Apple, Sage and Chestnut Stuffing

This was a hit at our recent Thanksgiving dinner. David and I have made this before, but we wanted to be sure to include it here to remember. We didn’t use packaged stuffing bread mix, but we have in the past. It usually turns out better with half stuffing bread mix and dried bread.

1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 cup thinly sliced celery, about 4 celery stalks
1 1/2 cups chopped onion, about 1 medium onion
4 cups chopped Fuji apples, about 3 apples (we used Braeburn apples)
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
10 cup (1-inch) cubes from assorted whole-grain bread, toasted until dry (we used white bread)
2 cups coarsely chopped cooked shelled chestnuts
2 cups cooked crumbled lean sweet Italian chicken sausage (optional)(We used regular sausage.
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 1/4 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth, heated
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preparation

1. Preheat the oven to 350º. Coat a 9- x 13-inch baking dish with 2 teaspoons olive oil.

2. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add celery and onion; sauté 5 minutes. Add apple, parsley, sage, thyme, and rosemary; sauté 3 minutes.

3. Combine apple mixture, bread, and next 5 ingredients (through egg) in a large bowl. Add hot broth; stir well. (Mixture should be moist but not soaked.) Spoon into prepared baking dish. Dot with butter. Cover with foil.

4. Bake at 350º for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 25 minutes or until top is golden brown. Let stand 15–20 minutes before serving.

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Revised Bobby Flay Spaghetti Sauce (April 18, 2010)

the bobby flay spaghetti sauce i’ve been making for a while has evolved a bit. i felt it would be wise to document it rather than just keep doing it from memory.

Ingredients

* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 large Spanish onion, finely chopped
* 4 cloves garlic, smashed with some kosher salt to make a paste
* 2 (28-ounce) cans plum tomatoes and their juices, pureed in a blender
* 1 (16-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
* 1 small can tomato paste
* 1 bay leaf
* a bunch of chopped basil (i use the little container you can buy at Kroger)
* 1 cup red wine
* 1 small bunch Italian parsley
* 1 healthy sprinkling red pepper flakes
* 1 slightly less generous portion of oregano
* 1 Anaheim chile pepper, chopped
* 3-5 links spicy Italian sausage
* Salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

Chop and saute the sausage before hand, then set aside. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until soft. Add pureed tomatoes with their juices, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 cup wine, bay leaf, parsley, Anaheim pepper, basil, sausage and bring to a boil. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Reduce heat and cook until slightly thickened, about 45 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Eat.

a couple notes: i added the basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, and substituted wine for water in the original recipe. flay talks about meatballs, and you can use those too – i love the turkey meatball recipe we have on this blog. but i often don’t quite have the energy to do the meatball thing, and so the sausage is a bit faster.

the sauce clearly has a spicy zing to it, which i like. i think it’s a little more flavorful than the original, which was solid, but eventually got a touch boring.

a final note – my most recent making of this, and i forgot the sausage, and it wasn’t quite as good as i recalled. i think that it really does add something to the flavor, and so i wouldn’t leave it out in the future.

Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup (December 23, 2010)

carla and i are reunited for the holidays, and that means we’re doing a little cooking in between all the parties and restaurant dining. since the holidays are busy, we wanted something that would last a few days and wouldn’t take too much time and energy to make, as it was already late in the day when we planned.

after vetoing rick bayless’s soups (too much time and energy), i found this recipe for sweet potato and sausage soup on carla’s favorite food blog, smitten kitchen. it seemed quite easy, and she already had many ingredients on hand, so we went for it.

from smitten kitchen
Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup
Bon Appetit, October 2007

Makes 8 servings

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 10- to 11-ounce fully cooked smoked Portuguese linguica sausage or chorizo sausage, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (Spanish chorizo can be substituted)
2 medium onions, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams; about 2 large), peeled, quartered lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 pound white-skinned potatoes, peeled, halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
6 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 9-ounce bag fresh spinach

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add sausage; cook until brown, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Transfer sausage to paper towels to drain. (I poured off some of the oil in the pot at this point, but the original recipe doesn’t think this is needed.) Add onions and garlic to pot and cook until translucent, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add all potatoes and cook until beginning to soften, stirring often, about 12 minutes. Add broth; bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until potatoes are soft, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Using potato masher, mash some of potatoes in pot. Add browned sausage to soup. Stir in spinach and simmer just until wilted, about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper. Divide among bowls and serve.

we followed the recipe fairly closely, using a spanish chorizo – not as spicy as its mexican counterpart, but still distinct in its flavor.

i thought it was pretty excellent. i should’ve really diced the sausage into small pieces – the slices were just a bit too large as we made it, and they stayed rather firm, making them hard to break up with a spoon. but the wonderful flavor of sweet potatoes really came through nicely, and it was pretty painless to prepare. of course, it helps having two people to do all the prep work…i give it an A-.

CARLA: i thought it was very good; agree on the sausage comment above, they needed to be smaller pieces. i don’t know what else, david. oh, probably an A. i’d probably make it again.

Cassoulet Style Chicken and Sausage (September 14, 2008)

3 medium carrots cut into 1/2 in pieces (1 1/2 cup – we used baby carrots)
1 medium onion chopped (1/2 cup)
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1/2 cup dry red wine or water (we used water)
1/3 cup water
1 t garlic powder
1/2 t dried thyme
1/4 t salt
1/8 t ground cloves
2 bay leaves
2 15-oz cans navy beans, rinsed and drained
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 oz fully cooked Polish Sausage cut into 1/4 in sliced.

1. In a 3 1/2 to 4 quart slow cooker combine carrots, onions, tomato paste, wind and the 1/3 cup water, garlic powder, thyme, salt, cloves, and bay leaves. Add beans. Place chicken on bean mixture. Place sausage on chicken.
2. Cover; cook on low-heat 5 to 7 hours or on  high-heat for 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours. Before serving discard bay leaves and skim off fat.

We served this over couscous.

David: I thought it was pretty good. But the spices were off a little bit. I am not sure if the thyme was off a little bit. I would have it again, but I would want to mess with the spices a bit. B
Carla: I like it. I agree with David in that the spices were a bit off, but not enough to make it terrible or uneatable. B