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unstuffed stuffing question

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
We've been invited to friends for Thanksgiving and the hostess has asked us to make stuffing that will cook outside the bird. Is there a rule of thumb about compensating for the lack of a cozy cavity filled with turkey juices? Do we use more liquid or more butter?
Also do regular stuffings work the same or are there better stuffings for cooking this way? Ours is pretty standard--bread, egg, onion, carrot, celery,etc.-- but we fear it will suffer for lack of a bird. We (I keep saying we because David and I make this together) also fear it will be too boring. :rolleyes:
By the way, neither our hosts nor most of the guests would go for overly fruity or fishy stuffings.
Emily

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Emily

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post #2 of 20
When I make extra dressing I wait till the turkey has started to bake then use some of the bastings and add that to the overall butter and liquid.
Another way would to be buy some turkey legs, bake them over your dressing, and save the cooked turkey meat for something.
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What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
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post #3 of 20
as i'm a huge fan of stuffing, the cavity of the bird never holds enough for me, i always make more.
add extra chicken stock and bake it covered mostly, remove the cover in the last 10 or so minutes to crisp up the top, a little diced apple is nice too, it's subtle enough that it won't make the stuffing too fruity.
hope this helps.
teresa:bounce:
post #4 of 20
I would definitely add extra moisture if I were baking it outside the bird. I like the idea of baking it with some turkey you can easily remove. Sounds yummy, Peachcreek! And the apple is a great idea too, Teresa.
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post #5 of 20
I add a little extra liquid to my dressing (stuffing that is not stuffed) but not too much. The bird really is not going to add much in the way of added liquid, what it really does is help to keep the moisture you already had still in it. The same is accomplished by baking your dressing covered in foil for most of the cooking and then removing it during the last few minutes to crisp and brown the top.

As a side note, I never stuff a turkey anymore. I don't find that it is that much better cooked in the turkey than out and it adds to your cooking time for the turkey resulting in dried out breast meat. The liquid I use for my dressing is canned broth bumped up in flavor by simmering the neck and the gizzards in it. I would love to use homemade broth, but rarely do I have time to make turkey broth ahead of time and any liquid in with the turkey is for gravy and even that usually has to get stretched in our household!!!

As for fear of being boring, my favorite stuffing (dressing) is the standard Sage stuffing that is so traditional to T-Day. But maybe you could do two stuffings if time and space allow (check with your hosts). Then you could make a traditional stuffing and then another, for variety. Some of my favorite other stuffings are: Cornbread with Pecans, Dried Cherries and Sausage; Apple, Sage and Sausage; Rye stuffing with Carraway, Apples & Sauerkraut (better with pork but still good with turkey); or an Italian Stuffing that came out of last year's T-Day issue of either Bon Appetit, Food & Wine or Gourmet (can't remember which). Then there is always the Brioche, Pear & Foie Gras stuffing, but that is getting a little on the expensive side.
post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 
Pete, that Brioche, Pear & Foie Gras stuffing sounds like a killer :bounce: (in more ways than one ;) ), but, as you note, a little pricey for me this year.
I'm really intrigued by the cornbread and pecans one. I Googled it and found one on-line. Is it fairly standard (not that anything you would do could ever be simply "standard" :D )?

And thank you Mezz and lavender for the moisture tip. Peachcreek, I like the idea of putting a turkey leg on top. We may try that as well.
Emily

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Emily

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post #7 of 20
I sat in on Kirk Warner's class last week, he made a brioche with sweet potatoes (roasted) sauteed onions and guyere dressing added chicken stock...it was FINE!
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post #8 of 20
Yes, it is kind of standard. Just start with a good cornbread stuffing recipe then add in toasted pecans, dried cherried (no need to rehydrate) and browned sausage.
post #9 of 20

Outside stuffing

Every year for Thanksgiving, the family piles in to Uncle Timmy's house. He and Miss Anna supply the turkey and other basics. Everyone usually brings a side. Last year, for no known reason, everyone brought stuffing. We had seven different kinds: sausage; cornbread; giblet; dirty rice; oyster;barley; brioche.
None of them were cooked in the bird. The brioche was the least favorite. It combined apples, pecans, onion, celery and cinnamon with the brioche. It reminded us of a bread pudding that lost its way. Tasty, but not for that group.
The barley came from a recipe for cornish hens. It contained onion, celery, raisins and white wine. It was more like a pilaf.
The oyster "stuffing" combined oysters and their liquor, soda crackers, cream and parsley. With a lot less crackers, it would have been a beautiful dish of scalopped oysters.
Dirty rice makes me happy in, or out, of the bird.
Giblet substituted chopped giblets for sausage in a more traditional recipe.
Sausage and cornbread speak for themselves. Five items will be repeated this year.
We are all to bring a dessert this year. Are there 7 ways to make pumpkin pie? LOL:rolleyes:
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
We're going to experiment on a guinea pig friend this weekend, so I have another question: When you make the cornbread for the cornbread stuffing, do you folks use sugar or not? My limited experience with cornbread taste is that I expect it to be a little on the sweet side, but I'm seeing recipes that say it's optional and even maybe better left out. And we're not going to be adding the sausage if that makes a difference in the type of cornbread used.

Shroomgirl, that dressing sounds like something I would happily consume as a main course with a green salad on the side! :bounce:

And Gilbear: a stuffing tasting party! I'd be in heaven (or cardiac arrest :eek: )
Emily

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Emily

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post #11 of 20

Re: Outside stuffing

Easily!:D
Great post Gilbear, and I agree with Phoebe!:bounce:
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My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
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post #12 of 20
Pete:

That brioche, foie gras & pear stuffing sounds awsome! Can you share the recipe?

