Sunday, March 6, 2011

Stuff It!

Originally posted 11/8/10

“Just another manic Monday”…..How is everyone?  We are 17 days away from Thanksgiving…..Ready to discuss the wonders of stuffing?  The yummy breadiness, mixed with sausage and veggies??  I LOVE stuffing.  It is a close second to mashed potatoes in my book.  I think it is a travesty that it is only eaten at Thanksgiving.  I firmly believe that stuffing should play a more important role in the dinners of Americans.  I might run for office with that as my platform.  I did say before that I want to live in the Governor’s Mansion.  Watch out Brian Sandoval…..(NV’s new gov).
Anyhoo, I have been busily preparing Thanksgiving dishes so that I may pass the recipes onto you.  Needless to say, my 3 year old is very confused.  Poor kid thinks every day is Thanksgiving now….Today I will share with you my recipe for croissant stuffing.  I have made this the past couple of Thanksgivings and it seems to be well received.  And I know this because my family said it was good…..trust me…..they wouldn’t sugar coat it for me.  If it was gross, they would tell me:)
Obviously, the star of this show is croissants.  Usually you see store bought bread chunks, or even cornbread in stuffings, but croissants should be your go-to.  They make the stuffing so buttery and rich, as if stuffing needed help with that.
Above are the aforementioned croissants.  It is best if you can buy them (no silly, I didn’t make them!) a few days in advance and let them get kind of dry and crusty.  I bought mine the day I made them, so I tore them into chunks and popped them in a 200 degree oven for about 35 minutes.  The package I bought came with 8 large sized croissants, which is pretty typical.  Truth be told, I didn’t tear them myself, I had my 6 year old do it.  Perfect job for the lil’ ones…..
The other ingredients for this stuffing are 1 pound of ground pork sausage (sage flavored), 1 stick of butter, 2 eggs, 2 Tablespoons poultry seasoning, ½ cup chicken stock, and in the bowl I have 4 stalks celery, 5 ounces  white mushrooms, 1 onion, and 1 green apple, all chopped into a large dice.
I started by browning the sausage in a large skillet.  The sausage will break up pretty easily as it browns.  I have found it pretty easy to find sage flavored sausage, but plain will work fine too.  If you like it spicy, then by all means, go spicy.  After the sausage is browned, take it out of the pan and set it aside….preferable far away from small dogs that would risk their little dachshund lives for a bite of pork goodness.
In the pan now holding a wee bit of sausage grease, I melted my stick of butter.  Then I added the veggies and the poultry seasoning.  I cooked the veggies for about 7 minutes, until they were softened, but not really browned.  Fair warning….this stuffing is heavy on the veggies and sausage….the way I like it.  You can feel free to adjust.
When the veggies were softened, I poured them on top of the croissants and stuffing.  You will need a BIG bowl for this.  It smells so good at this point….all the Thanksgiving smells rolled into one dish.  Seriously, so good with the sage, apples and sausage, I could eat it at this stage. 

Once my stuffing was mixed, I added 2 beaten eggs.  I also added about a ½ cup of chicken stock, and mixed well.  You can add more or less, depending on how you like your stuffing.  I like a softer middle and a crusty exterior.  So many jokes I could put in now, but I will refrain……
I poured it into a greased 13x9 pan.  The greasing was probably overkill since this has a stick of butter in it, but I sprayed it to be sure.  At this point, you can cover it up and throw it in the fridge for a few hours, or bake it.  I baked it, uncovered, for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.
Here it is all finished!  It is just the way I like it, but I do realize that stuffing can be a very personal thing.  You can cook it in the turkey if you want, I choose not to.  Feel free to adjust the liquid or cooking time, as I will never know.  I promise I won’t come to your house to see if you followed the recipe exactly…..unless you have pie.

I hope you try this recipe for your Thanksgiving.  I think croissants give it such a fancy touch, and I am all about finding the fancy;)  You can also add dried cranberries, chestnuts, whatever your little heart desires!

Croissant Stuffing
8 to 10 large, day old croissants
1 pound sage flavored pork sausage
1 stick butter
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
 5 ounces white mushrooms, chopped
1 green apple, chopped
2 Tablespoons poultry seasoning
2 eggs
 ½ cup chicken or turkey stock

Tear croissants into bite sized pieces.  If necessary, dry in 200 degree oven for 35 minutes.  Set aside. 
Brown sausage in a large skillet and break into little bits.  Remove from pan and set aside.
Melt butter in the large skillet and add chopped veggies.  Add poultry seasoning.  Sauté for about 7 minutes, or until softened.
Mix croissants, sausage, and cooked veggies together in large bowl.  Add beaten eggs and chicken stock.  Mix well.
Pour into 13x9 dish.  Bake at 350 degrees, uncovered, for 40 to 45 minutes.

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