Saturday, October 28, 2006

Sausage Stuffing: Making Chicken Edible

I am not a fan of Roast Chicken. Its chicken and, even if cooked perfectly, tastes like chicken. I may as well have alligator, ostrich, or something more exotic that also tastes like chicken. But, chicken is easier to get, and its hard to keep the ostrich in the refrigirator. Good stuffing saves chicken. Its tasty, acts as a side dish, and, if you don't love chicken, you can make a lot and eat the stuffing as the main dish and the chicken as the side.

The easiest stuffing to make is sausage based. A decent sausage has most of the spices you need, a certain amount of oil, and of course, sausage, which is good, if not good for you. This recipe has few ingredients, few requirements, and is almost impossible to screw up. Its also easy to expand exponentially, in case you want to stuff a turkey. Or even an ostrich.


6 hot sausages (you can use sweet, or a mix or the two, but most Italian hot sausage is just not that hot)
One medium onion, diced
one to two cups of chicken stock
teaspoon of either thyme or rosemary
day old bread (or fresh if you can't) that is "country style." I use Eli's Country Round, about one pound, but have even used challah in a pinch. Its all good.
Olive oil


Large skillet or braiser with deep sides to hold onions, sausage, and bread
Loaf pan or small roasting pan to cook stuffing that wasn't stuffed.
Good Knife
Bowl to hold sausage after cooking and before adding back to recipe


Chop the onion. Cut each sausage casing lengthwise and squeeze out meat. Remove the crust from the bread and chop bread into cubes about 1/2" in length. Don't worry if you are off a little. Heck, don't worry if you are off a lot...its all good. Heat the skillet and put in a little olive oil to avoid sticking. Add the sausage meat and brown, chopping it with the spatula (it tends to clump) as you do. After it is done remove to bowl and scrape off any stuff thats stuck (add this to bowl if not burned). Add some more oil and then the onions. Cook till soft or lightly brown and then add the sausage back. Add the bread and mix all around. The bread should get lightly cooked and covered in sausage grease and olive oil as you do this. Add about 1/2 cup of chicken stock and rosemary or theyme and mix and scrape the bottom of the pan to get all the drippings. The stuffing is now ready to stuff or cook.

TO STUFF CHICKEN: Using a spoon, place stuffing in cavity. I usually fill as tight as possible.
TO COOK REST: Transfer rest of stuffing to loaf pan or small roasting pan (if you have one a loaf pan is better) Add about 1/2" of chicken stock. Cover in aluminum foil. Cook with chicken and it will be ready when chicken is ready.

Thanks to our friend who has moved to Westport for the phrase "its all good."

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