compound butter underneath the skin, reaching as far as you can without breaking the skin. Next, I rub the olive oil all over the outside of the bird. Then I sprinkle the  Kosher salt, and black pepper all over the turkey. Finally, I add the 2 cups of broth to the bottom of the roasting pan.

Part 3:

Place the turkey into the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. Every 30-45 minutes remove the turkey from the oven. Close the oven door to keep the heat in, and baste the turkey, using the juices from the bottom of the pan. About halfway through the cooking process, take the temperature of the turkey using a meat thermometer. Place the thermometer between the thigh and the breast meat for the best reading. This allows you to see how fast the bird is cooking and to gauge the time better. If you see the top is browning to quickly, place a foil tent over the turkey for the time remaining. Keeping in mind, that you still need to baste the turkey every 30-45 minutes or so. Once the turkey’s temperature reaches 165 degrees, about 2 hours 40 minutes, take the bird out of the oven.

Once the turkey is in the oven, this is what I’m doing on top of the stove.

I have the turkey neck place in the bottom of a large sauce pot. I cover the neck with 1 quart of unsalted chicken stock, 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper,  and 3 sprigs of thyme. Turn the heat up to med-high heat and bring this up to a boil. Reduce it to a simmer, cover, and cook, on med low heat,  for about 1/1/2 hours. Once finished,  I strain the liquid, using a sieve, over a bowl to catch this delicious stock. Now I have a container of turkey stock along with a container with my leftover unsalted chicken stock (remember I only used 2 cups for the bottom of the roasting pan) to make my gravy.

At this point, remove the bird from the pan. I like to tilt the bird slightly over the roasting pan, so that any juices that are in the cavities will fall to the bottom of the pan. Place the turkey on a large board and cover with foil until you ready to carve. Leave all the ingredients, in the cavities.

Directions For Gravy:
Ingredients:
3 tablespoons of bourbon
1/4 cup of pure maple syrup
12 sage leaves (reserve 4 leaves chopped for the finished gravy)
1-1/2 cups of turkey stock
1 cup of unsalted chicken stock
3/4 stick of unsalted butter
3/4 cup of flour
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Directions;
First, I throw in the 8 sage leaves while the juices are still really hot. I just let them steep in the juices for a couple of minutes, then I remove them. I use one of those gadgets that separates the fat from the juices that accumulated in the bottom of the roasting pan. I discard the fat and pour the juices into a bowl.

I return the empty roasting pan to the stove, on med high heat.  I add in 1/4 cup of the turkey stock I made. Scraping the bits off the bottom until they all release. I also add these juices with the pan juices in the bowl. Now my pan juices have no fat but the extra flavor from the bits that came off the bottom of the pan.

Now I’m working with a clean roasting pan again, and I have it set to medium heat. To the pan I add in the butter. Let the butter melt then add in the flour. Whisking continuously until all the raw flour has cooked out. Next, I add in the pan juices that I reserved in the bowl along with the bourbon, maple syrup, chicken stock, and the turkey stock. I turn the heat back up to med-high heat, still whisking, and let all those ingredients come up to a bubble and thicken. I also add in the reserved chopped sage leaves for color and flavor in the gravy.

 

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