Saturday, November 23, 2013

Alternative Stuffing/Dressing

Well, it's getting close to turkey day and while we will be out of town this year and not making a ginormous meal at home, I thought I might share one of the dishes we typically make. We were asked to be a part of our churches youth group early thanksgiving so we had the chance to make a few things early. We elected to make our couscous stuffing/dressing and a pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting. Maybe I'll post something about the cake sometime. For now, however, here's what I did: *Disclaimer first: as I often "disclaim", the hardest part is measurements as I often make dishes by tossing a bit of this and a bit of that. I will try to get close approximations, though.
So, way back when, I was perusing ideas for a stuffing idea that wasn't the cliche typical stuffing of Thanksgiving's gone by, and I came across a recipe using couscous instead of bread. I have since adapted it countless times and rarely make it the same way twice. This is what I did today:

Couscous (I was making a big batch, so I did 4 C broth, 4 C couscous)

Chicken broth, 4 C

Italian sausage, 6 links (I used sweet this time, although I prefer hot)

Toasted pecans, about 1 C

2 whole garlic bulbs

Mushrooms, about 1# sliced

Roasted red peppers, 12oz-15oz jar, julienned (I roast my own often, but did not have time. I will post something about that sometime).

Dried cranberries, about 1 C

Grilled fennel, 1 bulb

Rosemary, thyme, salt, garlic, black pepper. (I always season any stock I'm using, whether for rice, couscous, polenta, etc.)

Cook the Italian sausage and slice (I use scissors and tongs) and set aside. Toast the pecans in a frying pan, set aside. Roast the garlic in the oven with a little olive oil and salt @ about 350° for 20 minutes or so, let cool. Cook mushrooms in a frying pan with a little butter and salt, set aside to cool, then chop slices. Cut fennel bulb into slices and grill with a little olive oil and salt (I used a grill pan on the stove). Let cool and chop.
Heat chicken stock in a pan with rosemary, black pepper, thyme, granulated garlic, and salt. Bring to a boil, add couscous, cover and remove from heat. Let stand for about 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork.
Add all ingredients in a large bowl, along with cranberries and roasted peppers, stir. I typically add another cup or so of chicken stock before I out it in a roasting pan to heat. Cover roasting pan with foil, heat about 300° for 30 minutes or so. Since everything is cooked, you don't want to cook it more or to dry out. That's all folks. It seemed to be a big hit. Also, be creative, maybe add apples or almonds instead of pecans, or sun-dried tomatoes perhaps...Enjoy, experiment!


Roasting garlic

Italian sausage from my bro in MA, the best!


Buon Appetito!