Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Artisan Bread Stuffing Casserole

*Note ~ this post was originally written in November 2009 and is reposted here from my MotherHen Jen bread blog because I don't have time to write anything new today, and I wanted to share this easy and fresh bread stuffing recipe with you for Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

For many years I purchased the box of dried up bread pieces marketed as "seasoned bread stuffing mix" and added my own fresh ingredients to make a bread stuffing casserole to serve at Thanksgiving dinner. It was tasty enough to please my guests who liked bread stuffing. Me, I never much liked bread stuffing. It didn't have the fresh homemade flavor that I thought it should have. It was either too dry or too mushy for my taste.

Well, this year I decided I could do better than the boxed stuffing mix. So I created a recipe using my own MotherHen Jen artisan breads as the base and then added my other fresh ingredients to make a wonderful and tasty bread stuffing casserole. You can also stuff the turkey with it, but I prefer it as a casserole side dish as I usually stuff my turkeys with a rice & meat based stuffing recipe that was handed down to me from my Mom.

This recipe is flexible on the amounts of fruits, nuts and vegetables that you add in. Add more of what you like best. The broth and juice can be adjusted to your liking as well, depending on whether you like a more moist or a drier stuffing.

It tastes great straight from the oven, warm & moist with a crisp top, but I think it tastes best when served with some nice turkey meat and good homemade turkey gravy ladled over the top.

Here's the recipe:

Bread Stuffing Casserole ~ by MotherHen Jen
for Thanksgiving or Anytime

12-14 oz MHJ Rustic Wheat Bread, (1 small loaf) day old, cut/crumbled into ½ inch cubes
1 C (2 ribs) Celery, chopped
1 C Apple, unpeeled & chopped
½ C Walnuts, chopped
3 Tbs Butter, melted
2 Tbs Olive Oil
1 Egg
½ C Chicken or Turkey Broth
¼-½ C Apple Juice, Apple Cider, Orange Juice or Water
Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Oregano, Basil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, Butter or Oil a 2 Quart Casserole Dish

1. In a large bowl, gently toss together bread cubes, celery, apple & walnuts.

2. Stir together melted butter and olive oil. Pour over bread mixture and toss gently to coat.

3. Season to taste with black pepper, cinnamon, herbs (fresh or dried)

4. Add egg to cool chicken broth and stir to mix. Add juice and stir again.

5. Drizzle broth mixture over bread mixture and toss lightly to coat.

6. Spoon (use hands) stuffing into the prepared 2 qt casserole dish and bake covered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 5-10 minutes for a crisp top. Serve with turkey or chicken and gravy.


Substitute other nuts for walnuts or omit nuts

Add raisins, dried cranberries or other chopped dried fruit

Use MHJ Artisan White Bread or Egg Bread instead of Rustic Wheat Bread (or any other loaf of your favorite artisan bread)

To make the savory version, substitute chopped onion for the apples, substitute water or broth for the juice, season with garlic powder instead of cinnamon.

Please tell me about any other delicious variations you create for this stuffing recipe or any recipes using MotherHen Jen artisan bread.


© Copyright 2010 Mountain Harvest Basket

Monday, November 1, 2010

Best. Cherry. Pie. Ever!

Leaky, but luscious, Cherry Pie

First off, this is a VERY belated blog post. I made this cherry pie way back in mid July at the peak of the summer fruit season. Hot days and balmy nights. The whole summer thing. I've just been so busy since then, that today, over 3 months later, is the first chance I got to compose this post.

I've made cherry pies before, but only from canned tart cherries. This is the first time I have ever made a cherry pie from fresh cherries. This time I had enough fresh fruit available and a very handy cherry pitter to make the best cherry pie I have ever tasted. Ever.

This is the first year that I could use fresh sour cherries from my young Montmorency Cherry tree. (I call her Mary Montmorency.) She gave me just over one cup of fresh tart cherries.

(Mary) Montmorency Tart Cherry Harvest 2010

Well, one cup of cherries is not enough to make a whole pie, so I also used a combination of Bing Cherries and Van Cherries from my sweet dual graft cherry tree. Usually I just eat these nice sweet cherries out of hand for snacking, but this year my dual graft tree produced enough for snacking and some baking projects. I had a bit over 3 cups of fresh cherries, tart and sweet ones combined, for my pie.

Combination of Montmorency, Bing & Van Cherries for pie

For some reason my pie crust turned out especially flaky (not sure what I did right to make it that way), and the combination of cherries made this pie taste wonderful. I can only hope to bake another one just as good as this one with next summer's cherry harvest. If not, well, I have my cherry pie memories to savor.

Tart/Sweet Fruit Filling, Flaky Crust

Looks good enough to eat!

Till next summer's cherry harvest these photo memories will have to do!

© Copyright 2010 Mountain Harvest Basket