Friday, 9 December 2011

Stuffing or Dressing Bread

Somehow while American thanksgiving was happening, I spent an awful lot of time reading about what people planned to make, what they were eating, and then, once they were done, how good it all was, and the end result was that I got a serious hankering for some stuffing, or maybe some dressing, depending on which you want to call it. I didn't particularly have a hankering to roast a turkey though, or even a chicken for that matter. And then I thought: stuffing bread! Like garlic bread, only with poultry seasoning. How could it be less than fabulous? True; not bathed in juices of a roasting turkey, but on the other hand, toasted in butter. Toasted in butter, people. And yes, it's grand. Truly grand! This may have been a mistake, in fact.

Also, I am not the kind of cook who calls for "1/2 an onion" (or whatever). You want less onion? Use a small one. You want more onion? Use a big one. So when I say "2 teaspoons minced shallot, sautéed in a teaspoon of butter", I don't do this lightly. Two teaspoons minced shallot, and what you do with the rest of it is up to you. Sorry.

1 small loaf
30 to 40 minutes, 15 minutes prep time

Stuffing Bread
Mix the Seasonings:
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
3/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon dry rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon savory
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Grind the pepper, celery seed and rosemary. Mix with the remaining ingredients.

Make the Stuffing Bread:
2 teaspoons finely minced shallot
1 large clove of garlic
1/3 cup unsalted butter

1 demi-baguette or small loaf or crusty white bread

Peel and finely mince the shallot and garlic. Preheat the oven to 350°F or 375°F. (I am assuming that this is likely to be made when something else is in the oven; it's fairly flexible about what temperature it can be baked at.)

Put aside the 1/3 cup of butter, minus 1 teaspoon, to soften in a small mixing bowl. Heat the teaspoon of butter in a small skillet. Cook the shallot gently until soft, just a minute or so, then add the garlic. Remove from the heat as soon as it is strongly fragrant and set aside to cool. I remove it from the pan and put it in the bowl the herbs were in to stop it cooking any more.

Cream the herb mixture into the softened butter. When the shallot and garlic is cool, mix them in as well. Cut the bread into slices, almost but not quite all the way through. Gently separate each cut enough to spread some of the prepared butter on one side of each slice.

Transfer the bread to a sheet of aluminium foil, and wrap it loosely around it. Bake for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the temperature of the oven, the heft of the bread, and how toasty you would like it. Serve piping hot.




Last year at this time I made Fried Tofu with Stir-Fried Cabbage.

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