Mark
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Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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post #13 of 20
Though for eating, I like my cornbread on the sweet side, for stuffing I make the cornbread without any sugar.

Mark I can give you ingredients and a general guideline for the stuffing but I never really measured anything.

Brioche, cut into cubes and dried for at least 1-2 days
Foie Gras, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
Onion, finely diced (not much)
Celery, finely diced (same amount as onion)
Pear, peeled, cored and diced into 1/4 inch
Fresh Sage
Honey
Salt
Pepper
Eggs
Stock or broth (turkey, chicken, or duck)

Beat a couple of eggs and toss with the brioche cubes. Sweat the onion and celery in a little butter and add to the brioche. In a really hot pan, quickly sear foie gras cubes. Add foie and rendered fat to brioche. In another hot pan carmelize the pears, with a little honey and add to the mix. Chop the sage and add along with salt and pepper. Add stock to moisten and either stuff a bird or bake on the side. Though I have never served with Turkey, I am sure it would be great with it. Foie goes with everything right?!. I have served this with Duck, Goose, and as a stuffing for Quail.
post #14 of 20
a little thing that i do is add some reconstituted dried mushrooms and some smoked turkey stock to my dressing. i find that this adds some excellent flavors and it elivates dressing from the mundane dish it so often becomes. try it its great.
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post #15 of 20
Pete:

That's wonderful. Thank you so much.

There's a gourmet supermarket aboput an hour from where I live that sometimes carries foie gras. About every 2 weeks I go there. The next time I do I'm going to try that recipe.

I'll ket you know how it turns out.

Mark
Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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post #16 of 20
This is why Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! :D Gilbear, your multi-dressing meal sounds like my idea of heaven. :lips: And everyone's suggestions are making me sooooooooooooo hungry.

I like to add lots of vegetables to my dressing: mushrooms, fennel, celery, red bell pepper (tastes better cooked than green) -- and if I'm not using them in succotash, jerusalem artichokes. Also chestnuts. I also prefer to add extra liquid, but bake it uncovered, so that I get a nice crisp crust on top.
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post #17 of 20

Stuffing Update

Well, my friends, I have some good news and some bad news. First the bad.
We had far fewer stuffings this year. We had a"Martha Stewart" Pecan-apple-sausage dressing that was politely consumed. Then Tragedy struck! Uncle Timmy made his regular sausage dressing and his Oyster dressing using "organic" bread croutons provided by the Martha Stewart dressing person. We have dubbed it "The Great Stuffing Disaster of '03" I am going to write a song about it.
The normally moist and sumptuous stuffings turned in to a gluey gloppy mess. The bread liquified; degenerated; evaporated; dissipated;did-something-horrible! There was a top crust and a bottom crust but the innards were just a horrible grey mass. None of us had ever experienced anything like it. We were Very,Very UN-thankful for organic croutons.
Now the Good news!
DESSERT! yes, that's right! Out loud and shouting! DESSERT!
Sweet Potato Bread Pudding Soufle...How do I describe it? Warm, moist, fluffy,tender, melting on the tongue, full of raisins and toasted pecan pieces; it hurts to think about it and know that there's none left; But there was a Bourbon Cream Sauce to pour over it like liquid love.
Pumpkin Flan...smooth, rich, spicy, filling my mouth like a Thanksgiving cloud. Also good with Bourbon Cream sauce poured over it!
A trio of pies, Pecan with dark Karo;Peanut(or Virginia Dare) with light Karo; Walnut with maple syrup These were my contribution. They were also very tasty with Bourbon Cream sauce on them.
Individual Mince Meat Tarts... glorious, spicy, fruity, made with ground venison( which wasn't revealed until AFTER consumption."OH No! You ate Bambi's Momma!" I am soooo wicked.) Although they were redolent of Brandy, they were still very tasty with Bourbon Cream sauce on them.
Dried Fruit and Sweet Potato Streudel... Muscats, currants,apricts and sweet potato slices in crisp buttery phyllo. I wanted this to be better than it was.Something lacked but I couldn't put my finger on it. It was, however, improved by the addition of Bourbon Cream sauce. I think that leftover mashed potatoes would be improved by pouring Bourbon Cream sauce over them. You wouldn't even have to warm them up. But you should warm the sauce.
Atttention: you must be 18 years of age to continue reading.
Pumpkin Custard Tart with a Chocolate Chip Cookie Crust... Who woulda thunk that those flavors would be so suited to each other. It was beyond my imaginings, but it was Oh so tasty.
White and Dark Chocolate Cream Pie in a Pretzel Crust...Forgive me Father for I have sinned. Luscious, creamy white layer; deep rich, sinful dark layer; salty, crunchy crust.
A shivering combination. The less politically correct among us christened it_PMS Pie.
I have suggested that next year we should skip dinner altogether so as to have the maximum available belly space for dessert! On the other hand, I have to see my doctor on the 9th. I think I should start Fasting, uhhh, Tomorrow.:lips:
post #18 of 20
Heck, I'd even eat beets with bourbon cream sauce on them!

What a lovely dessert menu, gilbear. I haven't a clue why organic croutons would make a difference in the oyster stuffing, but I wonder if it was a glutenless or other odd type of bread, rather than it being organic.
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post #19 of 20
Yeah, that's my guess: not real bread. :lol:

As for those desserts -- I'm dizzy just reading them! Yum!
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #20 of 20

Re:mezz and Suzanne

Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to blame Organic, as a whole. Just this particular "Organic" whole Earth, Yuppified bag of bread that ruined the stuffing. It Has to be the best; it costs the most. This is logic that I wouldn't apply, but I didn't (read-wouldn't)buy them.
The proposition was that we were to try a spoonful of each dessert. No one was able to settle for ONE spoonful. It was a dangerous job, but I knew it had to be done.:rolleyes:
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