I’ve often blogged about the holidays, covering everything from appetizers to desserts. I’m not alone. It’s a season where there is NO shortage of chefs with recipes and tips.
Whether you want to know what the Pilgrims ate at the first Thanksgiving or what the Kardashians are eating this holiday season, it’s all out there for you to “digest”…or not.
The advice and recipes, like Madison Ave. fashion trends, seem cyclical. One year, it’s all about the turkey—to brine or not, deep fry or not. The next year, it’s about gluten-free or the ever-elusive perfect pumpkin pie.
I’ll declare this to be the year of the stuffing (or dressing, if you prefer).
Nino’s Bread Stuffing with Sage and Optional Variations:
Nino’s Bread Stuffing is fully seasoned and ready to serve with your favorite holiday turkey, ham or roast. Additional recipes can be made from this product. To do so, simply measure one (1) quart of Nino’s prepared stuffing, choose any one of the following recipes and toss the finished recipe into the stuffing.
Per packaged quart of prepared Nino’s Bread Stuffing, add the following:
8 oz. Italian Sausage, Bulk (Casing removed) 4 oz. Ground Beef 4 oz. Ground Pork 1 TBSP Garlic Clove, thinly sliced 1/2 tsp Fresh Rosemary, minced 1/4 tsp Fennel Seed 2 TBSP Olive Oil 1/4 tsp Cracked Black Pepper
Sauté Italian sausage, ground beef and ground pork in olive oil over medium heat until well done and crumbled.
Add garlic and spices, and continue to cook one minute.
Cool mixture and toss into bread stuffing.
1 cup Oysters with natural juices 4 oz. Bacon, raw, cut in 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces 1/2 cup Fennel, fresh, cut in fine julienne strips 1 TBSP Garlic Clove, thinly sliced 2 TBSP Parsley, chopped 1/4 tsp Cracked Black Pepper
Sauté bacon until crisp.
Add fresh fennel and garlic to bacon and continue to sauté one minute longer.
Add oysters with juices to bacon mixture and cook one to two minutes longer or until oysters curl up on the edges and are just cooked through.
Remove from the heat and stir in parsley.
Chop up oyster mixture and toss into bread stuffing.
APPLE, WALNUT & APRICOT STUFFING
1 ea. Apple, Granny Smith, peeled, cored, diced 1/2 inch 1 cup Apricot, dried, sliced 1/4” 1/2 cup Walnut Meats, chopped in 1/4” to 1/2 inch pieces. (Pecans may be used.) 1/4 cup Green Onions, sliced in ¼” bias cut pieces 1 TBSP Granulated Sugar 1/4 cup Dark Raisins 2 TBSP Butter
Sauté walnuts in hot butter one to two minutes.
Add apple pieces, and continue to sauté until lightly browned.
Remove from heat, and add dried apricot, raisins, green onions and sugar.
Toss and allow to cool.
Add to bread stuffing and toss in.
4 oz. Bacon, raw, cut in 1/4” to 1/2” pieces 4 oz. Ham, cut in julienne strips 4 oz. Pork Breakfast Sausage (bulk) uncased 2 cups Mushrooms, sliced 1/4’ thick 1 TBSP Garlic Clove, sliced thin 1/4 cup Green Onion, sliced in 1/4” bias cut pieces 1/4 cup Sun Dried Tomato, cut in 1/4” slices 1/4 cup Pine Nuts 1/4 tsp Cracked Black Pepper
Sauté bacon until crisp.
Add pine nuts and sauté two minutes to brown.
Add pork sausage and sauté one minute.
Add ham and mushrooms. Sauté 2 to 3 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.
Add remaining ingredients. Sauté one minute.
Remove from heat and cool.
Toss mixture into stuffing.
There are many other stuffing alternatives besides those containing bread. A seasoned rice pilaf or couscous recipe can also make wonderful stuffing. In the case of a rice stuffing, I’ll begin with a national brand rice blend (Near East, Rice Select, Lundberg Jubilee) and follow the directions for a cup of rice (typically adding 1 ½ to 1 ¾ cup of chicken or turkey stock instead of water).
In addition to this “base,” I add some sautéed onion, celery, carrot and occasionally some toasted nuts (almonds, pecans or pine nuts). The result is not only delicious but also a great gluten-free option.