Friday, December 09, 2011

Chicken with Stuffing

Bread Stuffing 
1 qt. for 4-lb chicken
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup finely minced onion
4 cups coarse or fine crumbs or cubes
1/2 cup chopped celery (stalks and leaves)
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. dried sage, thyme or marjoram
poultry seasoning 

Melt butter in large heavy skillet. Add onion and cook until yellow, stirring occasionally. Stir in some of bread crumbs. Heat, stirring to prevent excessive browning. Turn into deep bowl. Mix in remaining ingredients lightly. For dry stuffing, add little or no liquid. For moist stuffing, mix in  lightly with fork just enough hot water or broth to moisten dry crumbs. Cool and place stuffing in bird when ready to bake. 

Every year my parents would get up early (late for them, early for me) on Thanksgiving to make dinner, filling the house with the most wondrous smells. They aimed for 1:00, but it ended up being more like 2:30. They would have us help, of course. Four sous chefs and table setters, Brad, Jenny, Chloe and Kate. Four nibblers of ingredients too. When Big Brad and Mary got hitched, they were given a copy of the Better Crocker Cookbook published in 1961, and they would use the turkey and stuffing recipe from it.

A few years before she died, my mother found a new one at the Half Price Bookstore that didn't cost extra. I found listings on Amazon that wanted over $100 for an "Very Good" condition. I have the old copy with my mother's notes in the margin as she refined the recipe over the years.

My sister Chloe makes Thanksgiving dinner now at her house about 45 minutes away, which means that I don't usually get leftovers. I decided to try making and stuffing a chicken and then I could keep ALL the leftovers (maniacal laugh)!

Mary's notes say to reduce the salt by at least a fourth to 1/2-3/4 tsp., and use 1 tsp. sage and 1 tsp. poultry seasoning.  I had to use olive oil due to a recently discovered milk allergy, but it still tastes really good. The chicken that I bought had a really small cavity. I could only get 3 cups of stuffing in with using the body cavity and the neck cavity too. Next time I'll just make my own turkey. It's about the same amount of work but then I get more stuffing and breast meat too.

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