Monday, June 25, 2012

Hearty "Sausage" Stuffing

I love stuffing.  It's one of the most under-appreciated foods in existence.  Actually, everyone appreciates it with gusto at Thanksgiving (and maybe one other holiday each year); so, why don't we eat it more often?

Go on, make stuffing more than once a year!  You won't regret it.  Plus, it's a good use for stale bread!

Here's my recipe for Hearty "Sausage" Stuffing. 

Hearty "Sausage" Stuffing
  • 1 package Gimme Lean Sausage, cut into small, bite-sized pieces
  • olive oil, for sautéing 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas
  • 15 ounces low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 egg-equivalent (I use 1.5 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer whisked together with 2 tablespoons warm water, here)
  • a pinch of sage
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter, melted
  • 1 loaf day-old bread, cut or ripped into cubes

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease a casserole dish or large baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Next, brown the sausage.  Add about a tablespoon of oil to a large, nonstick skillet and heat over medium-high heat.  Add as many sausage bits as comfortably fit in the bottom of the pan and allow to brown on one side for a few minutes.  Flip the sausage and continue browning.  Remove from the pan and set aside before browning the remaining sausage in a second batch.  Set all sausage aside. 

In the same (now empty) skillet, add a bit more olive oil and the garlic and heat over medium heat.  Add the celery, onion, and carrots and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender.  Then add the corn and peas and continue to cook until heated through.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the broth, egg replacer, sage, and melted butter.

Once all of the components are ready, mix together all ingredients in a large bowl.  Transfer the stuffing to your baking dish and bake, uncovered, for 45-50 minutes.

Yields 1 pan stuffing.  

This stuffing is truly hearty and delicious.  It's almost like a bread casserole, and I eat it more like a main dish than a side dish (though it would be great as a side dish, too).  The vegetables and sage come together to create an irresistible, savory flavor, and the browned, crispy sausage adds both protein and varied texture.  Simon likes how the sausage makes it substantial, noting that "it has all of the components of a main dish."
Unfortunately, vegan sausage is scarce at most standard grocery stores.  (It does freeze well, though, so we often stock up at Whole Foods whenever we're there.)  If you're planning to leave out the sausage, though, the recipe becomes much more accessible.
 Ease of Preparation:      
There are several steps involved in this recipe, but they're all worth it.  As I wrote above, I like to reuse the sausage skillet for the veggies to save on prep and clean-up time.
Non-vegan friendliness:      
Stuffing is a pretty everyone-friendly food.  This version is no exception.  Simon even planned to bring it to a work party.  (Sadly, he dropped the glass dish of stuffing on the kitchen floor, and broken glass/floor dirt aren't great additions to the recipe.) 

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