Turkey Stuffing with Grand Marnier & dried apricots
‘Tis the season when time speeds up. Some of our best intentions, left behind in a rush of wind. I’d planned on preparing this turkey stuffing for you to view before Thanksgiving was upon us and everyone was already noisily gathered around the table. It didn’t happen. It’s still possible that I’ll get that done, but it’s looking less likely with every falling leaf.
And yet, even though there’s no accompanying photo, that didn’t seem reason enough not to share the recipe. So I’ll post it today, and after Thanksgiving I’ll attach photos so that next year you’ll have them. In the meantime, just a few photos from my walk the other day.
If you look at the list of ingredients you may have a feel for what this stuffing is like. I hope so. I can tell you this: Just about everyone who’s tried it has asked for the recipe. People who don’t like stuffing love this stuffing. And that’s all I’ll say.
Turkey Stuffing with Grand Marnier & Apricots
- 12 cups cubed sturdy bread – cubed in approximately ½- to ¾-inch pieces
- 2 Tablespoons dried thyme
- 4 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1½ cups dried apricots, cut into quarters
- 1½ cups Grand Marnier (Orange Liqueur) (see NOTE)
- 2 pounds Turkey Sausage (I like to use a combination – a milder one with apple and sage, and a spicier Italian turkey sausage)
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 4 cups celery, diced (with some leaves)
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 Tablespoon dried sage, crushed between your hands
- 2 Granny Smith apples, medium diced
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup chopped Italian parsley
- Salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste
- 1 cup chopped walnuts or filberts or pecans (optional)
- 2 cups chicken broth (you may not use all this)
NOTE: on the Grand Marnier – To cut down on the expense, you might mix one part Triple Sec with two parts Grand Marnier. I don’t think I’d mess with the proportions further than that though. Grand Marnier is just so incomparably good. (I should be clear here on this point though, I use all Grand Marnier in ours.)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine the bread, thyme, some salt and pepper and one-half of the oil, and toss together. Place on a baking sheet for 15 minutes in the oven. Transfer to a large bowl or other container large enough to accommodate it.
In a small sauce pan, add the apricots to the Grand Marnier and bring to a boil. Gentle simmer for a couple minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. (As they sit and bathe in the Grand Marnier, the flavor intensifies and they become indescribably delicious.)
In a large skillet, brown the sausage. Add it to the bread bowl with a slotted spoon.
In the same skillet (no need to wash), add the butter and the remaining olive oil. Gentle sauté the onions, celery, garlic and sage, for about 10 minutes on low heat. Add to the bread bowl with all the other ingredients except the chicken broth.
Drizzle some of the chicken broth over the stuffing to moisten. If you like to stuff the bird, be sure the stuffing is preheated before doing so. (I read this in Cook’s Illustrated and must assume they’re completely in the know on this.) The portion that will be baked separately will require more of the chicken broth. Drizzle with enough to moisten the bread, stir to combine. Bake, covered, for approximately half an hour in an oven set to 350°F or until steaming hot.
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In these days leading up to Thanksgiving, my wish for you ~
at least a few moments of calm,
a warm hand (or paw) to hold,
a bit of weather on your cheeks (whatever it may be) to make you feel alive,
and grateful eyes that see something or someone just a little differently.