STUFFING

"STUFFING" IS A MISNOMER.  NEVER STUFF STUFFING INSIDE THE TURKEY.  WHY?  WHAT LITTLE IT MAY GAIN IN FLAVOR FROM ABSORBING THE JUICE FROM THE BIRD ROBS THE BIRD OF JUICE.  IT'S A BAD TRADE-OFF, SINCE THE HOLY GRAIL OF THANKSGIVING IS JUICY TURKEY.  OVER THE YEARS I'VE TRIED A LOT OF STUFFING RECIPES AND A LOT OF THEM THERE ARE -- FROM SIMPLE BREAD, BUTTER, ONION, AND SAGE TO STUFFING WITH MORE INGREDIENTS THAN YOU CAN COUNT.  I'VE NEVER MADE A STUFFING WITH OYSTERS, BUT I HAVE WITH CORNBREAD, WHICH YIELDS A DENSE BUT FLAVORFUL STUFFING.  THIS THURSDAY, I'LL BE SERVING A KIND OF HYBRID RECIPE WITH ITALIAN SAUSAGE, FENNEL, ONION, AND TOPPED WITH GRUYERE.     

 1 LARGE LOAF OF SOURDOUGH BREAD
 3 ITALIAN SAUSAGES: TWO FENNEL, ONE SPICY
 1 LARGE BROWN ONION
 2 SMALL FENNEL BULBS OR ONE LARGE ONE
 2 cups TURKEY OR CHICKEN STOCK
 FRESH THYME AND SAGE
 1 cup AGED GRUYÉRE OR COMTÉ
 FRESH CHIVES AND/OR TARRAGON
1

HEAT OVEN TO 375º

CUT THE CRUST FROM THE BREAD AND TEAR INTO 1-TO-2-INCH PIECES. SPREAD THEM ONTO A RIMMED BAKING SHEET AND PLACE IN THE OVEN. IF YOU'RE MAKING THE STUFFING THE FOLLOWING DAY, LEAVE THE TORN BREAD IN THE OVEN OVERNIGHT, WHERE IT WILL TURN STALE. ALTERNATELY, YOU CAN BAKE THEM ON A VERY LOW TEMPERATURE (180º F) FOR AN HOUR OR SO TILL THEY HARDEN.

PEEL AND DICE THE ONION. MELT 2 TBSPS OF BUTTER AND 1 TBSP OF PEANUT OIL IN A LARGE AU GRATIN DISH. COOK THE ONION ON A LOW FLAME TILL IT TURNS TRANSLUCENT.

MEANWHILE, REMOVE THE SAUSAGE MEAT FROM THE CASINGS. ONCE THE ONION HAS COOKED, ADD THE SAUSAGE MEAT. COOK, PRESSING DOWN WITH A LARGE FORK TO SEPARATE THE SAUSAGE MEAT. COOK UNTIL IT LOSES ALL ITS COLOR.

PLACE THE TORN BREAD IN A LARGE BOWL. ADD THE SAUSAGE AND ONIONS.

PEEL THE OUTER LAYER FROM THE FENNEL. SLICE LENGTHWISE IN HALF. CUT OUT THE TOUGH WEDGE FROM THE BASE. DEPENDING ON THE SIZE OF THE BULB, MAKE SEVERAL LENGTHWISE CUTS, THEN SLICE CROSSWISE INTO 1/4-INCH PIECES. ADD TO THE BOWL OF BREAD AND ONIONS.

CUT UP A STICK OF BUTTER AND ADD TO THE BOWL. ADD THE LEAVES FROM SEVERAL THYME SPRIGS AND 8 CHOPPED SAGE LEAVES.

SALT AND PEPPER GENEROUSLY.

MIX EVERYTHING TOGETHER WITH YOUR HANDS. THEIR HEAT WILL SOFTEN THE BUTTER.

MIX IN 1-2 CUPS OF POULTRY STOCK.

PUT THE STUFFING IN THE AU GRATIN DISH.

TOP WITH 1 CUP OF GRATED GRUYÈRE AND PLACE IN THE OVEN.

BAKE TILL THE CHEESE HAS SLIGHTLY BROWNED.

GARNISH WITH FRESHLY-CHOPPED HERBS.

SERVES 8-10

 1 LARGE LOAF OF SOURDOUGH BREAD
 3 ITALIAN SAUSAGES: TWO FENNEL, ONE SPICY
 1 LARGE BROWN ONION
 2 SMALL FENNEL BULBS OR ONE LARGE ONE
 2 cups TURKEY OR CHICKEN STOCK
 FRESH THYME AND SAGE
 1 cup AGED GRUYÉRE OR COMTÉ
 FRESH CHIVES AND/OR TARRAGON
1

HEAT OVEN TO 375º

CUT THE CRUST FROM THE BREAD AND TEAR INTO 1-TO-2-INCH PIECES. SPREAD THEM ONTO A RIMMED BAKING SHEET AND PLACE IN THE OVEN. IF YOU'RE MAKING THE STUFFING THE FOLLOWING DAY, LEAVE THE TORN BREAD IN THE OVEN OVERNIGHT, WHERE IT WILL TURN STALE. ALTERNATELY, YOU CAN BAKE THEM ON A VERY LOW TEMPERATURE (180º F) FOR AN HOUR OR SO TILL THEY HARDEN.

