What’s Happening in Kelli’s Kitchen - Stuffing

  • 2021-11-14, 05:00 AM
  • Kelly Kelli
What’s Happening in Kelli’s Kitchen - Stuffing Kelly Kelli

There’s an elephant sitting next to me in the room where I am writing this article. The “room” is Telegraph Coffee and Tap; the elephant is that Kelli’s Kitchen is not feeling particularly like it is mine at the moment. Neil and I pressed play this last week on a plan to move back into the City of Fallon, so Kelli’s Kitchen is all shined up for showing. The counters are bare, all my spices are stowed away in a cabinet or two, and my pantry overflow has all been boxed up for storage in the garage. There are strange emotions that pop-up when you list your house for sale, especially a house that you love. I want someone to love our house as much as we do. Someone who can see the textured walls, the shiny copper paint, the concrete floors and to think “Yes, we Belong here.”  The process of finding that person is stressful and filled with chores. I have never swept so much in my life. Our canine children are facing their own challenges. They are super smart and have figured out the exact moment to dart inside to avoid being stuck in the backyard much to the chagrin of the real estate agents who are left wondering how to get the black and white one to leave the couch. Feeling out of place in my home has caused brain fog to settle into my head, murking up the mental works.  I’ve missed deadlines, confused which key belongs to which lock, and just generally feel out of sorts.  

This general out-of-sorts-ness is a prime example of why it is important to have a plan as we cross off the days remaining until the twenty-fifth of November. Thanksgiving is coming whether we are ready or not. So, let’s get a little more prepared for the big day with a conversation about the dish that might actually be my favorite Thanksgiving Day bite. The dish that is certainly the star of the “to stuff” or “not to stuff” debate. Let’s talk about dressing. 

 

What’s the Difference Between Stuffing and Dressing? 

 

If you look exclusively at the list of ingredients, there is little difference between stuffing and dressing. Both are made by combining vegetables, a starch usually cornbread, white bread, or baguettes, and lots of fresh herbs. The significant difference and critical debate factor is that stuffing is stuffed and cooked inside a bird, while dressing is cooked separately in a casserole dish and “dresses up” your meal.  All ingredients being equal, I have no argument with folks who insist that stuffing yields the tastiest result, however I believe that the turkey suffers in the stuffing. So, in Kelli’s Kitchen, we always prepare our dressing separately from our turkey. Baking your dressing in a casserole also frees up the turkey for alternative preparations like frying, smoking, or spatchcocking are all techniques that are impossible or challenging at the least with a stuffed bird. 

I approach my dressing like it is a savory bread pudding. I use day-old dry-ish bread cubes combined with a mix of sauteed vegetables and fresh herbs soaked in an eggy milk and cream base. The dressing yields a rich, dense stuffing that gets nice and crispy on the top.  For a lighter dish, I recommend using homemade turkey or chicken broth, or store-bought stock if need be. I also like to throw in some crumbled sausage and some surprise ingredients like apples and currants to add a little kick.  

 

Here is my go-to recipe for a Savory Dressing Bread Pudding. Next week we will be tackling turkey, so stay tuned. 

 

Savory Dressing Bread Pudding 

 

INGREDIENTS: 

8 cups dried bread cubes - ¾” dice and crusts removed (cornbread, baguettes, white bread, etc.) 

½ stick unsalted butter 

1 lb bulk sausage or links with casing removed 

2 yellow onions, peeled and diced 

3 stalks celery, diced 

2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced 

¾ c assorted fresh herbs, chopped (rosemary, sage, parsley, poultry mix, etc.) 

5 eggs 

2 c heavy cream 

1 c chicken or turkey stock 

8 oz gruyere cheese, grated 

 

DIRECTIONS: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast your bread cubes on a sheet pan in the oven until golden brown (about 15-20 minutes) 

Meanwhile, melt butter in a sauté pan or pot. Cook crumbled sausage over medium heat until brown. Add in onions, celery, and apples and sauté until soft. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Combine eggs, cream, stock, and three-quarters of the cheese in a large mixing bowl, whisking together until fully blended. Add the toasted bread cubes and mix. Then add the sauteed vegetables and sausage. Stir to combine. Let the mixture sit for at least 30 minutes so the bread cubes absorb the cream base. Stir well and pour into a greased casserole pan (13”x9”x2”). Top with remaining cheese. 

Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and crispy and the custard has fully set. Check doneness by inserting a knife into the center of the dish. If it comes out clean, it is done. 

 

 

 

 

Kelly Kelli

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