Break out of the box — the Stovetop box, that is — this Thanksgiving!

My neighbors probably think I am going insane right now. Yesterday it took me four trips to get all my groceries in from the car, and now my kitchen is filled with pork. No, really. At the time I write this, I’m making a giant vat of sauce for my apple cider pulled pork. Why am I doing this to myself and my poor tiny kitchen, you ask? Because this weekend is the Maine Harvest Festival at the Cross Insurance Center, and the folks from the BDN have asked me to set up camp with some samples and some recipe cards. We’ll be there all day Saturday and Sunday, 10-4, among a slew of Maine’s tastiest offerings, and the admission is so low, you can’t really afford not to come see us.

So now that I’ve invited you to come hang out with me at the festival this weekend, I can get to the good stuff — the recipes. I’ve got some great sides for you after this crazy weekend is through, but for now let’s talk about stuffing.

I like Stovetop stuffing. I have nothing against it whatsoever, except that when I make it, I feel a little like I’m cheating. Stuffing is already pretty easy to make, and while of course you can’t argue with the convenience of pre-packaged ingredients, you can get a little more creative with your own ingredients, without putting in a lot of extra time.

This week, I made three different types of stuffing; one vegetarian-friendly recipe (use your favorite butter substitute to make it even more so — and, obviously, don’t put it in your bird!) with sourdough bread, one filled with meaty sausage, diced apples and dried cranberries, made from white bread, and just to be a little different, one made from leftover matzo we had in the cupboard. (We stock up after Passover, when it goes on clearance; it also makes a great crispy coating for baked chicken. Incidentally, most of the chicken stock I use in my kitchen is either made from scratch, or from kosher chicken soup mix that I also buy on clearance following Passover.)

Apple Cranberry Sausage Stuffing

  • 1 loaf of white bread, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced celery
  • 2 Cortland apples, peeled, cored and ldiced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound spicy Italian sausage, cooked and chopped
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

In a saute pan, melt butter with vegetable oil. Add onions and celery and cook until softened. Add salt, pepper, parsley and garlic and remove from heat. In a bowl, combine bread with sausage, apples, cranberries and ingredients from the saute pan; add stock and mix well. Stuff into your bird or bake alongside it in a casserole dish or cast iron frying pan for approximately 40 minutes.

Mushroom Sourdough Stuffing

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound assorted wild mushrooms (I used shiitake, oyster, and white button), diced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 (small) loaf sourdough bread, cubed
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced

In a saute pan, melt butter with vegetable oil; add onions and celery and soften. Then, add mushrooms and soften as well. Next, add parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. (And garlic, salt and pepper, but those don’t fit in the song, which will be stuck in your head now.) In a large bowl, combine bread cubes with mushroom mixture and add stock. Bake alongside your turkey approximately 40 minutes so your vegetarian friends and family members can enjoy it, or stuff it in the bird’s cavity if you don’t need to worry about that.

Savory Matzo Stuffing

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 Gala apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon Bell’s Seasoning (or other poultry seasoning blend)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 box matzo, crushed
  • 2 cups chicken broth

In a saute pan, soften celery and onion in vegetable oil.add cinnamon, Bell’s Seasoning, garlic powder and red pepper flakes and combine well. Add chicken broth to mixture and allow to cool. In a large bowl, combine matzo, apples and egg. When broth and vegetable mixture has cooled, combine with matzo mixture and bake in a casserole dish alongside your Thanksgiving turkey for approximately 30 minutes, or inside the turkey as usual.

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Fia Fortune

About Fia Fortune

Fia Fortune is a home cook who enjoys gardening, creating recipes for her two blogs, cooking for herself and her boyfriend, and trying to keep up with their blended family of four cats.