Deep-fried, panko-rolled, cheese-stuffed stuffing balls | Bleader

Deep-fried, panko-rolled, cheese-stuffed stuffing balls



Just like the Pilgrims made
You deep-fry your turkey, don't you? No? Stop reading. When it comes to Thanksgiving turkey I am an insufferable didact. Though the methods du jour—steaming/roasting and braising/roasting—look tempting, once you make the $50 investment in a turkey fryer there's no going back.

But what about the stuffing, you say? A deep fryer sitting in the driveway all weekend filled with perfectly good peanut oil lends itself to all sorts of inspiration. It's true, you can't deep-fry a stuffed turkey, but by now it's conventional wisdom that when you roast a stuffed turkey you're courting evil, so you should be preparing that stuffing outside the bird anyway.

Deep-fried stuffing is the answer.

You're not going to impart much of the turkey's essence to the stuffing this way, but symbolically you can marry the two by dunking bread-crumb-coated stuffing balls in the hot oil while your bird is resting.

Pinch off golf ball-size portions of raw stuffing, wrap them around cubes of Monterey Jack, or maybe dates, or olives, or some other interesting core bite, roll them in panko, and dunk them in 350-degree oil until golden. Smother in gravy or hot sauce. Or both. That's all there is to it.

But perhaps you need a good stuffing recipe. My go-to comes from Friend of the Food Chain Kristina Meyer:

Kristina Meyer's sausage gumbo stuffing:
1 lb andouille sausage
2 medium onions, diced
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
splash of brandy
large loaf of stale sourdough bread, cubed and toasted
2 cups chicken stock
your favorite cajun seasoning
filé powder
chopped parsley
1 stick butter

Saute the andouille until a little crisp on the outside, then add onion, garlic, jalapeño, bell pepper, cajun spices, and celery to the sausage fat, and saute until soft. Deglaze pan with brandy, and add mixture to the bread. Toss to coat. Bring the chicken stock to a boil, add some file powder, and boil for a minute or two to let the filé bloom. Gradually add the chicken stock to the bread mixture until it is saturated but not weeping. Mix in some chopped parsley. Place in a casserole or Dutch oven, dot with butter, and bake at 350 degrees for about a half hour or so.

Mike Sula writes about cooking every Monday.