Monday, November 22, 2010

The GFCF Recipe Experience: Cornbread Stuffing

I am taking a break from the GFCF Guide this week as we celebrate Thanksgiving in the U.S. - giving thanks for family, friendship, and, of course, food.

This year will be a first for me - I had always gone cheap and purchased the $0.29/lb turkey from Safeway or whichever store has the cheapest price, which has to sit in the fridge for almost a week to completely thaw so it will cook nicely on Thanksgiving. But this year we will be going fresh and getting s Hutterite turkey. What is a Hutterite turkey you ask? Well...the Hutterites are communal religious people who live in small colonies, mostly in the prairies lands of the US and Canada - with a large number of colonies in Montana.

These colonies are self sustaining with most of them relying on agriculture as not only their food supply but also their main source of income. And because of their strict beliefs, all of the food is produced sustainably, with no steroids, pesticides, herbicides, or artificial feed used. It's estimated that Hutterites produce 60% of the pork and 50% of the eggs in Montana. But this time of year, it's the turkeys. The largest natural foods store in Missoula, The Good Food Store, will have about 1600 Hutterite turkeys available the Tuesday before Thanksgiving on a first come, first served basis. And I will make sure to nab one for the familiy this year.

Yes, $1.69/lb is a little more expensive than 0.29/lb. But given the reputation of the Hutterite turkeys and the better taste of a fresh bird, the price will be worth it. I will probably regret not doing it sooner...

Turkey aside, our Thanksgiving table is filled with many of the traditional Thanksgiving foods from both sides of the family. There are the sweet potatoes, cooked the way my Mom made them - peel, cut into 1/4" slices, and fry in CF butter (Earthbalance) until golden brown on both sides. We may also make sweet potato pudding as well. There are the fresh green beans, my wifes's speciality, with onion, bacon, and potatoes. Instead of rolls there will be a fresh loaf of GFCF honey white bread from the bread machine. And of course there will be gravy, made from the turkey drippings.

But the unquestioned star of Thanksgiving is the cornbread stuffing. This recipe comes from my in-laws and their Southern roots, and is, quite frankly, the best stuffing I have ever had.

The cornbread recipe I use is adapted from the recipe in Molly Katzen's The New Moosewood Cookbook. I usually make this as muffins since they take less time to cook. I also make the cornbread muffins the day before - one less thing to prepare on Thanksgiving. The other thing I like to do is use 1/2 to one cup of the turkey drippings along with the chicken broth to moisten. You don't want to use too much of the turkey drippings though - you have to save enough for the gravy!

Part of the reason this is so special is because we usually only make it for Thanksgiving, so it is something to look forward to. Of course, I had to make it a couple of weeks ago, just to make sure the recipe was still good.

It was. :-)


CORNBREAD STUFFING


Cornbread Ingredients

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour (I use Bob's Red Mill GFCF all purpose flour)
2 tsp. GF baking powder
1/2 tsp GF baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup CF buttermilk
1 egg
3 Tbsp. Honey (or sugar) (use honey if you can)
3 Tbs. Earth Balance or other CF margarine, melted

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 12 cup muffin pan (or an 8" x8" pan) with cooking spray.

Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients (including the honey or sugar).

Stir the wet mixture into the dry, mixing just enough to thoroughly combine. Pour into the pan.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until the center is firm to the touch. Allow to cool completely (we usually make this the night before).


Stuffing Ingredients

3 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 ribs celery, diced fine
1/2 pound to 1 pound cooked bacon, crumbled
1 tsp sage, dried and crumbled
1 tsp dried thyme
pepper to taste
1 recipe cornbread (see above), crumbled
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
2 to 3 cups GFCF chicken broth to moisten (or use 1/2 cup to 1 cup turkey drippings and then GFCF chicken broth as needed)

Preheat oven to 375°. Spray a 13" x 9" pan (or two small casserole dishes) with cooking spray.

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and saute, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and cook, while stirring, for one minute. Add the bacon, sage, thyme, and pepper and cook, while stirring, for about one minute. Gradually stir in the cornbread and parsley. Add the turkey drippings and enough chicken broth to moisten the stuffing without making it wet.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan(s). Cover and bake at 375° for 30 to 40 minutes.

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