Today we are joined by one of the coolest people we’ve ever met Erin Kellison. She’s sharing one her families holiday recipes and just in time for Thanksgiving.
Happy Holiday’s everyone! And thank you to the Book Reading Gals for hosting me! Hugs to all!
You’re a mean one Mr. Grinch
You really are a heel.
You’re as cuddly as a cactus,
And as charming as an eel,
You’re a bad banana,
With a greasy black peel!
(from the original cartoon of The Grinch)
Yep, I’m with Jenn on this one. The Grinch is my favorite holiday story. In the Kellison household, it is common to burst into the Grinch song. My little ones fall over in giggles. When I was a kid, my family used to act out the story on Christmas eve, but combine it with A Christmas Carol, so that the Grinch was visited by three ghosts before having his change of heart. It was quite a production, followed by the opening of one gift before going to bed (and staying up all night listening for Santa).
When I cook, I get a lot of complaints. But my husband is a rock star in the kitchen. He wrote up his take on stuffing for me (sweet guy). It’s absolutely delish. Yummy. Amazing. Enjoy!
Mr. Kellison’s Southwest Stuffing
Technically, this is a dressing, not a stuffing, since we’re baking it in the oven in its own tray, and not stuffing it inside anything. But “Southwest Dressing” just doesn’t have the same ring to it. Southwest Stuffing combines traditional bread stuffing with a Southwest-style roasted corn relish. Hope you enjoy it.
- 1 bag bread cubes (seasoned or unseasoned, up to you)
- 1 medium yellow onion
- Bunch of celery
- Poultry seasoning (if you can’t find poultry seasoning, it’s basically dried sage, rosemary, and thyme all mixed together – you can buy them separately and make your own)
- 2-3 cups corn (frozen or canned…you probably won’t find fresh corn around the holidays, but if you do, even better. If you use canned, make sure it’s got no salt added. I usually go with a mix of yellow and white corn, but again it’s up to you)
- 1 medium red onion
- 1-2 jalapeno chiles
- 1-2 chipotle chiles
- Chicken stock
- Olive oil
- Canola oil
OK, first of all, there are no hard-and-fast measurements for this dish. You basically sauté up a bunch of stuff, throw it together, and season it to your own taste. How much onion vs. celery vs. chiles you put in is totally up to you. Experiment – it’s your food after all.
- Dice all the vegetables
- Dice the yellow onion and set aside
- Dice the celery and set aside. This should be about the same amount as the yellow onion
- Dice the red onion. Usually I only do about a third of the red onion because I don’t like the relish to get overpowered by the onion. But if you love onions, go crazy.
- Dice the jalapeno. Most recipes say to take out the seeds and the white, pithy ribs of the chiles. But that’s where most of the heat is, so I usually do this half-heartedly. If a few seeds get in there, who cares?
- Chop up the chipotles. Pound for pound, chipotles pack more flavor than any other ingredient I can think of. Chipotles are smoked jalapeno chiles, and they usually come in two ways: dried, or in adobo. Adobo is basically Mexican barbecue sauce. I use chipotles in adobo for two reasons: (1) adobo is yummy and it rocks, and (2) dried chipotles are a pain in the ass. If you HAVE to get the dried ones, here’s what you need to do: boil some water, chuck the chiles in the water, and let them soak until they soften up. I have no idea how long this will take. Once they’re soft, throw away the water because it will be nasty, then you can chop them up and use them the same way you would use the ones in adobo. So don’t waste your time; get the ones in adobo and be done with it. NOTE: with chipotles, I do get rid of the seeds because after soaking for so long (either in water or adobo) they’re kinda slimy and gross. Plus you’ll get plenty of heat without them, so just scrape them away.
- Make the corn relish
- Put a large sauté pan over medium-high heat
- When the pan is hot, pour in some canola oil, just enough to coat the bottom of the pan. About 1 tablespoon should be enough. If you don’t have canola oil, you can use olive oil, or whatever you have. It’s just a little nicer with a neutral-flavored oil like canola or safflower. Olive oil has a stronger taste that doesn’t quite jibe with the flavors in this relish. But we’re really splitting hairs here…if olive oil is all you’ve got, use it.
- Throw in the corn, red onion, jalapenos, and chipotles. There will be a lot of popping and hissing as the veggies hit the hot pan. You’ll want to turn on the oven fan or open a window.
- Season with plenty of salt and a little pepper (we’ve already got lots of heat going with the chiles, so you can go easy on the pepper)
- Let the corn relish cook, stirring occasionally.
- When the corn starts to caramelize (aka burn) a little, take it off the heat. This can be a little tricky, since you don’t want it burned, per se, but you do want the corn to get some color on it, to give it that nice roasted complex flavor. Plus it looks cool that way.
- Pour the relish in a bowl and set aside.
- Deglaze the pan. You’ll have a lot of burned bits of corn on the bottom of your pan. To clean it up quickly (you can reuse the pan for step 3), pour in some water and put the pan back on the heat for a minute or two. The water will boil almost instantly. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan lightly for a few minutes while the water boils away. This will clean it up nice.
- Once you’ve got all the burned bits cleaned off, rinse the pan and throw it back on the stove. You don’t have to wash it fully, we’re just going to get it messy again. Reduce the heat to medium, though, because it’s time to…
- Make the stuffing
- Put a large sauté pan over medium heat
- Put in a pat or two of butter to melt and pour in some olive oil. I like to combine the two, because it tastes good. Plus technically, it’s better for you than just using butter. But this is the holidays, nobody cares about calories. Use only butter or only olive oil if you want.
- Throw in the yellow onion and celery, season them with plenty of salt and pepper, and cook for a while until the veggies are soft and translucent. For those playing at home, this is sort of halfway between a sauté and a sweat…we don’t want to really caramelize the veggies, just get them nicely cooked through.
- Open the bread cubes and put them in the biggest bowl you’ve got. You’ll need a lot of room for stirring.
- Once the veggies are cooked, pour them over the bread cubes.
- Pour about a cup of the stock over the bread cubes.
- Season with the poultry seasoning to taste. Remember if you’re using seasoned bread cubes you won’t need much extra seasoning, but you will need some. Go slowly and taste often – you can always add more.
- Stir to combine everything.
- Pour in the corn relish. Stir again.
- At this point you just want to start adding more chicken stock and stirring until the stuffing gets to a moist consistency, but the bread cubes still hold their shape for the most part…a few mushy ones is fine, but you don’t want the whole thing to be mush. Or maybe you do…like I said, it’s your food.
- Once you have it moistened and seasoned to your liking, scoop it all into a baking dish (glass or metal is fine) and bake at 350-375 degrees. Your baking time will vary widely depending on your oven and how crunchy or soft you want your stuffing.