Eyre Affairs

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Location: New York, United States

Monday, December 12, 2005

"For I was beginning to be hungry" ~ Jane Eyre

Last night's dinner after trimming my Christmas tree was delicious, if I do say so myself.

I made cream of mushroom soup, filet mignon with a mushroom ragout, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, and the best stuffing I ever made: sourdough bread stuffing with mushrooms and bacon. Wine was Beaujolais.

I purchased truffle oil for the first time. It was ridiculously expensive, so now I need to look for and cook recipes that utilize it. Still, I feel like a more sophisticated chef now that truffle oil is in my repertoire.

Here is the stuffing recipe. I think it is possible to substitute pancetta with the bacon and I will probably do that next time. I also halved the recipe.

1 1/4 pounds sourdough bread, crusts trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 12 cups)
3/4 pound bacon (about 12 slices), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 cups chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only; about 2 medium)
3 cups chopped celery
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons dried sage leaves
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups (or more) canned low-salt chicken broth
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Preheat oven to 325°F. Spread bread cubes on 2 baking sheets. Bake until bread cubes are dry and crisp, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. Transfer bread to large bowl.
Saute bacon in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat until brown and crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels and drain. Pour off all but 1/4 cup drippings from skillet. Add chopped leeks and celery to skillet and saute until tender and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add mushrooms, sage, thyme, salt and pepper and saute until tender, about 10 minutes. Pour mushroom mixture over bread cubes. Add bacon and toss to blend. Mix in 2 cups broth. (Stuffing can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Beat eggs and baking powder in small bowl to blend. Mix eggs into stuffing; moisten stuffing with more broth if stuffing is dry. Transfer to prepared baking dish. Bake stuffing until cooked through and golden brown on top, about 1 hour.

Serves 12.


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