I am happy to talk about stuffing today because it is my favorite dish for Thanksgiving. I know many others proclaim Turkey to be king of the holiday and it probably is, but I loved stuffing my whole life and I would eat mounds of it that special Thursday and deep into the weekend. The side dish can be prepared many ways and I want to look into a few ways it can be served.
Now, some may call me crazy, but my favorite stuffing brand is Stove Top. From past conversations I’ve had, either you love it or hate it. I think Stove Top has a certain blend of spices that I can’t get enough of.
Of course I don’t eat it plain out of the box. I add extra ingredients to the mix; some that are mentioned on the website and some that I learned from my mother. My usual mix that I add to the stuffing is chopped apples, celery, and sliced breakfast sausage. If I’m feeling adventurous, I’ll add a handful of Craisins to the mix. Craisins is basically dried out cranberries and look like red raisins. Really, I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.
For those who don’t like Stove Top (perish the thought), either they make stuffing with bread at home, or they buy the bagged stuffing with the bread cubes inside. I’ve had this before and it’s definitely good, but I just prefer the boxed kind. It’s probably because I grew up eating it. I’m sure if my mother only made bagged stuffing, I would go crazy for that kind. My wife made stuffing with just bread, chicken broth, and bullion cubes and it wasn’t bad either. I can mess with something different occasionally. I found a stuffing recipe for the bagged kind and I’ll give it a shot sometime soon.
Also, while writing this blog post, I found out that stuffing only has that name when it is cooked inside the turkey. If it is made outside the turkey, then it’s called dressing. I have no idea why and I can only speculate that it was just called that by people who lived in the Wild West. You know, the strange folk who used to have shooting duels and rode around in that hot-ass sun.
Although I used to eat stuffing because my mom used to put it in the bird, I feel safer making it outside the turkey. Alton Brown, the host of Good Eats says it’s bad to cook it in the turkey because to get rid of possible salmonella, the bird has to cook longer and possibly dry out. Since Alton gave me the idea to brine turkey and it always comes out wonderful, I will take his word (and my endorsement check). However, you could always precook the stuffing and then stuff the turkey. Either way is probably fine.
One last thing; Swanson had a promotion in 2010 called The Great Stuffing Debate. It was basically sharing how you make your stuffing (or dressing), and there was a prize of $500. I don’t know how I did not hear about it, but I’m kicking myself for missing it. I went to the website but at the time of this writing (October 2011), Swanson already took it down. It’s possible that they may do it again so be on the lookout for it. If anything, you could get some awesome recipes out of it. Do you have custom stuffing ingredients? Leave a comment below.
See you tomorrow and eat up!