Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Week 46 - Underused Equipment

I've been posting about the 52 week cooking challenge in order this year, but am making an exception for the next two, given that we're in the midst of Thanksgiving. The Week 46 challenge was for underused equipment. Unfortunately we have too much underused equipment in our kitchen, and I thought I'd have to break out the stand mixer or the juicer or something else that would take up a lot of space. But after A reminded me about a particular plate that I used to prefer for serving Bundt cake, it occurred to me that I could make a savory Bundt cake. Even better, that Bundt cake could be made of stuffing. I love stuffing.

The stuffing recipe I used was pretty much the same one that I used for the Week 10 challenge last year, based on the stuffing my family makes on Thanksgiving. The only real differences were that this time I added celery and carrots, and also used the entire pound of chicken breakfast sausage. Otherwise it was pretty much the same thing.

The carrots and celery meant more prep, but I wanted to include more vegetables in the stuffing since I wasn't going to be making lots of vegetable sides like you might get on Thanksgiving. I liked the stuffing quite a bit with those additions, and will probably make it like that from now on (as long as it's not for my parents because of celery allergies).

After making the stuffing (cook vegetables, cook sausages without casing, add stuffing mix, add chicken broth and water as needed, add cilantro), we loaded it into a greased Bundt pan and then baked it at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

I probably could have baked it longer, but happily, it stayed together after we flipped it out on to my favorite cake plate. I thought the ridges of the Bundt pan would be more pronounced, but it still looked good.

We cut the stuffing into slices like it was a cake, and I even wrapped the leftover pieces in plastic wrap like slices of cake. Although it didn't taste dramatically different from the stuffing that I kept eating straight from the pot, it was fun seeing it in cake form, and it was so tasty.

I did make one vegetable side to go with the stuffing cake - glazed shallots based on a recipe I found on Bon Appetit. Basically, you take the outer layers and ends off of the shallots and put them in a large skillet. On top of the shallots, you pour in a cup of chicken broth, 2 tbsp of melted butter, 1/2 cup of white wine, a tbsp of sugar, salt, and pepper. It was a lot of liquid and I wasn't sure if I should have used less considering I was probably making less shallots than their recommended amount.

The whole thing is brought to a boil and then simmered until the liquid is more like a thick glaze. It took about 15 minutes, and I kept rotating the shallots to try to make sure they cooked evenly. The recipe added another tbsp of butter at the end, but I thought we had more than enough butter already, so I skipped it. That was probably a good move as the glaze was really, really buttery and quite salty. I probably should have used less of the sauce ingredients. The shallots tasted good, but it was just too much butter and salt.

Since the plan this year is Chinese food for Thanksgiving, it was nice to already have my November stuffing fix earlier in the month. It also functioned as some much needed comfort food during a difficult week for us, and we were thankful.

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