Get Stuffed….

I love stuffing especially with gravy.  To me it is great comfort food that is dressed up for the holidays.  I generally make this stuffing for Thanksgiving but when we were back in the UK my MIL did up a lovely roast pork with stuffing balls.  If I was smart I would have asked for the recipe.  I wasn’t.  However, I figured I could adjust my usual stuffing, add an ingredient, and make them into balls.  I think they are great because the best part of stuffing is the browned edges with a bit of crispy to it.  Now everyone gets it with their stuffing.

Unlike the spinach balls, I knew I had all the ingredients!  🙂

It’s important to plan ahead somewhat for this dish as the bread needs to be stale.  I usually get a sourdough boule and break it up a day or two before making this.  Leave it out for all the pieces to get a bit hard.  Because these will make the balls the pieces need to be somewhat small.

I baked these at about 350F/175C.  Because we had so many things going on in the oven this seemed the average temp.  These can be baked at a higher temp, just keep an eye on them.

Chop up about a half an onion finely and a few cloves of garlic.  Saute them in olive oil until softened.

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Add two cups of veg bouillon and simmer for about 10 minutes.  While this is cooking chop about a cup of cranberries and several fresh sage leaves.

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Mix the cranberries and sage in with the bread and then work in about a pound of sausage of your choice.  I chose mild Italian sausage for this.  I didn’t want any flavours overpowering the sourdough or the sage.

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Now here comes the messy part.  Just take off your rings and roll up your sleeves!  Pour in the broth with the onions and garlic and mix well.  Take a few minutes to do this so you don’t have any dry bread bits.  Add about a cup of shredded Italian cheeses and mix thoroughly.  Form into balls and place onto a cookie sheet.  As these won’t spread while baking you can keep them somewhat close to each other.  This recipe makes a lot of balls.

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I baked these about 20 minutes or so.  Once they are golden brown check one to make sure it is cooked through.

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These could easily be made vegetarian.  Just remove the sausage.  Though I have to say this is the first time I used meat in stuffing and it worked really well with the sourdough.

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It also paired well with the apple sage gravy I made to go with the turkey.

Sourdough Bread Stuffing

I came up with this recipe years ago.  I wanted to make something simple, delicious, and a step up from the stove top stuffings.  As much as I like those, this is Thanksgiving!  The bar has to be raised.  🙂

It is important to start the day before with the bread.  I bought a Sourdough Boule ( I know I didn’t bake it, but this is a huge time saver with all the cooking we have to do!) and it gets torn up the day before to turn it a bit stale.  This allows the absorbing of the broth without making it super soggy.

On the day of I slice up some cranberries and celery leaves.  I usually use celery but right now all I have left in the garden is a few small stalks and a ton of leaves.  I’m amazed I have that!  Turns out the leaves are a better choice for colour and flavour.

I toss the cranberry and the celery into the bread and set aside.  Next I chop up some garlic and onions and saute in olive oil.

Once the onions have softened a bit then I add about 4 cups of veg broth.  Several of my family members are vegetarian so it is important that all the sides are vegetarian so they can eat.  🙂  Bring the broth mixture to a boil then simmer for a bit.

Now it is time to put it all together.  Add a bit of the bread mixture to the baking pan and then add a bit of broth.  It’s important not to add the broth all at once otherwise you will have  really soggy spots.  At this point I also add in shredded Italian cheeses.  I usually get the 4-6 cheese variety.

Make sure you have plenty of bread as it will shrink down as you add the broth.  Once it is filled up I top with cheese.

We had an oven already heated at 350 F so I covered the stuffing and baked for about 15 minutes, then I uncovered it until it browned on the top a bit.

It works really well with the turkey and I like putting a bit of the gravy over the stuffing.  🙂


Sourdough Bread

The first meal my husband made for me included homemade bread.  How do you not fall for that?  He also did a homemade alfredo sauce.  There wasn’t any way I could resist!

We rarely buy bread.  It is not hard to make, we can recognize the ingredients, and it’s inexpensive.  A win all around.  Every few months we drive up to King Arthur Flour and buy 2 50lb bags of flour.  And none of it goes to waste.  We really love the sourdough flavor so a few years ago we bought the starter and make sure we feed it every week.  It’s the base for this particular bread that we make.

The recipe that King Arthur Flour provided with it is this:

1 cup “fed” sourdough starter

1 1/2 cups luke-warm water (depending on the flour you may need more.  I find that 1/16 cup more does the trick)

2 1/2 tsp salt.  (we use sea salt or kosher salt rather than table salt)

1 T sugar

2 tsp instant yeast (we buy the big cakes from King Arthur and keep it in the fridge)

5 cups flour (it says all-purpose flour but we’ve used their organic which is a bit coarser as well)

Now I used to be a die hard traditionalist, mix it by hand, knead by hand, that sort of thing until I realized my husband got great results using the kitchen aid.  A lot less work!  So I put in the water, salt, yeast, and starter in and mix for a minute.

Then I add in the flour.  While that is mixing I feed the starter with 1/2 cup spring water (no city chemicals!) and a cup of flour.

The kitchen aid is fantastic for working in any extra water if the dough feels and looks dry.  I had to do it this time and the dough hook did the work for me.

Once the dough comes together and you let the dough hook knead for a couple of minutes I just knead by hand a couple of times before I put it back into the bowl.  I do spray the bowl with oil first.  Then I wet a tea towel with hot water to put over the bowl.

I also, for about 2 minutes, preheat the oven to give it a bit of warmth.  I place the bowl into the oven.  It takes about 90 minutes to 2 hours to double in size.

Then turn out onto a floured surface and divide in half.  You will need two loaf pan sprayed with oil.  Pat the dough down into the pan and do a few shallow slices on the top of the loaves.

Spray some cling film and place over the pans and put back into the oven to rise about an hour or so.  When ready heat the oven to 425F and bake 25-30 minutes until it’s nice and brown.

There is nothing like a slice of fresh baked bread with a bit of butter melted into it!