Sunday, November 30, 2008

Turkey Day Prep - Part 1

So Brett's brother Blake looooves my stuffing. It was the only payment he requested when he helped us install the lawn last year. And he requests it for each holiday gathering. And, recently, his best friend George (who I've never met, but have heard a lot about), requested the recipe! LOL Um. Small problem. No recipe. So I decided this would be the year I'd TRY to assemble a recipe - just to make it easier. Another small problem... Well, actually it was a big problem. Not in a bad way...but just remember the word "big" - we'll come back to that later! ;-)

Ok, so I know I like a variety of bread in my stuffing, so I cubed up (quickly, thanks to an electric knife!) a loaf of sourdough bread,

a loaf of pumpernickle bread,

a fresh, soft and tender french bread loaf,

...annnnd a very crusty (aka messy) loaf of french bread I'd already been drying out for a few days.

Hm, all this chopping of bread sure got SOMEONE'S interest. Good thing I had a kitchen assistant - more than one cube of bread made it to the floor! ;-)

Once I had all the bread cubes mixed up in my two biggest mixing bowls, I sprinkled with the following:

1 tablespoon dried/ground thyme
1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
1 tablespoon dried/ground savory
1 tablespoon dried/rubbed sage
1.5 tablespoons black pepper
1.5 tablespoons salt

Then I tossed them onto a couple sheet pans and baked them looooow and slooooow for a couple hours that night, and a little more the next night, just leaving them in the oven each day). Here they are pre-seasoning and pre-baking.

So the day before Thanksgiving I figured I'd just whip together all the stuff and set the stuffing in the fridge. Shouldn't take long, right? Well, let's see what all's going into the stuffing... Since I had so much bread, I'd picked up a second pound of Bob Evan's sage seasoned sausage...

...and browned that up in my biggest skillet.

Off to the side I heated the last remains (1 cup?) of a beef broth carton, plus I think 2 cartons of chicken broth? There were also various herbs (parsley, sage, thyme) tossed in, and a little salt and pepper? I thought I would use the giblets in this, but those went to the gravy...

Once the sausage was done, I set it off to the side and sauteed two tart green, and two mild/soft yellow apples...'m I forgetting? Oh yeah - a stick of butter!

Then I added in the veggies I'd prepared the night before - 6 carrots, 6 stalks celery, 4 medium onions and 2 large parsnips (a new addition this year!).

Oh, and two big handfuls of dried cranberries ("craisins").

Once the veggies softened a bit, I dumped the sausage back in and adjusted the seasonings (just sprinkled on more salt and pepper).

Hm....I'm starting to accumulate a lot of stuffing parts here! Ok, the biggest thing I could come up with to work in was - the turkey roaster!!! Dumped in the stuffing bread...

...and then added all the veggies/fruit!

At this point I forgot to keep taking pictures. I ended out using ALL of the broth I'd pre-heated (so at least 9 cups - perhaps more?), and stirred all that in....

And remember when I said to remember my "big" problem. Well, after assembling all this and getting it to where I was happy with the massive amount of stuff, I went and weighed myself, and then weighed myself holding the roasting pan with stuffing. I don't figure the roasting pan itself weighs more than a couple pounds.... And the scales? Well, they implied the stuffing + roasting pan - Jeph = 19+ lbs!! Oops - so yeah, don't make this recipe exactly to scale, with all my measurements, unless you're looking to feed a BIG crowd. I ended out calling Dave and having him stop by to take a gallon-bag loaded with the stuff down to Mansfield, where he was doing t-day with his mom (his dad was out shooting deer in WV). And I had another gallon bag stuffed full for Blake to take with him. And a quart bag of the stuff went right into the freezer. The remaining stuffing filled my largest casserole dish. Heh heh...that was a lot of stuffing!! ;-)

BTW - it tasted gooooood!


the ginger tabby said...

Wow - quite the assortment - beans with bacon (never tried it but it actually sounds quite good), pecan pie, and the stuffing...ooh...ahhh...I love stuffing!

Jeph said...

People who don't love stuffing are just weirdos. Aren't you glad we're not weirdos? ;-)

And I know beans with bacon (slow cooked all day?) is a very southern thing. I think it could've had even more bacon!

the ginger tabby said...

can never have too much

yes, certainly glad I'm not a weirdo ;)