Moms Coming Out of the Woodwork!

I’ve been getting a slew of stuffing suggestions from the children of other moms ever since Monday’s post about moms and their stuffing. Also their dads–and yes, I apologize I didn’t mention that our dads cook, too, sometimes, as one reader pointed out, much better than the women in their families (he ratted out his own mother and aunts on his wife’s side). Here are a sampling:

Base–breads and grains:

Cornbread; French bread; sourdough; freshly baked Pillsbury large buttermilk biscuits; rice; couscous; bulgur wheat.

Meats:

Turkey or chicken livers and kidneys; Italian sausage (we use Jimmy Deans or, a nod to our Philadelphia roots, Habbersett); scrapple (another Philadelphia thing); ground beef, veal, chicken or duck.

Fruits:

Apricots; apples (dried and fresh); raisins; currants; cranberries (dried and fresh); pears; pomegranate seeds; lemon and/or orange rinds.

Spices

Cumin; coriander; turmeric; cayenne; achiote; sofrito; cloves; allspice; ginger.

Nuts and vegetables:

Carrots; celery (my sister yelled at me that my mom did the same); peppers–both sweet and hot; spinach; artichoke hearts; yucca; corn; nuts of many varieties, ranging from walnuts to macadamias.

The breath of flavors and creativity represented are so exciting and mark how stuffing, itself, is so personal to what is otherwise a fairly static meal. And look how they showcase one of the stellar aspects of American cooking, namely our international roots. There’s a lot of things my whole family are grateful for this year, no more so than that, so far, we are physically and mentally (a tall order) surviving 2020. Not unscarred–who isn’t?– but holding on to the hope that 2021 may prove to be healthy and a blessing–at the very least calm, perhaps boring. We can only pray and pass the stuffing.

And now, two fabulous recipes from famous women! One I saw today on Instagram from our elected Vice-President Kamala Harris and the other from Marilyn Monroe.

Kamala Harris’ Stuffing

Ms. Harris’ recipe blew up on Instagram this morning so for all of you smart anti-social media people out there, I give you our elected VPs recipe with a couple of instruction simplifications.

2 ounces package of cornbread mix

1 pound spicy sausage

2 onions, chopped

2 apples, cored and chopped

4 celery stalks, diced

3/4 cup chicken broth

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

2 teaspoons sage

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1/2 teaspoon rosemary

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Oil a medium-size baking dish.

Bake your cornbread according to instructions on box. Crumble it into a bowl and set aside. Take the sausage out of its casing, crumble it, and brown in a little oil. When it’s cooked, use a slotted spoon to add to the bread.

In the same pan, sauté vegetables and apple in the remaining oil.

Mix everything together then add the melted butter, herbs and chicken broth. Sprinkle on a little salt and pepper.

Pour into the prepared baking dish and bake for about 40 minutes.

Marilyn Monroe’s Stuffing

I apologize for not being specific about the ingredient measurements but I’m going along with my experience that all stuffing recipes are necessarily vague. There’s two reasons for this, the most important being what these two posts are hopefully showing–that stuffing recipes are very personal and each cook is adding or detracting measurements according to the number of people that will sit down at the table. I will, though, put them in order and hope you all go with the spirit of the dish.

1 loaf of sourdough or French bread

chicken or turkey livers or hearts

ground round or other beef

oil

chopped celery

chopped onion

chopped parsley

chopped hard-boiled eggs

chopped walnuts, chestnuts, peanuts

raisins

grated Parmesan

crushed rosemary

crushed oregano

crushed thyme

bay leaves

poultry seasoning

salt and pepper

Rip bread into pieces and soak it in cold water for about 15 minutes. Wring out excess water over a colander and transfer to a large bowl.

Put the livers or hearts into a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook for about 8 minutes or until lightly cooked then roughly chop.

Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a skillet and brown the ground beef, stirring occasionally and breaking up the meat.

Mix the bread together with the livers, ground beef, celery, onion, parsley, eggs, raisins, Parmesan and nuts and seasons. Refrigerate, covered, until you’re ready to pack it in the turkey.