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[P]
An unhealthy obsession with stuffing

By rusty in Culture
Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 02:13:02 PM EST
Tags: Food (all tags)
Food

I think I might be in the early stages of an unhealthy fixation on stuffing. Stuffing is so good, so wholesome and tasty. And that's just stuffing out of a box! When you make your own stuffing, it goes to another level. It's Thanksgiving, that magical day when stuffing rises as close to the forefront of culinary relevance as it ever gets. So today might just be the day that you, yes you, turn that corner and really take charge of your stuffing destiny.


Before we start, I need to get two things clear. First, all temperatures here are degrees fahrenheit. No temperatures here matter very much. Just guess. And second, even if you don't celebrate Thanksgiving for whatever reason (godless heathen, foreigner, live in small hole in ground, whatever) you can still enjoy a fine stuffing. Stuffing does not care who you are or where you live. Stuffing loves all of humanity, and serves willingly in the shadow of more glory-seeking foods. Stuffing will always be there for you.

To make good stuffing, truly artistic stuffing, you first need to start with good stock. Turkey stock would be most appropriate, but I rarely have turkey parts lying around, and I do have lots of chicken leavings. Homemade chicken stock is useful for any number of other cooking purposes as well, so let's start there.

Step One: Stocking up (groan)

Homemade chicken stock is dead easy, so long as you remember the "skimming off the crunge" step. Basically you:

  • Collect up leftover bits from other chicken meals. We roast chickens pretty frequently, and I always freeze the remaining carcass and neck/giblet bits. You can also go to any butcher and ask if they've got chicken carcasses around for cheap. Get a package of extra giblets and hearts and livers too, any of those gross bits you normally wouldn't eat. They'll give it color.
  • Hack up your pile of chicken scraps into reasonable-sized chunks. Very little in this recipe depends on precision, honestly. Use your best judgment. If you have a big cleaver, this part is fun. Re-enact scenes from your favorite slasher movie!
  • Throw them all in a pot large enough to comfortably hold them. Put it on medium-high heat, drizzle in some olive oil, and salt and pepper liberally. Fry them up for a while, till they brown. You can skip this step, if you don't mind (or desire) a lighter-colored broth. Broth from raw parts will be somewhat milder and subtler in flavor as well. I like mine dark and hearty, personally, so I fry.
  • Fill the pot with enough water to cover the chicken bits by maybe four or five inches. A lot of the extra water will come out in the skimming.
  • Let it come up to a boil. Meanwhile, look around for a large spoon, shallow ladle, something like that. Every kitchen has its own perfect skimming implement. You'll probably have to experiment with a few. Also, get a decent sized bowl and put it as near to the pot as you can.
  • As the pot comes up to a boil, you'll start to see stuff floating to the surface of your water. Some of it is like little brown bits, some of it might be yellowish and oily, eventually a lot of it will be a nasty looking gray foam. Basically anything that doesn't look like water is your enemy. Skim it away. Don't be too finicky if you get a little of the good stock water along with it. It's no big deal, you put in extra. Just skim off the surface of the pot and dump into your handy bowl repeatedly. This process will continue for probably 20 minutes, at least. Be ruthless! Anything that looks the least bit sketchy, get rid of it. This is not the time to split hairs. Basically anything on the surface that isn't a large lump of chicken should be gone. The better you do here, the better your stock will be.
  • After a while, you'll run out of stuff to skim off. Stir the chicken parts around a few times and make sure there isn't still gray foam trapped amongst them. If you're sure you're done skimming, take it back down to an active simmer.
  • For a basic chicken stock, you're just about done now. Taste it. It'll probably need salt. Chicken stock is salty, so don't be shy with it. Just salt, stir and taste till it tastes right. Saltless stock is, IMO, gross. If that's all you want, cover and let it simmer for a good while. Like an hour or two. It'll make your house smell fantastic.
  • If you want to get fancy (I usually do), this is where you can add seasoning and veggies. I like celery, onion, carrots, and fresh parsley. I also usually throw in a bay leaf. Chop veggies directly into the pot, and reminisce about all those Looney Tunes cartoons where cannibals tried to boil Bugs Bunny. Don't cut your thumb off while doing this. Salt and pepper, taste often. It's yummy. As above, cover and simmer for a while.
  • I sometimes also remove the cover and simmer uncovered for another half hour when I think it's almost done. This tends to boil off some of the water and concentrate the stock. You can do as much or as little of this as you like, depending on what you're going for.
  • It's done when it's the color you want it to be, and tastes good. Take it off the heat, strain out all the stuff, and leave the liquid in a  large bowl or container of some kind. Cover it and get it into the fridge. Wait at least overnight, disturbing it as little as you can.
  • The next day, when it's cooled down thoroughly, your container will have a layer of congealed fat that's floated to the top and solidified. Scoop this right off. They make special kettle-type things for this step, but you don't really need one. Just get rid of the remaining fat. This is important. Your stock will be greasy if you don't do this.
  • You're done! You've got lovely homemade chicken stock that will taste fantastic in your stuffing, or anything else that calls for chicken stock or boullion. I like to freeze it at this point in one-cup measures in individual ziplock bags, for extra-easy use later on.
Step Two: And all they found was the mysterious word "Crouton" carved in a post...

