Sourdough Stuffing with Kale, Dates and Sausage

11/29/2014

sausage.stuffing

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Gary and I hosted Thanksgiving this year for our fabulous Florida friends who had family elsewhere. Around the table, our families live in Iowa and Illinois of course, Canada, Utah, Virginia, Maine, and Tennessee. Although we didn’t have my grandma’s butterhorn rolls or Iowa sweet corn, we had an insanely delicious potluck full of oyster stuffing and delicata squash and two turkeys (one baked and one fried), and we toasted to friendship, and our families afar.

Because we hosted, we got out of cooking the turkey; all I was tasked with was making a stuffing and setting the table for fifteen. I found this recipe on the NYTimes; they had an article last week and gave a dish to make from each state. This one hails from California, supposedly. I used our Italian boar instead of turkey sausage, and it was delicious! It’s a little time consuming to make, so I am glad I didn’t have to juggle making many dishes simultaneously like so many other Thanksgiving hosts do. However, I think it can be made ahead of time and baked right before the meal, or warmed up afterward.

Ingredients:

1 lb loaf of sourdough bread
10 T olive oil
1 lb Italian sausage
1 onion, chopped
1/2 sprig rosemary
2 t Herbs of Provence
1 jalapeno (or 1/2 t dried red peppers)
S&P
1 lb kale
2 oz dates (or about 8, pitted and chopped)
1 c dry sherry (or cooking wine)
2 c chicken stock
2 T butter
3/4 c almonds, chopped

Instructions (I’m using these verbatim from the NYTimes):

First, heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the crust off the bread and tear remaining loaf into 1-inch croutons. Place torn bread on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 4 tablespoons olive oil, squeezing and tossing bread with your hands to help it absorb the oil. Transfer to oven and toast, tossing once or twice, until croutons are golden brown and crispy on the outside but still a little soft and tender inside, 12 to 15 minutes. When croutons have cooled, place them in a large bowl. Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and crumble sausage into pan. Sauté, breaking up sausage with a wooden spoon, until browned and just cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer sausage to the bowl with the croutons using a slotted spoon.

Return the pot to medium heat and add 2 more tablespoons olive oil, the onions, the rosemary sprig, the thyme and the chile. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Continue cooking another 3 to 4 minutes, stirring often, until onion is soft and starting to color slightly. Add half the kale and the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pan. Use tongs to turn the greens to coat them in oil and help them wilt and cook down. When there is room in the pan (from the greens wilting), add the rest of the kale and season with another 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. As soon as all the kale has wilted, transfer mixture to the bowl with the croutons and sausage. Remove rosemary. Add dates and stir well to combine. Return pot to stove over high heat and carefully pour in sherry. Boil until sherry is reduced by three-quarters, then add stock. Boil until mixture is reduced by half, then swirl in butter until melted. Pour hot liquid over crouton-kale mixture. Add almonds and toss well to combine; using tongs or your hands, squeeze and massage the stuffing to integrate the flavors and make sure bread has really soaked in all the liquid.

(At this point, I let mine sit for an hour or so before I baked it to make sure it was warm when we ate. I think it would be okay, too, if it was kept in the fridge overnight and baked the next morning, but I’m just speculating. Didn’t try it.) To bake, cover your Dutch oven and bake 20 minutes in the 400-degree oven. Uncover and bake 10 to 15 more minutes, or until top is golden and crisp. When eating, give love and thanks to loved ones both near and far.

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