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I follow a wonderful blog, Texana’s Kitchen.  Christine is a born and bred southerner and posts wonderful articles and recipes.  She recently talked about leftovers that seemed anything but, and also stuffing.  She mentioned that when she talks stuffing, she is only referring to the cornbread variety.  This got me thinking.  We put all kinds of things in our birds…ha, ha, ha, and some of them seem pretty weird and exotic to me.  I’m Pennsylvania Dutch and we never even call it stuffing.  It is filling to us – maybe because it really is.  Think about that one.  We insert filling into our fowl, and it is yummy bread filling.  I know that may sound boring, but trust me, it’s delicious.  I’ll add my recipe below and maybe you can be the judge.  It is fabulous hot with gravy and even better to nibble cold, right out of the fridge, after the holiday meal.

Well, back to what other folks put in their birds.  Christine is a cornbread girl.  Then there is the old-fashioned oyster stuffing…okay if everyone coming loves oysters but off-putting for those of us not so enamored – although I do have a to-die-for ham and oyster pie recipe I confess to enjoying (maybe I’ll share that also).  Regaining my focus here, there is also the long-standing chestnut stuffing which I have never eaten.  I did find a recipe for chestnut and pear stuffing that sounds wonderful.  It contains bacon (and how could you then go wrong?), cranberries (yum), garlic, wine, etc.  I’m salivating now and it’s not pretty.

Let’s not forget apple stuffing, mushroom stuffing, nut, sausage, pineapple, rice, currants and potato and squash.  After I became curious about this issue, I researched stuffing and have decided that you can put anything you want in your turkey, goose, duck, chicken, capon, pheasant, quail.   The ingredients I found were a staggering array of all things edible.  Here’s the problem – no matter how many wonderful recipes I find, the holidays dictate tradition at my house, and I suspect in most homes.  Everyone is expecting the same dinner each Thanksgiving and Christmas.  You can mess with it around the edges, but not the major stuff.  If you are too adventurous and spring surprises on the group, you may elicit shrieks of protest and disbelief.  I guess the solution, necessarily, is to experiment on your own time and make some ordinary day special when you hit upon a new and worthy culinary sampling.

Pennsylvania Dutch Bread Filling for a 20-25 lb Turkey:  In a large bowl or tub (I use my Tupperware cake container), tear up enough white bread for your bird (at least two large loaves), add diced celery and onion to your liking, add salt and pepper to taste, parsley, about two to three cups of Pepperidge Farm Herb Stuffing mix (the blue bag), 10-12 eggs (yes – a dozen).  Now melt butter (you will need about two sticks), pour slowly over your ingredients, mixing with your hands as you go.  You want the filling very moist, but not soggy.  You can add a little whole milk if you need more liquid and don’t want to clog your arteries with more butter.

Note:  Adjust ingredient quantities for smaller birds.  If you have too much filling for the bird, it is also very good done in a crockpot.  Take the raw filling that is left and place in a crockpot on low, add chicken broth as it cooks to keep it moist and stir occasionally.

Ham & Oyster Pie:

3 cups of ground ham, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons melted butter, 1 can of oysters (drained), and 1 cup heavy cream

In a bowl, mix the ground ham and Dijon mustard.  Put this mixture in bottom of an unbaked pie crust.  Top the meat with the drained oysters and then the chopped onions.  Drizzle with melted butter.  Pour heavy cream over all.  Cover with the top pie crust dough and bake at 350 degrees until done – about 35 to 45 minutes.  (Most meat departments will grind the ham for you.)

This is so easy and so delicious…

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and count your blessings

My next post will be Monastic Music…lovely!

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