Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Crockpot Stuffing

ThanksGiving is in the near future and I wanted to get a jump start on it. It goes without saying that thanksgiving in the netherlands is not celebrated. So with that being said there isn't a Stove Top Stuffing box anywhere to be found..I found a sweet potato once and bought it right away. I came home and got ready to cook it. It was white on the inside and had no flavor at all. I think I might have better luck buying them at a vegetable market but I don't get to those very often. I can't find yams or canned pumpkin anywhere. I can go to an american/british food store close to Amsterdam and pay around 8 dollars for a can of the stuff but I don't want to! Last year I paid in american dollars close to 50 for a 23 pound turkey that turned out to be waaaaay past his prime. It was tough and super gamey..never again. So I have learned how to still celebrate thanksgiving but in a new way.

This year there will be no gamey tough turkey. Instead Im going to purchase a fat chicken. I'm going to attempt to make my own pumpkin puree and bake a pie that way..if all else fails I have a back up plan to make pecan pie cookies! I think I may just make the cookies since my husband is totally grossed out by pumpkin pie and to be totally honest Im not a huge fan of it either. However my two sons beg me for it every year since we have moved and it would be a great way to surprise them this year. So this brings me to my stuffing! I've never made it myself and I can't keep asking for someone to take pity on me and send me over some stove top boxes. I found this recipe over at A Year of Slow Cooking and gave it a shot. I love Stephanie's recipes and wasnt let down at all! Wow it was so great,super easy and now I can make it myself whenever we want...does anyone else fall into the odd routine of only making stuffing at thanksgiving and then never again? We really love it and have no clue why I don't make it more.

My only slight issue with this recipe is that the next day it didn't hold up well. The bread was slightly chewier but thats it. This recipe serves about 6-8 people wich is perfect for my family of 4. I left the apples out because Im not a fan of apples in my stuffing. Next time I will add in fresh sliced mushrooms to it and sautee it with the celery in some butter. Also the recipe asks for a loaf of bread. Well that seems normal of course but bread in other countries are different. I actually had to look up how many slices of bread come in a loaf back home! The bread here is larger. I came away with 14 cups of bread cubes.

Crockpot Stuffing..feeds 6-8
1 Loaf of Bread(14or so cups) cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 Large Onion; Diced
1 cup Celery; Diced
1 cup tart Apple; Peeled and Diced(Im replacing with 1-2 cups of mushrooms)
1/4 cup Butter; Melted
1/4 cup Fresh Parsley; Chopped
1-1/2 cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth plus 1/4 cup for later if needed
1 TBL Sage
1 tsp. Marjoram
1/2 tsp. Savory
1/2 tsp. Thyme
(If you have Poultry seasoning,use 1 tablespoon and omit the other spices.**I actually did that and it was great.)
1 tsp. Salt...next time I won't add it..I don't think it needs it.
1 tsp. Pepper

Use a 6 quart crockpot if possible so you have plenty of room to toss everything. If not toss in a very large bowl and place into crockpot. Preheat oven to 300 or 150 celcius. Place bread cubes on cookie sheet and cook until nice and toasty. You might have to do this in shifts incase your oven is like mine and only comes with one rack!

While bread is toasting,chop up your onion,celery,parsley and apple. Add to crockpot. Add seasoning and melted butter; Stir well. Add bread cubes and toss very well until cubes are covered in butter mixture, it takes a few minutes to make sure everything is covered so make sure you do that. Pour in chicken broth,toss again. Cover and cook on High for 2hrs. Stir and add the additional broth if needed. Can keep on warm for another two hours if needed.

Everyone has their own version of how they like their stuffing..some like it more moist than dry so keep that in mind. You may even want to add more broth at the end. I actually didn't need any, it was plenty moist for us! Also to make things even more easier on yourself on Thanksgiving you can start all of this a day ahead. Toast the cubes and keep them in a large resealable plastic bag and chop up all your vegetables.