November 26, 2013

Ezekial Bread Stuffing Cups

Every year at Thanksgiving, far-flung from the little Massachusetts town where I grew up, I think of my dad's momentous stuffing, brimming from both ends of the turkey, so moist you can slice it like meatloaf. I'm pretty sure it takes two days to make, and that no stuffing on earth has ever been so breathtakingly good.

Still, for the first time this year I've tried my hand at stuffing, and I've learned a couple of good lessons along the way. First, I learned that good stuffing is really, really easy to make and no one should be intimidated by all those Braque-esque cubes of bread and lamb-soft sage leaves that, don't worry, nobody buys on a regular basis. (Except maybe my dad. Actually, I think he grows the stuff. He's that kind of guy.)

Second, I learned that traditions are a lot like family itself: part remembrance, part reinvention. These stuffing cups borrow the best of my dad's tricks, like baking the chunks of bread slow and low for the ultimate "stale" loaf, and pulsing some of the bread into crumbs for a denser, moister stuffing. But they're also a style all my own, made from sprouted whole grain bread for a nutty and healthful stuffing, and baked into fun, freezable muffin form.

Note: the stuffing works just as well in a bird or a pan, like this...

I hope you enjoy the recipe, and that you have a beautiful Thanksgiving filled with nourishing food, gratitude, and the people you love most. Cheers!

Ezekial Bread Stuffing Cups
Time: 2 hours
Makes: 18-24 cups

1 loaf Ezekial sprouted grain bread
1 large sweet onion, diced
5 stalks celery, diced
3/4 cup butter (1.5 sticks)
1 packed Tbls. fresh thyme leaves, minced
1 packed Tbls. fresh sage leaves, minced
1/4 packed cup fresh parsley, minced
2 eggs
2 cups chicken or turkey stock (homemade if possible)
1 tsp. fine grained sea salt (less if using store-bought broth)

Arrange sliced bread on two cookie trays and bake at 250 degrees 45 minutes, or until bread is completely dry and crisp. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Chop half the bread roughly into cubes, and pulse the rest in a food processor into medium-fine crumbs.

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat and saute onions and celery, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about ten minutes.

Remove pot from heat and stir in parsley, thyme, and sage. Fold all the bread crumbs and bits into the vegetables.

While the bread mixture is cooling and in a separate bowl, whisk together eggs with broth and salt. Carefully pour the liquid into the bread and combine well.

Spoon into lined muffin tin and bake at 350 for 20 minutes, or until stuffing cups are nicely browned, but still moist inside. Alternately, you can spoon the whole mixture into a large baking dish, and bake 25 minutes covered, then 15 minutes uncovered. Alternately, you can stuff it in a turkey.

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