Good stuffing requires good stock. But it also requires good bread! This year, we're making cornbread stuffing, with apples and sausage. So naturally, I also had to make cornbread. And away we go:

  • Heat your oven to 400 degrees. If your oven is a sad half-working piece of crap from the 1940's, heat it up to however hot it will get today, which in this case is 325 degrees. Curse it for the junkheap relic it truly is.
  • In a bowl, mix up 1 and 1/4 cups white flour, 1/4 cup corn meal, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. I usually add an extra pinch of salt. Incidentally, a pinch is about half a teaspoon. Just so's you know.
  • In a different bowl, beat one egg till it cries for its mama, then beat it some more. Froth is your friend. Add a cup of milk and 1/4 cup of veggie oil and beat some more.
  • Put a cast-iron pan on the stove and melt some butter in it. Get the pan relatively hot, but don't let the butter burn too much.
  • While your butter is melting, add the wet to the dry, and fold them together with a spoon as little as you possibly can. You can leave lumps of dry floury stuff, that's ok. Just get it all hanging together. If you mix too much, your cornbread will be like a solid lump of granite. Don't mix too much.
  • Pour your batter in the cast-iron pan and spread it out to the edges.
  • Stick the whole pan in the oven for 20 or 25 minutes.
When your cornbread is done, try not to eat it all before it cools down. The batch I made today was really good, and I ate a little too much of it. When it's cool enough to handle, cut it into crouton-sized cubes and spread them out in a pan, and put them in the oven, which you've left open and allowed to cool down a bit. You want your oven to be on, but not hot. Like 200 or 150 degrees or so. Leave the door open a little to let moisture escape. When the cubes are bone dry, take them out and put em in a ziplock. Then repeat this drying process with a sturdy white bread, torn or cut into similar-sized chunks. You may make this bread yourself too, but I didn't this time around.

Step Three: The Stuff

When it's stuffing time, just cut up some apples into small chunks, fry some sweet Italian sausage (the loose, lumpy kind, not the sausage links kind). Mix your white and corn bread croutons in roughly equal proportion. Add apples and sausage, add some melted butter, and add chicken stock until it's moist enough to be stuffingy. Be careful with the stock. Add a little and stir -- it's easy to drown it at this stage. This will also be good with some garlic (of course!), diced onions, and fennel or sage. Neither of which I have, so I'll have to find something else. Salt and pepper, and give it a taste. If it's not absolutely heavenly, poke around the kitchen for something else to add. Have fun! Stuffing is a "whatever you've got lying around" type of food.

Then stuff it in your bird (shut up you whining ninnies who claim that stuffing shouldn't be cooked in the bird! It damn well should and must be), and have a great Thanksgiving!

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An unhealthy obsession with stuffing | 99 comments (79 topical, 20 editorial, 0 hidden)
You bastard. (3.25 / 4) (#3)
by codespace on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 04:28:55 AM EST

You cold-hearted, cruel, merciless bastard. I can't have any damned stuffing till I get to my parent's place, which won't be till sometime after I get off work. Damn you, rusty! DAMN YOU!!!

_____
today on how it's made: kitchen knives, mannequins, socks and hypodermic needles.
-1 (4.14 / 7) (#5)
by tacomacide on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 05:42:05 AM EST

Since I am a hacker, I think it is my duty to let you know that the way you used the term "hack" to describe a malicious and aggressive action offends me deeply. Might I suggest you use "chop" or "cut?"

You owe me and all of the true hackers of the world an apology. Thanks in advance.

*** ANONYMIZED ***

Early stages? (4.33 / 3) (#6)
by ukryule on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 05:51:11 AM EST

I think I might be in the early stages of an unhealthy fixation on stuffing.

[... followed by ...] Stuffing loves all of humanity, and serves willingly in the shadow of more glory-seeking foods. Stuffing will always be there for you.

I hate to be the one to break it to you Rusty, but either you're way past the early stages or you're going to need some serious help when full-blown stuffing fever hits ...

I'm already drooling (3.50 / 4) (#7)
by daragh on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 05:57:27 AM EST

We don't have thanksgiving in Europia, so I have to wait until Christmas!

+1 btw, for good taste.

No work.

-1 too meat centric (3.60 / 5) (#10)
by tetsuwan on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 06:05:06 AM EST

Nah, just kidding, I'll abstain.

Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance

Where are all the smart-ass comments? (1.84 / 13) (#11)
by tmenezes on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 06:09:17 AM EST

Where are all the smart-ass comments we usually see on stories like this one?

I suppose this site gives rusty a lot of hard work so I think it's ok for him to post this kind of crap.

BTW, we are getting a little too American-centric aren't we?

Rusty is our god (none / 0) (#27)
by godix on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 10:57:55 AM EST

K5 commandment #4: Thou shall not diss thy god. I don't recall any of K5's commandments saying I'd go to computer hell (doing nothing but reading trolls for eternity) for voting down God's story though.....


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
[ Parent ]
I don't understand... (none / 0) (#63)
by brunson on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 12:41:26 AM EST

too American-centric

Oxymoron?

[ Parent ]

What? (4.77 / 9) (#16)
by QuickFox on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 06:59:28 AM EST

and hearts and livers too, any of those gross bits you normally wouldn't eat.

Oh my God! Are you saying that you wouldn't eat chicken liver? You'd discard chicken liver?

But chicken liver is a pure blessing from Heaven! Chicken liver is the ultimate delight! It's the most blissful of joys! Chicken liver the very music from the spheres!

When God created Heaven and Earth, he was in a quandary. Shall I give them free will? Of course I must, else they'll be mere slaves. But I can't give them free will, then they'll have endless millennia of unspeakable sufferíng from the inevitable abuse, until they finally learn how to handle it. Free will would be too cruel! But I can't have slaves! I must give them free will! But it's too cruel! But I must!

I know! I'll give them free will, and then, to compensate for their suffering, I'll give them chicken liver.

