Monday, November 24, 2008

In-laws Thanksgiving Sausage Stuffing


Thanksgiving at his in-laws
; a meal the Chef looks forward to every year -- except this year. It's his turn to entertain. My in-laws make a great Thanksgiving bread stuffing using breakfast sausage links, and the Chef is not one to fool with perfection, however he can't help but tinker a little bit. Cornbread stuffing is a Southern tradition so the Chef merges the two and creates an In-laws Thanksgiving Sausage Link Stuffing. Extra additions include a few aromatics and fresh garden herbs.


Thanksgiving is all about "gobbling" up food sales (whole turkey is 59 cents a pound here; and go here for the L.A. Times newspaper's turkey carving and easy dry-brined turkey recipe video); so now is the time to hit your local market and stock up on ham, turkey and a few packages of your favorite stuffing, since it is dry storage is no problem. The Chef has run across a few different types at his local 99c only Store, including dried cranberry, a new favorite. The cranberries reconstitute mixed into moistened breadcrumbs when stuffed into a bird and are a sweet/tart contrast. To keep the in-laws happy, the Chef will leave out cranberries this time.


Ingredients (feeds 2-3) *Add a couple more slices of toast if in-laws are in attendance.
8 oz. package cornbread stuffing mix (follow package directions)
8 oz. package breakfast link sausage (Farmer John brand is lean and a favorite)
1 cup each of chopped bell pepper, celery and onions
1 tablespoon chopped garlic from jar or fresh
1 tbsp. each fresh chopped parsley, sage and/or oregano (1 tsp. total if dried)
1 toasted bread slice (makes for a less crumbly stuffing)
Water and butter per cornbread stuffing mix directions
Salt and pepper to taste
*A 99 cent trick to increase stuffing if unexpected guests show up.

Directions
Saute and break-up sausage links, then pour out most of the rendered grease. Add veggies and saute until soft, about 5-10 minutes. Prepare stuffing according to package directions. Mix prepared stuffing, toast, sausage and sauteed veggies in a large bowl. Stuff your bird and put extra stuffing in a bread loaf type baking dish. Bake extra stuffing for the last 45 minutes of roasting bird. A tasty trick is to pour out some of the juices from the cooking bird's roasting pan into the "extra stuffing" pan just before it goes in the oven with the bird.

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