Monday, November 24, 2014

One Secret To Double Your Stuffing!

If you're anything like me turkey is really just a stuffing delivery device. Truly great stuffing requires it to be stuffed into a Turkey, but I don't really love the birds you can buy in the supermarket. There is an alternative (slaughter your own.) You might not want to click on that link if you are squeamish.

If there was a good way to make delicious stuffing without putting it into a bird, I would be all over it, but let's be honest. The stuffing from inside the bird is about 1000 times better then the baked version.

I always want more stuffing, and with this Secret you can get twice as much stuffing into your turkey!!

Let's start off with the stuffing. This is my mother's stuffing recipe, it's the recipe that I grew up with, and it's the best stuffing in the world. I'm sure most people think that about the recipes that they grew up with but there is a key difference here. This one is my mother's recipe.

The stuffing is perfectly simple: croutons, mushrooms, onions, celery and sausage. Mostly the flavor comes from the delectable internal drippings in the turkey. In my opinion stuffing who has not cooked inside a slowly roasting fowl is not stuffing at all but rather a soggy bread casserole. Stove Top I Deny Thee!

And why not stuff a bird? The most common reason is because people are worried that the stuffing will carry salmonella and other food borne diseases because it doesn't get hot enough in the center of the bird. Or that you have to overcook the bird to fully cook the stuffing. This is madness! I would much rather under-cook the stuffing, pull it out of a perfectly cooked bird, and then warm the stuffing through in another pan if required. Your best friend in all of this is a good meat thermometer.

Let's get on to the recipe:

This makes stuffing for a 10-15 lbs. bird, double for a 20+ lbs. bird.
1 lb. of Jimmy Dean Hot Breakfast Sausage
1 medium onion diced
3 stalks of celery diced
8 oz. Cremini mushrooms cut in half and sliced
1 bag of Sage and onion flavored stuffing cubes
16 oz. of Chicken or Turkey stock

First sear the sausage in a large pot. This pot is going to have to be able to hold all of your stuffing. Once the sausage is seared, reduce the heat to medium and add all of your vegetables and let them sweat until they have turned translucent about 5-7 minutes. Stir occasionally during this process.

Add the stuffing cubes and toss to coat. Add the chicken stock and toss to incorporate. We are trying to re-hydrate all of the bread cubes so that they squish well into the bird. Add additional water as necessary to soften all of the breadcrumbs. However do not let them get soggy! We want to re-hydrate them not make them mushy.

The stuffing is now complete and ready to be stuffed into a turkey!

The secret to doubling the amount of stuffing in your bird is this:

I stuff the main cavity of the turkey, then I flip the bird over and stuff the neck skin of the turkey until it's absolutely bursting. This effectively doubles the amount of stuffing you can get into each bird. It doesn't look as pretty afterwards but you get DOUBLE the stuffing!!!

I stuff the main cavity absolutely brimming with stuffing well packed in, then cover it with aluminum foil to prevent it from drying out and burning, which happens pretty quickly. Once you flip over the bird you should have big flap of turkey neck skin ready to be packed full of stuffing. As you can see from the picture the turkey neck gets packed to the brim with stuffing as well which forms a huge mound on top of the breast. I pin the neck cavity shut over the last of the stuffing.

It's not pretty but you can pack nearly as much into the turkey neck skin as you can in the main cavity. This with DOUBLE the amount stuffing in one bird!!!

Once the turkey is done cooking I stick the same meat thermometer I use for checking the temperature of the bird in the stuffing, if it's over 160F we're in business, and if not, I'll just throw the stuffing in the microwave or covered in a pan with aluminum foil once it's out of the bird! No worries!


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