That's how good it is. So don't discard it.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi

Chicken Liver is Indeed Evil (5.00 / 1) (#20)
by inadeepsleep on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 07:51:36 AM EST

However, your spirited defense of the virtues of Chicken Liver and obviously heartfelt love for the same have brought a tear to my eye. Never, never in my wildest dreams, did I suspect the deep theological implications of the humble Chicken Liver. Never have I felt the daily relevance of Chicken Liver more than I feel it now in the very cockles of my heart. But it still sucks.


[ Parent ]
I don't get liver (none / 0) (#45)
by jaymz168 on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 06:14:59 PM EST

I just don't get eating on of the body's natural filtering mechanisms (the other being the kidneys). Just imagine what kind of stuff is stuck in there. Eww...

[ Parent ]
Same with alot of animals (none / 0) (#82)
by GoofyBoy on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 04:17:03 PM EST

Alot of shellfish/shrimp sickens me because they are bottom feeders and I really doubt that their entire bodies are pure.

And the chicken livers are ok, they only eat sterilized/chemically processed food and stuff.

(Chicken livers, not over cooked, are divine.)

[ Parent ]

-1, Too Turkey Centric. (2.50 / 4) (#21)
by i on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 07:56:48 AM EST

Am just kiddink, OK? When I read "stuffed", I immediately think "veggies stuffed with meat and rice", but that's just me.

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

Another unhealthy obsession with stuffing (3.60 / 5) (#22)
by pyramid termite on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 08:34:44 AM EST

My daughter likes it a lot. So much that she'll wad it up in her hands and scatter it all over the floor, dunk it in water, and generally turn the living room into a blizzard of stuffing. She's got this one big stuffed bear and I have had to put great handfuls of the stuffing back in the hole in his neck she made to pull it out. One day I expect the bear will be totally flat and our house will have to be snow shoveled instead of vaccuumed.

(reads article) Oh. Never mind.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
i'm totally stuffed just from reading this (2.66 / 3) (#23)
by nex on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 09:36:31 AM EST



Damn Yankees! (4.66 / 6) (#28)
by wiredog on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 11:32:59 AM EST

When, oh when, will you learn how to make proper cornbread? A 5:1 ratio of white flour to cornmeal?

Damn heathen! Would you deep fry a lobster while it was alive? Or even after it was dead? Then don't abuse that golden goodness that is True Corn Bread, damn you! Learn how to cook!

Cornbread: You use two cups of flour, with a 1:1 (or better) ratio of cornmeal (stone ground is best) to wheat flour. I, personally, rarely go below 1/4 wheat flour as the wheat flour acts as a binder. But I never go above 1 cup of wheat flour, as that cuts the flavor too much! And don't use 'vegetable oil', that stuff's tasteless. Use bacon grease, the way God intended! He wouldn't have made bacon so greasy if He didn't want us to use it!

5:1 wheat:corn and veggie oil. Good God! How y'all ever won the War of the Northern Agression...

More Math! Less Pr0n! K5 For K5ers!
--Rusty

Co'n Bread (none / 0) (#32)
by rusty on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 12:01:57 PM EST

Thanks. As a confirmed Yankee, I admit that I don't really know how to make corn bread. I've been looking for a better recipe -- your bacon fat suggestion sounds like just the ticket.

Good God! How y'all ever won the War of the Northern Agression...

We had something to eat besides cotton. :-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Joy of cooking, 3rd edition (4.00 / 1) (#52)
by wiredog on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 08:12:44 PM EST

Or any cornbread recipie, just keep a 1:1 ratio of cornmeal to wheat flour.

Another oil that's good is olive oil. Learned that one from some italian neighbors years ago.

Oh, and you can add bacon bits, or corn kernels to it as well.

More Math! Less Pr0n! K5 For K5ers!
--Rusty

[ Parent ]

Re: Damn Yankees! (none / 0) (#57)
by stormie on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 10:21:45 PM EST

..and don't add so much sugar to it that it tastes like cake, rather than bread. Although I bet the southern gentleman does that as well as the damn yankees. Bloody seppos and their weird food. :-)

--
the australian cornbread man



[ Parent ]
About the Stock (4.00 / 3) (#30)
by wiredog on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 11:46:24 AM EST

A bit too much salt, methinks. Otherwise not bad. Try adding some chardonnay to it while it's simmering. About 1/2 cup per quart of water. Also, when adding celery and other veggies just wash and chop them. Don't discard the leaves or root ball. If you want a darker stock, add the onion skins. Don't forget a bit of garlic.

You didn't mention it, so I will. The bones. Don't forget to put the bones in. The marrow and gelatin add a wonderful consistency to it, and make it jell when it goes in the fridge.

A good stock barely simmers for several hours. It's also a couple gallons of liquid when you start. Figure it will reduce by 1/3 to 1/2 while cooking.

Stock freezes wonderfully. Ever made rice with stock instead of water? Try it.

Oh, and the recipie Rusty gave is good for any stock. Substitute meat, seafood, etc. For a veggie stock, just leave out the meat. Substitute red wine for the white whne doing a dark stock like beef, lamb, etc.

And now I have to go to a friends house for a true Southern Thanksgiving involving Roast Ham, yams, peanut soup, and other fine Southern delicacies.

Peanut soup, you ask? To one quart chicken stock add 1 cup to 1 and a half cups peanut butter. Chunky or creamy, your choice. Put in some tabasco. Stir together and bring to a simmer. Add some cream (not too much!) to thicken. Yummy.

More Math! Less Pr0n! K5 For K5ers!
--Rusty

You are correct (none / 0) (#31)
by rusty on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 11:59:15 AM EST

Well, obviously you can add salt to your own taste. I didn't actually give any amounts for the stock, just add till it tastes right.