PEEL AND DICE THE ONION. MELT 2 TBSPS OF BUTTER AND 1 TBSP OF PEANUT OIL IN A LARGE AU GRATIN DISH. COOK THE ONION ON A LOW FLAME TILL IT TURNS TRANSLUCENT.

MEANWHILE, REMOVE THE SAUSAGE MEAT FROM THE CASINGS. ONCE THE ONION HAS COOKED, ADD THE SAUSAGE MEAT. COOK, PRESSING DOWN WITH A LARGE FORK TO SEPARATE THE SAUSAGE MEAT. COOK UNTIL IT LOSES ALL ITS COLOR.

PLACE THE TORN BREAD IN A LARGE BOWL. ADD THE SAUSAGE AND ONIONS.

PEEL THE OUTER LAYER FROM THE FENNEL. SLICE LENGTHWISE IN HALF. CUT OUT THE TOUGH WEDGE FROM THE BASE. DEPENDING ON THE SIZE OF THE BULB, MAKE SEVERAL LENGTHWISE CUTS, THEN SLICE CROSSWISE INTO 1/4-INCH PIECES. ADD TO THE BOWL OF BREAD AND ONIONS.

CUT UP A STICK OF BUTTER AND ADD TO THE BOWL. ADD THE LEAVES FROM SEVERAL THYME SPRIGS AND 8 CHOPPED SAGE LEAVES.

SALT AND PEPPER GENEROUSLY.

MIX EVERYTHING TOGETHER WITH YOUR HANDS. THEIR HEAT WILL SOFTEN THE BUTTER.

MIX IN 1-2 CUPS OF POULTRY STOCK.

PUT THE STUFFING IN THE AU GRATIN DISH.

TOP WITH 1 CUP OF GRATED GRUYÈRE AND PLACE IN THE OVEN.

BAKE TILL THE CHEESE HAS SLIGHTLY BROWNED.

GARNISH WITH FRESHLY-CHOPPED HERBS.

SERVES 8-10

Ingredients

 1 LARGE LOAF OF SOURDOUGH BREAD
 3 ITALIAN SAUSAGES: TWO FENNEL, ONE SPICY
 1 LARGE BROWN ONION
 2 SMALL FENNEL BULBS OR ONE LARGE ONE
 2 cups TURKEY OR CHICKEN STOCK
 FRESH THYME AND SAGE
 1 cup AGED GRUYÉRE OR COMTÉ
 FRESH CHIVES AND/OR TARRAGON

Directions

1

HEAT OVEN TO 375º

CUT THE CRUST FROM THE BREAD AND TEAR INTO 1-TO-2-INCH PIECES. SPREAD THEM ONTO A RIMMED BAKING SHEET AND PLACE IN THE OVEN. IF YOU'RE MAKING THE STUFFING THE FOLLOWING DAY, LEAVE THE TORN BREAD IN THE OVEN OVERNIGHT, WHERE IT WILL TURN STALE. ALTERNATELY, YOU CAN BAKE THEM ON A VERY LOW TEMPERATURE (180º F) FOR AN HOUR OR SO TILL THEY HARDEN.

PEEL AND DICE THE ONION. MELT 2 TBSPS OF BUTTER AND 1 TBSP OF PEANUT OIL IN A LARGE AU GRATIN DISH. COOK THE ONION ON A LOW FLAME TILL IT TURNS TRANSLUCENT.

MEANWHILE, REMOVE THE SAUSAGE MEAT FROM THE CASINGS. ONCE THE ONION HAS COOKED, ADD THE SAUSAGE MEAT. COOK, PRESSING DOWN WITH A LARGE FORK TO SEPARATE THE SAUSAGE MEAT. COOK UNTIL IT LOSES ALL ITS COLOR.

PLACE THE TORN BREAD IN A LARGE BOWL. ADD THE SAUSAGE AND ONIONS.

PEEL THE OUTER LAYER FROM THE FENNEL. SLICE LENGTHWISE IN HALF. CUT OUT THE TOUGH WEDGE FROM THE BASE. DEPENDING ON THE SIZE OF THE BULB, MAKE SEVERAL LENGTHWISE CUTS, THEN SLICE CROSSWISE INTO 1/4-INCH PIECES. ADD TO THE BOWL OF BREAD AND ONIONS.

CUT UP A STICK OF BUTTER AND ADD TO THE BOWL. ADD THE LEAVES FROM SEVERAL THYME SPRIGS AND 8 CHOPPED SAGE LEAVES.

SALT AND PEPPER GENEROUSLY.

MIX EVERYTHING TOGETHER WITH YOUR HANDS. THEIR HEAT WILL SOFTEN THE BUTTER.

MIX IN 1-2 CUPS OF POULTRY STOCK.

PUT THE STUFFING IN THE AU GRATIN DISH.

TOP WITH 1 CUP OF GRATED GRUYÈRE AND PLACE IN THE OVEN.

BAKE TILL THE CHEESE HAS SLIGHTLY BROWNED.

GARNISH WITH FRESHLY-CHOPPED HERBS.

SERVES 8-10

STUFFING
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