Gobble, Gobble: Chef John Tesar’s Pork Stuffing
<p class=”MsoNormal” style=”margin-left: -0.75pt;”> Here is my mother’s pork stuffing …. the best part of Thanksgiving for me are the smells of roasting turkey and rich crusty stuffing. My mother was the most amazing cook and probably the reason I love to cook is that she inspired me as a child to cook with fresh local and special ingredients and make everything from scratch.
My Mother’s Pork Stuffing for Thanksgiving
2 baguettes (long French bread), stale, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound country sausages, preferably
1 large onion, cut in large (3/4 to 1 inch) dice
5 stalks celery, peeled, split lengthwise and cut in large dice,
1/4 cup Italian parsley, leaves picked and very coarsely chopped
1/4 cup branches fresh sage, leaves picked and coarsely chopped 1/8 cup branches fresh thyme leaves picked and coarsely chopped
2 cups turkey or chicken stock ½ cup melted butter,
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons unsalted butter for the pan and dotting of stuffing
The bread should be completely stale. If not, spread the cubes on a baking sheet and put in a low oven (250 degrees F) for about 1 hour to dry them out.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet. Add the sausage meat and brown it, breaking up meat into pieces about the size of a quarter.
Transfer meat from skillet to large bowl, using a slotted spoon. Add onion and celery to the skillet and cook 2 minutes or till trans lucent but not too soft as they will cook again in the stuffing mix. Place all vegetables in bowl with sausage. Add bread cubes, parsley sage and thyme to the bowl.
In a separate bowl, mix melted butter and stock with the salt and pepper. Pour this over the sausage mixture and gently toss all the ingredients. They should combine without mushing. Generously butter a 16-inch baking pan (2 tablespoons). Spread the mixture in the pan and dot with more butter (4 tablespoons).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour. The top should have a nice golden brown crust.
If you like you can substitute the French bread with corn bread , add some Texas pecans about ½ a cup course chopped and two peeled and cored apples to the vegetable preparation.
John Tesar, formerly the executive chef of the Mansion on Turtle Creek, among others, is a restaurant consultant in Dallas