Thanksgiving Bacon and Apple Stuffing

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Hello all! Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, especially because it often overlaps with my birthday! Anyway, I am always excited to start thinking about Thanksgiving foods, like bread stuffing. This stuffing recipe is intended as a side dish all its own, as it uses added liquid and it’s baked separately. However, you could use this to stuff your turkey, omitting the liquid and baking time and simply adding the dry ingredients to your bird instead. Either way, this stuffing is packed full of fall flavors. Use this recipe as a guide – adapt the stuffing for flavors you have or want to include.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of bread
  • 3 – 4 pieces of bacon (optional)
  • 1 small onion (about 1/3 cup, diced)
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 4 oz mushrooms (about 6 button mushrooms)
  • 1/2 tsp each fennel seed and coriander seed
  • 3 dried red chilis (optional)
  • 1 apple
  • 2 tbsp dried cranberries
  • 2 tbsp fresh herbs, a mixture of rosemary, sage, and / or parsley
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup turkey, chicken, or vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • salt to taste

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Add the bacon pieces to a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook the bacon until it is starting to get very crispy. If you are omitting the bacon, use 1 tbsp. olive oil for the following cooking steps that use bacon fat.

Meanwhile, dice the onion and celery. Dice the mushrooms separately. Cut all of these into the size pieces you prefer – I like a large dice, where the vegetables are about 1/2″ square. Remove the bacon when it is crispy, and crumble it into a large mixing bowl. Add the onions and celery to the pan where you were cooking the bacon, and cook in the bacon fat until the onions are starting to get translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove the onions and celery and add them to the mixing bowl.

Add the mushrooms to the pan with the leftover bacon fat, and cook them until they are just beginning to shed their water and wilt – about another five minutes. Then, remove from heat and add the mushrooms to the bowl.

While you wait, cube the bread into about 1/2″ inch cubes (or smaller if you like) and add these to the mixing bowl. Cube the apple and add along with the cranberries, apple cider vinegar, stock, pepper, and 1/2 tsp of salt. Stir to mix.

In a dry skillet, toast the fennel seed, coriander seed, and dry chilis for about 30 seconds over high heat, or until they are fragrant. Remove from heat and grind these in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Turn out into the mixing bowl.

Mix everything together and spread into a 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake uncovered for about 40 minutes, then remove and check that the bread has absorbed a lot of the liquid and is crispy enough to your liking. I like my stuffing a little moist, so I stopped here – if you’d like it drier, bake for an additional 20 minutes. Let cool slightly and serve, or keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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Jalepeños and Serranos in Escabeche

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Escabeche is a Spanish term for pickles or preserves, and it also refers to this tasty pickled condiment. Make this chiles in small batches, and pull them out to dice up as a condiment on tacos, enchiladas, and nachos or an additive to sauces and salsas. 

Ingredients

  • 12 oz serrano and/or jalepeño chiles, left whole
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 white onion, thickly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, scraped and thinly sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 1/2 cup white or rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano leaves 
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar

Instructions

Wash the chiles, leaving the stems intact. Cut a cross in the tip end of each chile so the vinegar can penetrate.

heat the oil in a large, deep skillet, then add the chiles, onions, carrots, and garlic, and fry over medium hat for about 10 minutes, turning them every few minutes.

Add the vinegar, salt, and sugar, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Pack a quart jar with the herbs, then chiles and vegetables and pour the vinegar over top. Seal and keep in the refrigerator for about a month. 

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