You didn't mention it, so I will. The bones. Don't forget to put the bones in.

Dear god, did I have to mention that? Of course you put the bones in! You put everything in! Sorry, I thought that came from context.

I juist degreased my stock from yesterday, and it's a great big bowl of wobbly jelly. Perfect! :-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

anything but Chardonnay! (none / 0) (#34)
by tankgirl on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 12:20:23 PM EST

Pretty much any white wine will do, but that one. I swear that stuff is just wrong, to sweet, doesn't give the right tang in cooking.

I went with a Chenin Blanc I had lying around for my stock, and oh man is that stuff yummy.

Happy Thanks giving. :-)

jeri

[ Parent ]

What's the deal with putting wine in everything (none / 0) (#61)
by Hobbes on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 12:26:28 AM EST

I mean, then everything just winds up having a nasty rotten grape flavour.

Are there any substitutes for wine that I could use in recipes that call for wine?

Growr.

++++++
As bad as I am, I'm proud of the fact that I'm worse than I seem.
[ Parent ]

Food Chemistry (none / 0) (#62)
by brunson on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 12:35:05 AM EST

Certain foods have flavanoids that are alcohol soluble, and the only way to get them out to mingle with the rest of the flavors is with alcohol. If you don't like wine, use vodka.

[ Parent ]
Or beer (none / 0) (#73)
by rantweasel on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 01:23:44 PM EST

Beer works well too, particularly in chili.

mathias

[ Parent ]

Not if you use the right kind... (none / 0) (#65)
by tankgirl on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 03:10:29 AM EST

...and the right amount.

I toss in one part wine to ten parts stock when I'm cooking it at the point where the vegetables get added, and then simmer it for another hour plus.

The other comment about food chemistry is right, but I disagree with Vodka as a substitute. It has a hard kick to it that I just don't go for. It's fine with some recipes, but doesn't do well with poultry IMHO.

Happy Thanksgiving,
jeri.

[ Parent ]

-1, too Us centric, too communist (2.50 / 2) (#33)
by ganglian on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 12:11:44 PM EST

Stuffing is part of the holiday and this is what you get for shutting down my other accounts.
You heard me.
A tip for easy stuffing removal (3.66 / 3) (#36)
by Alannon on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 01:14:47 PM EST

Get some cheese cloth and wrap the stuffing inside of that before you put it into the bird. Everything will cook the same, but you won't need to get your arm elbow (or shoulder, even) deep into a freshly cooked turkey to get it out.

Godless Heathen! (3.66 / 3) (#37)
by der on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 02:24:13 PM EST

  • Thanksgiving isn't this close to Christmas you crazy American. Who the hell would put the two that close together? A crazy person who's bad at planning holidays, that's who.
  • Stuffing is disgusting. Pumpkin pie is where it's at.


Re: Godless Heathen! (1.00 / 1) (#44)
by Sygnus on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 05:19:43 PM EST

* Thanksgiving isn't this close to Christmas you crazy American. Who the hell would put the two that close together? A crazy person who's bad at planning holidays, that's who.

We invented the holiday; therefore, the correct day for Thanksgiving is when we've deemed it to be - not October 12 (which is Columbus Day anyway) or any other date.

[ Parent ]

Sure, but ours is still better in practice. :) n/t (none / 0) (#88)
by der on Sat Nov 30, 2002 at 08:18:50 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Why I'm Happy I Married a Canadian (none / 0) (#51)
by MichaelCrawford on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 07:43:07 PM EST

I, an American, married a Canadian woman named Bonita, from Newfoundland.

We have two thanksgivings.

I'd write more, but the little plastic temperature indicator just popped on our turkey, and I'm hungry!

I made pumpkin pie today. Fortunately the pack of frozen pie shells I bought yesterday had more than one shell, because I had extra filling. So we have two pumpkin pies, quite accidentally.


--

Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy


[ Parent ]

It's simple (none / 0) (#81)
by fluxrad on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 03:27:10 PM EST

On the last thursday in November, we give thanks that the natives of this land spared our ancestors by bringing them food to feast on during the long and hard winter.

Then approximately one month later, we kill them for being godless heathens that don't believe Jesus was the son of God.

--
"It is seldom liberty of any kind that is lost all at once."
-David Hume
[ Parent ]
Date (none / 0) (#83)
by rusty on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 04:42:43 PM EST

Technically Thanksgiving is the fourth Thursday in November, not the last. There s occasionally a difference, which confuses the hell out of everyone.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
arghhh (none / 0) (#98)
by fluxrad on Wed Dec 04, 2002 at 02:50:15 PM EST

stop it rusty, you're being "that guy."

--
"It is seldom liberty of any kind that is lost all at once."
-David Hume
[ Parent ]
Sausage?! O.o (3.66 / 3) (#38)
by fluffy grue on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 02:31:16 PM EST

Who the hell puts sausage into their stuffing? I mean, aside from rusty...
--
"Is a sentence fragment" is a sentence fragment.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]

Stuffing is. (none / 0) (#41)
by /dev/trash on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 02:55:35 PM EST

Bread ( broken up the nite before).
Celery.
Onions.
Butter ( not Oleo etc).
Stuffed into the turkey and cooked along with the bird.

---
Updated 02/20/2004
New Site
[ Parent ]
Exactly (none / 0) (#43)
by fluffy grue on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 04:33:51 PM EST

Adding various herbs, spices, fruit essences, etc. would be good. Walnuts or pecans are acceptable. But sausage?!
--
"Is a sentence fragment" is a sentence fragment.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

sausage... (none / 0) (#49)
by /dev/trash on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 06:36:56 PM EST

I've had stuffing with sausage, it's not bad but the one true stuffing is cooked ina  bird, and when you are already eating turkey or chicken, another meat is well, an intrusion.

