Friday, November 13, 2009
It's been a very exciting 24 hours. First, I looked outside yesterday and the camellias were in bloom. Imagine that. Perfect timing to make a showing in a holiday flower arrangement. That would have made it a very nice day.
But then, I checked the food52 site and realized my stuffing recipe had been selected as a finalist in this week's Best Thanksgiving Stuffing contest. This is the third time I've had a recipe selected, and let me tell you, every single time, I'm totally shocked.
And goofy proud. And exceptionally grateful.
The next bit of news - Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, founders of food52, would be cooking the stuffings on the Today Show. That just sent me over the top. I was crazy nervous, happy, thrilled.
Dennis wanted to tell everyone. He was especially delighted as he completely pushed me to enter the recipe. And of course, it's because of my wonderful husband this recipe was created in the first place.
My mother made a similar stuffing, although she used Pepperidge Farm stuffing croutons and crumbled Bob Evans breakfast sausage in hers. When I met Dennis, the vegetarian, I thought he deserved a stuffing all his own, and nudged the recipe a bit.
Truth be told, while Dennis called friends and family to tell them about the Today Show, I just wanted to tell my Mom. It's been five years since she died, and even longer since we had Thanksgiving together, and, today, more than ever, I really missed her. She would have been so pleased.
What We Call Stuffing
1 large loaf of challah or brioche
2 c/500g celery, diced
2 c/500g onion, diced
2 c/500g cremini mushrooms, diced
8-10 sprigs thyme, chopped
3 sprigs rosemary, chopped
1/4 c/75g chopped flat leaf parsley
3 c/24oz vegetable stock, preferably homemade
3 oz unsalted butter
4 oz unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
Cut the challah into 1" cubes. Leave the cubes out on a parchment lined sheet pan on the counter to get stale, at least overnight, and preferably, 2 days.
Melt 3 oz butter in a large heavy saute pan. Saute the onions until wilted, add the herbs, celery and mushrooms and cook until just slightly cooked through.
In a large bowl, combine bread cubes, vegetables, melted butter and vegetable stock, and salt and pepper. Test for seasoning and adjust.
Press stuffing in to a large buttered baking dish. Cover with buttered parchment and then foil. At this point, the stuffing can be held for several hours, but should be at room temperature before baking.
Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes, the last 10-15 minutes without the foil and parchment, to crisp the surface.