food

Not So ‘Stuffed’ Stuffing

I love Sunday’s, apart from the idea of work the next morning which highly depends where you work, some people live for Monday mornings and returning to work. Sunday to me is a complete lounge day, sleep in, nice hot shower, the nice fresh coffee that my husband usually leaves on my dressing table for when I dry myself off and then an hour of television, which is usually Ina Garten’s ‘Barefoot Contessa’. Then I prepare a yummy lunch..

Sunday lunches mean a lot to me, you get to take out the linen napkin’s and dress the table up, if you have company -even better! It’s a good time to get family together and enjoy a meal at the same table. We alternate between beef and roast chicken but the chicken is my favourite as I make chicken and rice soup from the leftovers.
There’s one thing that always has me thinking though and that’s the stuffing, my American family call it ‘dressing’ and I find as Ireland becomes more and more Americanised the term ‘dressing’ is being used here much more frequently although they’re slightly different. Irish stuffing seems to be fluffy and dry, just breadcrumbs and herbs and sometimes the smallest bit of pork sausage meat mixed in, it’s tolerable and even more so when you get a ladle full of gravy over it but it’s always so stodgy and you need to unbutton your jeans after it just a stodge full of nothin’ it’s usually not that pleasurable! It quite sums up Irish meals which are generally always rather stodgy while American ‘dressing’ is not so much stuffed into the chicken cavity like in Ireland, from my experience, it’s mostly baked on a lasagne type tray and covered/steamed while it bakes and is a lot more moist, sort of like a dinner time Strata! My American Stepfather introduced us to Bell’s Seasoning and every thanksgiving or Christmas, ‘dressing’ was his signature dish and in time I noticed it was a very American style, much more enjoyable, much more variety of ingredients and I’ve even seen a Cherry dressing, dried or fresh cranberries would be nice in it actually if you’re making it at Christmas for turkey …even Leeks!
As my Stepfather has aged, he has seems to put less love into his dressing though, I even found a turkey backbone in it one year, in my mouth!!…This was the end of the chapter for me, I won’t touch it ever again as I have flashbacks and every time I eat stuffing, I imagine I am going to pull a backbone out of my mouth..talk about post traumatic stress?! AH!

So back to my own one, I still use the word ‘stuffing’ as I am Irish and it feels slightly more normal to me although I have adopted a rather American style but we don’t have Bell’s here and the importers I’ve inquired to have all refused to get it in, so I use a mix of dried herbs.  I’ve been making a quite enjoyable one the last few months, using a brand of sausagemeat that every Dubliner will be familiar with, ‘Superquinn Sausages’ which Supervalu have adopted since buying the Superquinn chain, securing the secret recipe cherished by Dubliner’s since the beginning, there was almost a riot..
To me, it’s sort of about using leftovers and what you have lying about in the fridge like the leftover French bread/Baguette from Friday’s Pizza Night or the pack of sausages from Saturday Brunch, you could even use cooked and chopped sausages (some people use giblets which I cannot abide), there’s no limit really. I also don’t use measurements because you can’t go wrong with stuffing it’s about soakage.. but the flavour and texture of pork is gorgeous. I’ll share my recipe for my Americanised Stuffing. 

What you’ll need:


About two cups of stale crusty bread, if you only have fresh bread, you can toast what you have and chop into cubes.
1 Clove of crushed garlic
1 Medium onion, chopped  in any size that pleases you.
1 Beaten egg
1 Cup of  cooled low sodium chicken stock 
1/4 Cup of melted cooled butter
About 6 Irish pork sausages  (sliced cooked or raw and skinned)
1 tbsp Parsley
1tbsp Sage
1tsp Thyme
2 Sticks of celery, chopped

Mix everything together aside from the bread, fold it in at the end  and the more you mix it, the cakier your mix will be, if you want it more lumpy, don’t stir it so much.

 

I usually line my baking dish with parchment paper and spritz some cooking oil on it first before plopping it into the dish, I then fold the outsides of the parchment down over it and and then wrap the whole dish in tin foil to help it steam and then pop it in the oven for the last hour of your roast  chicken’s cooking time, after 40 minutes, open it all up to brown on the top a little.

When it’s done, you’ll be able to cut it into slices and pile up on a plate to serve up on the table, it’s really good! Obviously though, the more people you’re cooking for, the more ingredient’s you’ll need to add!

It’s important to let your gravy soak right in.
Delicious!!
 As I always say, let me know if you make it and what you think!

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