---
Updated 02/20/2004
New Site
[ Parent ]
Yes, exactly (nt) (none / 0) (#50)
by fluffy grue on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 07:41:56 PM EST



[ Parent ]
I do (none / 0) (#42)
by dipierro on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 03:21:43 PM EST

Here's something pretty close to the recipe we use, too.

[ Parent ]
I did this year (none / 0) (#60)
by Hobbes on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 12:11:04 AM EST

Of course, we didn't cook it inside the dead bird carcass. I honestly didn't really notice it that much. Just a little extra savory flavor sorta thing.

I am a pretty big stuffing fan, but I'm not much of a stuffing purist. I usually prefer stuffing cooked outside the bird, as long as it didn't dry out and get all nasty. The stuffing this year came out quite tasty, if I do say so myself.

Growr.

++++++
As bad as I am, I'm proud of the fact that I'm worse than I seem.
[ Parent ]

THIS (4.40 / 10) (#39)
by Run4YourLives on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 02:35:21 PM EST

is a perfect example of why the Author's names should be hidden from voters while the article is in the quene. No offence to Rusty, our fearless Lord and Master, since it is well written as usual, but if I had submitted the exact same article, it would have never made it to section, let alone front page, and let alone in record time. I'm grateful for Rusty for coding K5, but everytime the K5 faithful smell his shit and think it doesn't stink, it undermines the whole idea that he's worked hard on. The next time any of you think about what's wrong with democracy, or why voting is a popularity contest, and never about issues... think about what happens here, and you'll have your answer. end of rant here... you brainless minions can mod me down now...

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
I've never made stuffing before... (3.00 / 1) (#46)
by SlickMickTrick on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 06:16:02 PM EST

and this article has convinced me to give it a go. In fact, it sounds like fun.

I consider the article worthy of sectioning. Perhaps there is merit in saying that rusty's name put it on the front page, but it is of interest to many.

It's also generated more commentary than some other front page articles. Makes it a success on a discussion based website in my books.

[ Parent ]

Why? (4.00 / 2) (#47)
by izogi on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 06:27:25 PM EST

but if I had submitted the exact same article, it would have never made it to section

Why? Is this because you thought it was bad that everyone else should, too??

I was surprised that it reached the front page (it looks like it only just did), but there's nothing bad about it that I can see. It's in the culture/food section which is where it should be, it's interesting, it's entertaining, and it's generated a lot of conversation. I'd honestly have voted this to section no matter who wrote it.


- izogi


[ Parent ]
Yeah, but... (3.50 / 2) (#54)
by rusty on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 09:34:23 PM EST

I've gotten used to it. FWIW, I'd have voted +1 section, myself.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Perhaps (3.50 / 2) (#55)
by nevertheless on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 09:39:09 PM EST

But at least this article, unlike most of the others, is without loathing, hatred, or angst.

--
This whole "being at work" thing just isn't doing it for me. -- Phil the Canuck


[ Parent ]
What! (none / 0) (#56)
by rusty on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 09:43:01 PM EST

You obviously didn't see the bit about my oven. God how I hate and loathe that piece of crap. It gives me angst just thinking about it! ;-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Not to mention ... (none / 0) (#80)
by DrJohnEvans on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 03:16:42 PM EST

... the blatantly anti-chicken part about hacking up the meat for the stuffing. Somebody should write a pro-chicken stuffing rebuttal.

[ Parent ]
word (3.00 / 2) (#71)
by tps12 on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 11:59:12 AM EST

Seriously, I'm taking it like a man, and I support any and all Food stories on the front page, so props to rusty.

[ Parent ]
When I read the headline (3.00 / 2) (#48)
by Tachys on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 06:34:58 PM EST

I keep reading it as

An unhealthy obsession with suffering

Any game that gets banned by the Austrailian govt can't be all bad... - Armaphine

Down with fascist stuffing protocols! (4.50 / 2) (#58)
by HypoLuxa on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 10:24:50 PM EST

To do stuffing, you need bread-like mass, liquid to bind it, and other stuff. This other stuff can be whatever you want. The liquid does not have to be chicken stock. I refuse to make stuffing the way THE MAN wants me to.

I made stuffing today which was seasoned white bread croutons, fresh cornbread (everyone says leave it out a day, but fresh cornbread will keep the stuffing less dense) an apple, half of a small onion, walnuts, nutmeg, four well beaten eggs all bound up with water and apple juice. You can put a lot of different kind of stuff in your stuffing. Get creative. Also, you can't stuff a turkey if you plan on setting it on fire or this deep frying crap that is all the rage.

PS - Everyone who lives south of New England knows that rusty's cornbread recipe is bullshit. It's called cornbread, not vaguely corn flavored regular bread. Up with cornmeal, down with flour!

--
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
- Leonard Cohen

Ewww... (none / 0) (#59)
by brunson on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 11:45:07 PM EST

Cooking the stuffing inside the bird leads to increased cooking time, i.e. dry turkey, and a greatly increased risk of salmonella.

[ Parent ]
Only if you are a rank amateur (5.00 / 1) (#69)
by HypoLuxa on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 09:02:11 AM EST

First off, this while "stuffing gives you salmonella" meme only surfaced a few years ago in local news programs who love to warn people that their homes may kill them at any moment. While there is a risk if you eat undercooked poultry or poultry stuffing, it's minor and can be ignored.

