Introduction: Mama Elisa's "Vegan Shmeegan" Italian Pork Stuffing
Attention meat lovers! Why have bread stuffing when you can have pork? Nothing on a carnivore's Thanksgiving table beats meat stuffed with meat! This is a "family recipe" that I assume originally came down from my Spanish grandmother but I only remember Mom making it. This stuffing (also the homemade Parker House rolls and chocolate pie) made Thanksgiving Thanksgiving in my house growing up.
Step 1: Ingredients
Here's what to buy for a 10-12 lb bird (adjust accordingly to your required bird size):
2 lbs pork sausage
(Normally I like to go with the fresh breakfast sausage from the butcher, but in a pinch or for larger batches Jimmy Dean works fine. Jimmy Dean Italian is even better.)
- 2 eggs
2 small onions
(I always end up chopping more onion than I actually use. I guess it depends both on your definition of "small onion" and how much onion you are cool with using.)
- 1/2 loaf day old Italian bread
- Various Italian spices (I usually use oregano, rosemary, thyme, sage and "italian seasoning")
- Giblets from the turkey
- Food processor/grinder
- Large frying pan and spatula
- onion dicer (optional)
Step 2: Prepare the Bread
Cut up your day old bread and reduce it to crumbs in your cuisinart.
Step 3: Prepare the Onions
Chop up the onions. I like them diced but my eyeballs can't hack dicing the old fashioned way, so I use this awesome chopper to reduce the sting.
Step 4: Prepare the Meat
Grind up the sausage with the giblets in the cuisinart. You don't really need to grind the sausage, but I find doing it this way mixes in the ground giblets more quickly and efficiently than grinding and adding separately.
Step 5: Cooking
Brown the meat on the stove. When done, remove the meat, trying to keep as much of the excess grease in the pan as possible. Cook the onions in the grease until translucent. (I usually keep a bit of the meat in the pan when cooking the onions.) When done, mix the onions in with the meat.
Step 6: Add Spices
If you want me to tell you how much spice to ask, well, I'm not going to tell you. I add a LOT more than the piddling teaspoon suggested on Mom's recipe card. Add as much as you want. Liberal use of spice is encouraged. Don't skimp on the rosemary either, I think that one is the key. NOTE: if you use the Jimmy Dean Italian, you probably won't need to add as much spice at this stage.
Step 7: Add Egg and Bread
Mix in the egg, and then mix in the bread. Or, you can do it the other way around if you you want. The egg is really just to provide a little more moisture to bond the meat to the bread.
Step 8: Cram It Up Your Cram Hole, Lafleur!
Now comes the part where we have the only appropriate opportunity of the year to quote from the movie Dodgeball, in which we stuff the stuffing into every available cavity in the uncooked turkey. If you have stuffing leftover that doesn't fit into the bird, you can finish it off with a little time in the oven in a casserole dish. It will taste pretty good, but will pale in comparison to the awesomeness produced when the stuffing matures inside a cooked turkey.
Step 9: Bon Appetit!
Now you will eat, and bask in the outrageous compliments showered upon you by your thrilled and sated carnivorous dinner guests.