Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Really Simple Allergy Friendly Apple Stuffing

I caved. I know that I said I wasn’t making stuffing this year, but I love it too much to forgo it even though it is a lot of work. Instead of giving up the stuffing, I simplified my recipe a bit and did not make the cornbread this year, making it with only two types of bread that I already had in my freezer.

5 cups of cubed bread*
1 green apple, diced
1 red apple, diced
2 tablespoons of olive oil
8 tablespoons of olive oil or butter
½ cup cooked sausage, diced or crumbled*
1 to 4 cups quality chicken or turkey broth*
Salt and pepper to taste*

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Arrange bread cubes on a large baking sheet. Place bread and oven and bake for 5 minutes. Then turn down the temperature to 200 degrees and prop the oven door open. Dry the bread this way for about 30 minutes or until no longer moist.
  2.  Meanwhile, sauté the apple in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until the apples are slightly soft. Add the sausage and cook until warm. Turn down the heat to low and add the remaining olive oil or butter. Salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Mix the apple mixture and the bread cubes together in a large bowl until the bread cubes are oily.  Add one to two cups of the broth and allow the mixture to rest in the refrigerator for at least one hour. After one hour, add 1/3 cup more broth if the mixture isn’t soft yet. Stir and allow the mixture to rest in the refrigerator for another hour. Continue adding broth 1/3 cup at a time and waiting an hour until the bread cubes are no longer hard. My most recent batch took 2 2/3 cups broth, but each batch will be different based on the kind of bread used and how dry the bread was before adding the liquid.
  4. Once the stuffing has reached the desired moisture level. Oil or butter a baking pan and press the stuffing into the baking pan. If you have an olive oil sprayer, spraying the top of the stuffing will cause it to brown prettily, but if you don’t have a sprayer, it’s okay to skip this step. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes to warm through and brown the top. Alternative, you can press the stuffing into muffin tins to make individual portions and bake for only 20 minutes.  This recipe should serve 8, but let's be honest, it will probably serve 5.

Note about Bread: You can use nearly any type of good quality bread—gluten free, white, whole wheat, or corn. I recommend homemade or deli bread, not the cheap mass-produced stuff. The recipe works best if you use at least two types of bread. I recommend a quick bread like biscuits or soda bread and yeast bread. Cornbread is also good to throw into the mix. I keep chunks of homemade bread in the freezer for recipes such as this one. If you don’t have food allergies, you can also buy toasted bread cubes at many grocery stores.

Note about Sausage: I used my homemade chicken sausage recipe that I have provided in an earlier post. You could use a vegetarian sausage as a replacement or any store-bought sausage if allergies and intolerances are not challenges for you and your guests.

Note about Broth: I cooked an organic chicken the week before. Then I simmered the left over bones, meat, and skin in my slow cooker with a quart of water for 2 days. You could substitute vegetable broth.

Note about Seasonings: This recipe would be even better with freshly chopped sage, oregano, parsley, chives, and the leafy parts of celery. I am not sure of my allergies and tolerances for these seasonings, so I have left them out for now. Feel free to add a tablespoon or any or all of these to enhance the flavor.

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