Also, there are about a million ways to defeat dry turkey or poison stuffing. You can brine your turkey the day before, you can cook your turkey upside down and flip it to keep the breast more tender, you can pop your stuffing in the oven when you take the turkey to cool until you serve dinner. There are lots of ways to get flavor and not die at the same time.

--
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
- Leonard Cohen
[ Parent ]

You have clearly gone totally barking (3.00 / 4) (#66)
by S1ack3rThanThou on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 03:13:40 AM EST

As have all the K5 voters for putting an essay on stuffing as a front page story.

"Remember what the dormouse said, feed your head..."
K5 is like... (none / 0) (#75)
by rusty on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 01:56:08 PM EST

...reaching your arm deep into a plastic bag you found lying in the park. You never know what you're going to get.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
However (none / 0) (#77)
by cooldev on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 02:22:08 PM EST

If that park is a place where people frequently walk their dogs then you have a pretty good idea what you're going to get...

(Oops, did I just discribe /.?)



[ Parent ]
What possessed you to write about stuffing? (none / 0) (#79)
by S1ack3rThanThou on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 03:11:05 PM EST

Or is the pressure becoming too much!?

Seems odd, I mean in your diary, I figured fair enough, and as a story submission for anyone else I guess it would just have bombed. You being you though.... it was almost destined to become fp.

And now we have a following of stuffing fetishists.

How odd.

"Remember what the dormouse said, feed your head..."
[ Parent ]

Just wrote the diary (none / 0) (#84)
by rusty on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 04:44:33 PM EST

because I was making stuffing. After posting, I realized I really had spent an awfully long time on it for a diary, and it was about 90% of the way to being a workable treatise on how to make good stuffing. Someone suggested I submit it, and I figured what the hell, it is Thanksgiving. And we have a food topic.

In short, no good reason. :-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

So (2.00 / 1) (#67)
by kjb on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 03:44:57 AM EST

How'd it turn out?

--
Now watch this drive.

It was good (4.00 / 1) (#76)
by rusty on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 02:09:30 PM EST

First, I should probably admit that while I have made stuffing many times, I've never made this particular stuffing before. :-)

Observations:

Overall, it's excellent stuffing. Much sweeter than bread stuffing, due to the sweetness of the cornbread. The cornbread also absorbs liquid unevenly, which made for a stuffing that is in turns moist and crunchy, which I really like. Cornbread also makes it a lot heartier than bread stuffing, and it kept its fluffiness even after cooking.

Lessons learned, things to try:

  • Try the other cornbread recipes in the comments here.
  • The sweet italian sausage gets a little lost in the sweetness of the cornbread. I think actually a spicier sausage would have worked better here. Possibly a portugese chourizo, or something. Sweet italisn sausage is damn good in a plain-bread stuffing.
  • I forgot to add butter. D'oh. Probably didn't make much difference.
  • Use more fresh chopped garlic. Also, more apples. We used about half an apple. It could have taken a whole one, chopped in bigger chunks.
Now the apple pie we made for dessert? Dear God, that was good. Maybe I should post "How to make a proper apple pie." :-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
It all makes sense now... (2.00 / 3) (#68)
by ecopoesis on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 08:47:35 AM EST

Rusty and Alton Brown are the same person! Finally my world makes sense!

--
"Yachting isn't just for the wealthy. :-)" - rusty

Fruit stuffing (4.50 / 2) (#70)
by zygo on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 11:19:12 AM EST

For all the fruit lovers, here's a small recipe to stuff your turkey with fruit.

What you need:

0. For the turkey:
1) one big lemon
2) paprika, black pepper in powder, olive oil, salt

1. For the stuffing
1) 1/2 pint whiskey
2) Dry raisins, dry prunes, dry apricots
3) celeri, onions
4) almonds, some apples
5) an egg or two

Instructions:
* the night before put 1.1 and 1.2 together and let rest in the fridge for the night.
* early in the morning: massage the turkey with the lemon (0.1), let rest for an hour.
* put 0.2 together and massage the turkey with it. Let rest for 30 minutes or more.
And yes, you have to massage, that's the secret..
* fry 1.3 in a pan. add the mix you put in the fridge the night before, the diced apples, the almonds and the egg(s). Here you have the stuffing!
You have to take the remaining whisky away, just put the fruits in the stuffing.
* stuff! stuff! stuff! Warning: the stuffing doesn't seem so delicious. But the magic of cooking will do it.
* cook the turkey in the oven, you surely know better than me how to do that.

You can beta-test this recipe with chicken or duck too. Smaller birds are not very suited for that.

Raw or Cooked Eggs? [n/t] (none / 0) (#96)
by dani14 on Mon Dec 02, 2002 at 07:35:08 PM EST


"The samaritans parable obviously missed the bit where jizzbug ... kicked the crap out of the guy "just to see if he could do it, you know, to test if the law was perfect and all"." -- Craevenwulfe
[
Parent ]
oyster stuffing (3.00 / 3) (#72)
by tps12 on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 12:03:14 PM EST

Oyster stuffing is really good. Just add two or three dozen fresh oysters. You would be wise to find someone(s) to help with the shucking, but it's worth it (easy for me to say, as that was my brother's territory this year). This is a more "authentic" stuffing, as stuffing was originally just a bunch of seafood and veggies. Keep the bread, though, that's a good innovation.

