cook: adventures in stuffing part one

thanksgiving might be my favorite holiday — in large part because of stuffing the magical combination of savory spices, sausage and bread.  if i could get away with it, i swear my plate would be filled with just it, i would skip the turkey and the cranberry sauce, the mashed potatoes and maybe even the pumpkin pie for just one more bite of stuffing.

around this time last year, i got it in my head that instead of eating a leftover sandwich on boring old white bread, i wanted to eat it on bread made from stuffing.  yes you heard me.  bread.  from.  stuffing.  how great does that sound and why in gods name has pepperidge farm not created this already?

so this year around halloween, i set about trying to make this dream a reality.  after some blood (yes i cut myself), sweat and tears, i did it. tomorrow i’ll show you how.  today, here is a look at my failed attempts on the road to leftover sandwich glory:

in summary

attempts: 5

band-aids needed: approximately 3 (2 cuts, 1 required 2 band-aids)

pounds of stuffing: approximately 12

hours of my life: 8

hours gained back in satisfaction: 9

homemade stuffing

round one: homemade stuffing

confession: i’ve never actually made an entire thanksgiving dinner and honestly the closest i’ve come to making stuffing was a box of stovetop.  so this was an accomplishment to begin with but i kid you not, this had ZERO flavor.  i blame this on the turkey sausage i used in an attempt to be healthy.  the loaf fell apart into crumbs.  discouraged, i threw it away without snapping a photo and i took a week off from cooking entirely.  wasn’t off to the best start but i powered through.

cranberry sauce

round two — cranberry stuffing bread

i decided that i needed some “glue” and since sugar and eggs are often the best, i decided to test the two.  the first version involved melting down a can of cranberry sauce.   once i had a syrup, i mixed it in with the stuffing (full disclosure: still in shock from round one, i used stovetop for round two and three).  it tasted heavenly going into the oven, came out in a perfect loaf but tasted like cranberry and only cranberry.

cranberry stuffing bread + egg washed stuffing bread

round three —  egg washed stuffing bread

round three was made using an egg wash (one egg mixed with 1/2 c. water or milk).  i got cocky and thought for sure i had solved this since egg washes generally work well as glue.  it came out of the oven in a perfect loaf which sliced beautifully, still tasted like stuffing but it also now tasted a bit like egg. scrambled eggs and stuffing.  close but not quite.  next…

stuffing loaf

round four — stuffing loaf

i convinced myself that bread from stuffing was not actually possible and realized that what i really wanted was a bread that tasted like stuffing but it didn’t have to actually be MADE from stuffing.   so i made white bread dough, rolled it out, brushed it with melted butter and spread cooked onions, celery, mushrooms, sage, thyme and rosemary before rolling it into a loaf.  then i crossed my fingers and threw it in the oven.  as you can see in the picture above, the “stuffing” sank to the bottom(ah gravity!) it sliced well and had good flavor but you would never be able to eat a sandwich on this.  it was more like a stuffing calzone (which would have been great dipped in gravy. just sayin’)

so all in all, not a bad start.  the best part is that when i finally succeeded not only did i make stuffing bread, i discovered the recipe for the best stuffing i’ve ever had.  i’ll share this with you tomorrow.

what is your favorite part of thanksgiving and has anyone else every worked this hard on a side dish?

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