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Sun, Oct. 13

Recipes for that Thanksgiving favorite, stuffing

For many people, when we think holidays, the "stuffing" or "dressing" is more important than the "bird." More turkeys are consumed for Thanksgiving than other entrée choices. Today we will look at regional stuffing recipes. Depending on where you grew up can determine just exactly how that stuffing must taste and what it must contain. There are many variations on what you can add. This is one dish that brings out creativity.

CORNBREAD STUFFING

So many recipes use cornbread as a base and many variations can result. If you must have oysters or chestnuts, add as you wish.

12 cups cubed (1 inch) day-old cornbread

4 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. dried thyme

salt and pepper to taste

2 pounds bulk sausage meat

4 cups each chopped onions and celery

2 tbsp. finely minced garlic

2 tsp. dried sage leaves,

crumbled (leaves give more flavor than powdered)

2 tart apples, coarsely chopped

1 cup dried cherries or cranberries

1 cup pitted prunes, halved

2 cup chicken broth

Toss the cornbread, 2 tbsp. olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Lay out on baking sheets and toast in 350 oven for 15 minutes. Brown sausage in pot over medium heat, breaking up clumps; remove to bowl with slotted spoon. Discard fat. Place remaining olive oil in pot; cook onions, celery, garlic and sage over medium-low heat 20 minutes. Add to cornbread cubes, then apples, cherries and prunes. Toss well. Drizzle with broth to moisten as desired; toss well. Let cool before stuffing turkey. Stuffs an 18-pound bird. 16 servings.

NOTE: Remember to observe rules of cleaning cutting boards, etc. when using poultry to avoid cross contamination with all the chopping of stuffing ingredients.

CAPE COD CORNBREAD STUFFING

2 cups cornbread stuffing cubes (cornbread can be from scratch or from a mix in any recipe).

1/2 pound sausage meat, cooked, drained, crumbled

1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries

1/2 cup diced onion

1/3 cup chopped pecans

2 tsp. thyme

1/2 cup chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350. Combine all ingredients, except chicken broth in medium casserole dish. Add chicken broth; mix well. Add more chicken broth if needed for a moister stuffing. Cover and bake 30 minutes or until well heated through. Makes 3 cups. For those who do not want to stuff poultry, but want dressing.

SOUTHERN RICE PILAF STUFFING

This is from Elegant Southern Catering and makes 8 servings or about 12 cups.

4-1/2 cups canned low-salt chicken broth

1 bay leaf

3/4 cup wild rice

1/4 cup long-grain white rice

3 tbsp. butter

2 cup chopped ham

(about 3/4 lb.)

1-1/2 cup each chopped celery

and onions (use leaves of celery also for flavor)

1 large bunch collard greens, sliced

2 tbsp. chopped fresh

marjoram or 2 tsp. dried

3 cup packaged cubed bread stuffing

1 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

3 eggs, beaten to blend

Bring 3 cups broth and bay leaf to boil in medium saucepan. Mix in wild rice. Reduce heat to low, cover, cook 30 minutes. Mix in white rice. Cover, cook until both are tender and liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes more. Transfer rice to large bowl. Discard bay leaf. Melt butter in large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add ham, onions and celery and saute until onions are tender, about 10 minutes. Add collard greens and marjoram and saute until greens wilt, about 3-4 minutes. Add mixture to rice. Mix in cubed stuffing, pecans and nutmeg. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared one day ahead. Cover and refrigerate). Mix eggs into stuffing. To bake stuffing in turkey: Fill main turkey cavity with stuffing. Mix enough chicken broth into remaining stuffing to moisten (about 1/2 to 1/4 cup broth, depending on amount of remaining stuffing.) Spoon remaining stuffing into buttered baking dish. Cover with buttered foil. Bake stuffing in dish alongside turkey until heated through, about 30 minutes. To bake stuffing without putting in bird: Preheat oven to 375. Butter 13 x 9 x 2 inch dish. Mix 1 1/2 cup broth into stuffing. Transfer to prepared dish. Cover with buttered foil and bake until heated through, about 30 minutes.

SOUTHWEST CORNBREAD JALAPENO STUFFING

1 stick butter

1 cup chopped onion

1-1/2 cup chopped celery

Pepper to taste

1 skillet jalapeno cornbread (mix or scratch recipe)

1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. baking powder

4 eggs

Stock or broth as needed to moisten

Preheat oven to 425. Heat butter in large skillet; add onions, celery and pepper and sauté over medium heat until wilted, not brown. Crumble cornbread and combine with vegetables and seasonings. Add baking powder. Mix well with fork. Beat eggs lightly and stir with a fork. If dressing seems dry, moisten with broth or chicken stock or water. Bake in uncovered, shallow baking dish until golden brown. 6 servings.

CORN STUFFING BALLS

This can make an attractive dish by surrounding the entrée with the stuffing balls.

6 cups herb-seasoned stuffing croutons

1 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped onion

3/4 cup butter or margarine, divided

1 can (14 3/4 oz.) cream style corn

1 cup water

1-1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning

3/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

3 egg yolks, beaten

Place croutons in large bowl and set aside. In skillet, sauté celery and onion in 1/2 cup butter. Add corn, water, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper; bring to boil. Remove from heat; cool 5 minutes. Pour over croutons. Add egg yolks and mix gently. Shape 1/2 cupfuls into balls; flatten slightly. Place in greased 15 x 10 x 1 inch baking pan. Melt remaining butter; drizzle over stuffing balls. Bake, uncovered at 375 for 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes 12 servings. Easy to reduce for six servings. Enjoy.

As we gather this season may we remember our many blessings.

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