In this, as in all else,—
Y'r obd't s'v't.
tps12.—
IN SOVIET RUSSIA (1.60 / 5) (#74)
by Psycho Les on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 01:33:28 PM EST

rusty gets stuffed by a turkey

Review in brief (4.33 / 6) (#78)
by DrJohnEvans on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 03:05:29 PM EST

Editor's note: This appears by special request. The original is available for perusal, although I wouldn't bother.
Homemade chicken stock is dead
Well, let's hope so.
Collect up leftover bits from other chicken meals.
Remember, those beaks make lovely wind chimes.
Hack up your pile of chicken scraps into reasonable-sized chunks. ... If you have a big cleaver, this part is fun. Re-enact scenes from your favorite slasher movie!
Evil Dead II. Gotta get me a chainsaw for this step.
Throw them all in a pot large enough to comfortably hold them.
I've never had a pot complain to me of discomfort, so how can I tell?
Also, get a decent sized bowl and put it as near to the pot as you can.
This would technically be in the pot.
As the pot comes up to a boil, you'll start to see stuff floating to the surface of your water.
His italicization makes it look like a title of a periodical. Which it conveniently is. Frightening thought.
Basically anything that doesn't look like water is your enemy.
This is my general philosophy in life.
Don't cut your thumb off while doing this.
Now you tell me.
The next day, when it's cooled down thoroughly, your container will have a layer of congealed fat that's floated to the top and solidified. Scoop this right off.
Theories as to the origins of the name of the engine that's running this site come to mind.
Stuffing is a "whatever you've got lying around" type of food.
Coffee, chocolate, Cheerios, macaroni and cheese, and grapefruit juice. Mmm! Student StuffingTM!

At least it's not healthy (none / 0) (#99)
by epepke on Wed Dec 04, 2002 at 05:43:05 PM EST

Homemade chicken stock is dead
Well, let's hope so.

At least it's not A Healthy FoodTM

Can't think of too many of those other than raw oysters.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
I've been reading about Turduckens. (3.00 / 2) (#85)
by Inoshiro on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 06:20:40 PM EST

Turduckens are interesting, just be prepared to feed a lot of people.



--
[ イノシロ ]
that's disgusting! (2.00 / 1) (#86)
by SideShow Ralph Wiggum on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 08:54:21 PM EST

Oh wait, that says "An Unhealthy Obsession with Stuffing"...i thought that said "An Unhealthy Obsession with Snuff Films". My bad.

SideShow Ralph Wiggum
This year buy her English Muffins...Whatever you say Mr. Billboard -- H. Simpson

Old family recipe (3.00 / 1) (#87)
by X-Nc on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 10:10:54 PM EST

The stuffing recipe that I have been eating (very large amounts of, I might add) for all my life is one that has been in the family for a long time. It's Italian with very few ingredient. The main one is pepperoni. I tell you, everyone who's tried this has loved it. My mom has had to make two large pots of it in order to make sure there's enough to go around. I need to get the recipe soon so I can make it.

--
Aaahhhh!!!! My K5 subscription expired. Now I can't spell anymore.
MMmm, tasty.... (4.00 / 1) (#89)
by Fett on Mon Dec 02, 2002 at 02:12:05 AM EST

Well, I like your idea(s) a lot. I've been cook in the food service industry for about 4-5 years now, and I've seen and tasted a lot of good stuffings. Personally, I hate the fruit angle, stuffing is to me, a food item that is total carbs plus seasonings. Your stock is great, has the general idea and feel where you can tweak it to what YOU want very easily. My mother makes a good stuffing (of course!!), but she adds bacon to the mix (not fucking Baco-s) but real _slab_ bacon cooked to perfection. That really gives a good, meaty flavor to the stuffing and makes it very succulent (Do I get pts for using the word succelent here?!?! ;)). Anyways, the main pt of ANY and ALL food is that it tastes good to you, anything else is just gravy......, and yah that IS another topic entirely. ;)

Fett

Got food q's? Hate the way your college/poor/slapdash food tastes? Give me a email/PM/whatever. I've seen alot and made more food than most people have and I am happy to dispense decent food knowledge.


"He's no good to me dead."
Apples, and turkey soup (5.00 / 1) (#90)
by rusty on Mon Dec 02, 2002 at 04:00:30 AM EST

Ok, I was skeptical about the apple thing too. My wife puts apple bits in her chicken salad, and I always thought it was revolting. But one day, forgetting that she would have put apples in it (I mistook the green chunks for celery) I tried some of her chicken salad, and it was shockingly good. Which makes me think that maybe I was all wrong about apples. In the case of this stuffing, they're also basically serving the role of celery. They give it some crunch, and a sort of tang of contrasting flavor that you also get with celery.

Bacon sounds like a good idea, though. Gotta try that next time. And hey, to make the cornbread right, I'll apparently be needing bacon fat anyway. How convenient. :-)

The turkey went to its final resting place today, which of course is turkey soup. Special bonus post-thanksgiving turkey-barley soup recipe:

  • Make stock as described above with the turkey carcass
  • After chilling and degreasing, bring it back up to a boil and add one big potato (cubed smallish), a couple of sliced carrots, a couple stalks of sliced celery, a third of a cup of medium pearl barley, one chopped onion, a bay leaf, some thyme and marjoram if you have it, and some ground black pepper.
  • Simmer till the barley is soft (not too soft, just al dente)
  • Add two cups or so of cubed turkey meat (preferably white meat, but whatever you've got. No skin or gristle!) simmer a bit more.
Damn, that's a fine soup. :-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Yes, stuffing is tasty, but... (4.00 / 1) (#91)
by the original jht on Mon Dec 02, 2002 at 10:29:28 AM EST

Stuffing is yummy.  And Rusty's recipe looks good, too.  But I disagree with him, and agree with Alton on this issue:  Stuffing should never be cooked in the bird.  It just makes the bird cook longer (thus increasing the likelihood that it'll be dry), and it's a potential font of bacteria.  For best (and safest) results, cook the stuffing outside the bird, and combine on the plate.  It's not "traditional", but it lowers risk a lot for we turkey amateurs.

