Watershed moment at The Lunch Encounter. A recipe.
Do we need any more recipes? No we do not. That said, I’m feeling strong about posting this one.
Last Thanksgiving I was thinking about the ubiquitous turkey-cranberry sauce-stuffing sandwich and had an aha moment.
Do you like that stuffing in the sandwich? I do not, although the taste is good. What we need here is my brilliant idea – Stuffing Bread! I’m so excited about this that I can’t shut up. Toss a turkey leg into a crowd and you will hit one of my victims. Poor thing had to listen to me gaggle on and on and on about my brilliant idea.
Last year Thanksgiving and the leftover turkey got away from me. Stuffing bread was back-burnered. This year however – woo hoo – we did it. I’m all puffed up like the Tom himself.
Tell you what, stuffing bread is brilliant. I think so anyhow. Here’s how to make it yourself.
Makes 2 9×5-inch loaves
2 cups finely diced celery, about 4 ribs
2 cups finely diced yellow onion, about 1 large
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
(This picture is only enough for one loaf. You will need double of everything for the full recipe.)
Put the butter, onion and celery into a medium sauté pan and set over low heat. Stir to coat the vegetables evenly with butter, then let cook slowly until very soft, about 10 minutes. A little browning is okay, but watch that they don’t get dark.
1 quart unsalted turkey or chicken stock, 1/4 cup set aside
Add the stock to the vegetables, turn the heat to high and bring the stock to a boil. Let boil until the liquid has reduced to what looks like 2 cups. It need not be exact, but it must be 2 cups or less, not more. Remove from heat and pour into a liquid (glass pitcher style) measuring cup. Add cold water to make 2 cups, if needed. Let the mixture cool until it is tepid.
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
1 package active dry yeast (I like Hodgson Mill Fast Rise)
1 teaspoon sugar
Put the reserved 1/4 cup stock into a small bowl, add the yeast and sugar and stir until the yeast is completely wet. Set aside for 5 minutes.
5 cups all-purpose white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
Put 4 cups white flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour, the stock mixture and the yeast mixture into the bowl of the standing mixer. Using the hook attachment, blend until a dough begins to form. Add the remaining cup of flour and let it spin for a minute or so. The dough should be soft and not sticky.
This can all be done by hand, too, of course.
Water, as needed
If it is dry, add more water a couple tablespoons at a time.
1 tablespoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, black or white
As the dough is mixing, add salt and a generous grinding of pepper.
Knead the dough, by machine or by hand on a lightly floured surface, until it is smooth and elastic, adjusting with flour or water if necessary.
Butter a bowl, put the dough in it, cover with a tea towel and set in a warm place to rise for about an hour. It should double in size.
When it is twice its original size, punch the dough down. If you have time, cover it again and let it rise a second time. If not, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and shape it into two loaves, pinching any seams together tightly.
Grease two 9×5-inch loaf pans and set the dough in them, seam side down. Cover with the tea towel and let the dough rise again until it is almost double.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Bake the loaves in the center of the oven for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for about 30 more minutes. The bread should be nicely browned and sound hollow when you tap on the top.
There. Hap hap happy. We dignified that bird.