Saturday, November 21, 2009

Amole's Turkey Stuffing

Reprinted from 2007

Gene Amole was a columnist for the Rocky Mountain News. He was a hometown writer who knew the city well and wrote on a variety of topics.

In 1982, he was looking for a Thanksgiving topic. In desperation he published his recipe for stuffing.

In 1998 he wrote about his recipe column: "It was a smash. I had more favorable comment about that column than anything I had written previously. Since then, I have reprinted it twice, the last time eight years ago, but I still get a flood of requests each year to send people copies because they had lost theirs."

And so he printed the recipe one final time in November of 1998.

My wife is from the south and always had cornbread stuffing. I grew up in Denver and was used to a rather plain white bread stuffing. We adopted this recipe as a new family tradition and have enjoyed it for many years. It is a recipe that responds well to variations. I like to use a whole pound of Italian sausage and Texas pecans. It is also not necessary to stuff the bird. This recipe works just as well in a casserole dish.

Gene Amole’s Thanksgiving Turkey Stuffing
20 slices of white bread
6 slices of dark, Jewish pumpernickel
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon sage
½ pound breakfast sausage
½ pound Italian sausage
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped walnuts or macadamia nuts
3 to 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 to 2 Granny Smith or Jonathan apples
Handful of cranberries
2 cups thick-sliced mushrooms
¼ lb. butter
2 cans chicken broth
2 tablespoons Harvey's Bristol Cream or jug sherry
Gene Amole’s directions:

Now, relax. It is impossible to screw up turkey stuffing. First, let's assume you are roasting a 15-20 pound bird. You'll need about 20 slices of white bread and a half-dozen slices of dark, Jewish pumpernickel. Lightly toast and cut each slice into crouton-size cubes and put into a large bowl.

It's a good idea to mix spices separately in a small bowl. Combine a tablespoon of Salt with a teaspoon of Pepper and a tablespoon of Sage. Be careful not to use too much salt because there is salt in some of the ingredients. Next, mix the spices and sprinkle them over the bread cubes.

Now, you are ready to go to the stove. Crumble and brown in a skillet a half-pound each of breakfast sausage and Italian sausage. Drain off the grease and remove sausage with a slotted spoon and add to the bowl with the bread crumbs and spices.

Add a cup each of chopped celery, chopped onion and chopped walnuts. If you are a big spender, use macadamia nuts instead of walnuts. Add three or four tablespoons of chopped, fresh parsley. Peel, core, chop and add one or two Granny Smith or Jonathan apples. I like to mix in a handful or so of fresh cranberries for color. To all of this, add a couple of cups of mushrooms, sliced thick.

The last thing to add is the liquid. Melt a quarter-pound of butter in two cups of canned chicken broth. After it is blended, add two tablespoons of either Harvey's Bristol Creme or jug sherry. Take a little nip for yourself.

You are almost there. Drizzle the liquid over the ingredients in the large bowl. I like a reasonably fluffy stuffing. You can add more liquid if you like. Toss the bread cubes and spices with the liquid until evenly mixed.

Stuff the bird both fore and aft, but not too tightly. The stuffing expands while the bird is roasting. As for how to roast it, take the easy way out and use one of those oven bags and follow directions on the package.

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