Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Rustic French Stuffing

Never mind the dirty dishes. Things are a bit nuts in our tiny kitchen at Christmas.

I've been wanting to try my hand at homemade stuffing for some time. Mom and dad got into a bit of a row over whether stuffing goes with ham for Christmas, and it made for a perfect opportunity for me and Shan to offer our skills. Unfortunately we had different views about preparing this dish. Shan tends to replicate recipes she sees on the web, then "free-style" it as she goes. I'm a bit different as I methodically research using known professional sources, then birth something new. This time we combined a little of both our ideas into our easy and fast Rustic French Stuffing recipe.

My main goal was to use baguettes (le pain francais) as the main bread source in the recipe. My thinking was that it was my favorite bread, therefore it would make a perfect bread for my favorite stuffing. Of course you can choose what type of bread you really want, or prefer. I ended up with three baguettes from my local high-end grocer. My hypothesis was that I could borrow some of the Cajun (thus French derived) seasonings from my other recipes (e.g. The Holy Trinity: celery, onion, pepper), mix it with traditional seasonings, and make a new unique Rustic French Bread Stuffing. Guess what? It worked.

Ingredients:
  • 3 French baguettes
  • 1 32 oz College Inn chicken broth
  • 3 lbs of ground sausage (I used Jimmy Dean)
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 pinch of pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoon of dried onion flakes
  • 2 teaspoons of celery salt.
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon of fresh picked thyme leaves

Shannon also wanted to add some fresh chopped garlic and about 1/2 of an onion grilled and sliced into the mix. We did so, and feel free to do so, or not.... or add your own favorite flavors.

Method:
  1. Chop bread into 1/2 inch squares.
  2. Place on baking sheets sprayed with non-stick spray.
  3. Bake in preheated oven at 300F for 30-40 minutes.
  4. On medium to medium-high stove-top take large pot and add sausage. Brown meat, and begin adding seasonings.
  5. Once brown add butter, and broth. Bring to boil.
  6. Add bread, and mix till bread softens.
The end result? A giant bowl of homemade stuffing. It's a bit more heartier than the store bought variety, which I tend to prefer. It's rustic, it's (sort of) French,  and best of all it's down right delicious. My son states it's the best stuffing he's ever had. In the end, I guess everything came out just perfect.