What to do with that big old bird cavity?  Well, if you use Alton's recipe (http://www.foodtv.com/holidays/thanksgivingturkeywalk/0,6849,,00.html), then you can put some aromatics in the cavity (without over-filling it, otherwise you have the same increased mass=longer cooking time problem).

I made his brined bird recipe this year - my mom made the stuffing as a side dish - everyone loved the turkey and the stuffing was a hit, too.
 
- -Josh Turiel
"Someday we'll all look back at this and laugh..."

Try a bag (none / 0) (#93)
by farmgeek on Mon Dec 02, 2002 at 01:23:55 PM EST

Try cooking your turkey in a bag.  Makes the absolutely tenderest turkey I've ever had and you don't have to futz around with basting.

This year I didn't even have to cut the bird, I just waved a fork in its general direction and the meat just fell off the bones.

[ Parent ]

Brining's actually pretty easy (none / 0) (#94)
by the original jht on Mon Dec 02, 2002 at 02:42:56 PM EST

The bag idea sounds good, too.  To brine it, you can make the brine a day or two beforehand and refrigerate it - put the bird in a big paint-style bucket with the brine and ice water early in the morning, flip it over after 3-4 hours, let it soak for another 3-4 hours, then cook according to the instructions in the link I posted above.  It was a lot easier than I was expecting it to be, and the turkey came out really well.  the dark meat pretty much collapsed, and the white meat was easy to carve and very juicy.  Yum.

I've never liked the general principle of basting - it seems to me that it just lets the heat out of the oven.  My mom has a trick that she uses to pretty good effect, though.  She fills a food syringe with orange juice and, instead of traditional basting, injects the juice into the breast a few times during cooking.  It adds a nice flavor.

- -Josh Turiel
"Someday we'll all look back at this and laugh..."

[ Parent ]

A day or two before hand? (none / 0) (#97)
by farmgeek on Tue Dec 03, 2002 at 09:14:50 AM EST

Heck, I can bareley remember to defrost the damn thing...

but then again, considering I usually have to soak it in water to get it defrosted in time, soaking it in brine would probably be just as easy.

Hmmm, maybe I'll try brine in a bag for Christmas.

[ Parent ]

It has to be 140 degrees Farenheit. (none / 0) (#95)
by dani14 on Mon Dec 02, 2002 at 07:18:43 PM EST

Don't ask me why, but I was watching Martha Stewart the other day, and she was making stuffing. She said that so long as you get it to 140 degrees Farenheit, it won't be a bacterial sponge.

OK, I couldn't find any proof of that, but I swear she said it! She also said you should hit 170 degrees in the breast or 180 in the thigh. That's on this link, which looks pretty damned good!

--


"The samaritans parable obviously missed the bit where jizzbug ... kicked the crap out of the guy "just to see if he could do it, you know, to test if the law was perfect and all"." -- Craevenwulfe
[
Parent ]
Wheat berry stuffing (5.00 / 1) (#92)
by epepke on Mon Dec 02, 2002 at 11:13:00 AM EST

I have tried many kinds of stuffing, but the one that I've found that consistently works the best in a turkey, passed down from father to son for at least one generation, is Wheat Berry stuffing. One of the reasons that I say it is the best is that it not only tastes good by itself, but it improves the flavor and moisture content of the turkey and is in turn improved by being inside a turkey.

The recipe originated from the Save Your Life High-Fiber Cookbook, which, alas, seems to be out of print. It has, however, mutated over the years. I have made many variants on it including fat-free, salt-free, and vegan, and they're all good. I shall attempt to describe it well enough so that any reasonably experienced cook can make it.

The core of the recipe is wheat berries. These are just the grains of wheat before they are ground into flour. You can buy them in any yuppie granola-head store. They generally come in two varieties: hard and soft. The hard ones work better for this recipe. They cook very much like rice does but are more forgiving of over- and under-cooking; the twice-cooking of putting already cooked stuffing in a turkey hurts them not a bit.

Start by sauteeing some chopped garlic and three medium chopped onions. Vidalia onions work especially well. Four cloves of chopped garlic is the standard, but I usually use at least eight. Sautee in extra virgin olive oil or, for a fat-free recipe, a bit of broth.

Then add a half pound of quartered or sliced mushrooms and cook until they start to give up their liquid. Crimini mushrooms work very well; so do oyster mushrooms. Button mushrooms work fine. Add a couple of chopped carrots if desired.

Add three cups of hard wheat berries, four peeled tomatoes, and four cups of broth. Beef broth works the best, though chicken or vegetable broth also gives decent results. Simmer covered for about 45 minutes.

Add 3 bay leaves, some oregano (1 to 2 teaspoons), and some cumin. I add a lot of cumin, usually a couple of tablespoons, freshly ground. Also add two bell peppers (capsicums, for those in the U.K.), chopped, sans seeds.

You may need to add liquid or even wheat berries as needed while cooking. Unlike cooking with rice; it's OK to do this. After about a half an hour more, the stuffing should be edible but chewy. Add the juice of one lemon and salt and pepper to taste. The stuffing should be gloppy with some liquid running out of a spoonful. Refrigerate.

When cold, put in the bird. The juices from the stuffing suffuse the turkey nicely, and the juices from the turkey flavor and enrich the stuffing. Any extra can be put in a casserole dish.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


An unhealthy obsession with stuffing | 99 comments (79 topical, 20 editorial, 0 hidden)
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