Monthly Archives: March 2014
For me, stuffing is something I only eat at Thanksgiving. There were a few years in college, and right afterwards, when I made StoveTop brand stuffing to accompany chicken or pork chops, but that fell out of the repertoire years ago.
For Thanksgiving, I think most families have a traditional stuffing they make, generation after generation, and a recipe that is expected (anticipated?), without variation, on the menu, year after year. Branching out would probably cause more disappointment than it’s worth. When I make Thanksgiving, I make a bready stuffing with roasted chestnuts, giblets, and lots of herbs.
Good thing it is March. I had no qualms about trying out a new stuffing recipe. This one was unlike any I’ve ever made before. There was only a little bread. This was definitely a meaty stuffing. Sweet Italian sausage was the star. Embellished with some sautéed shallots, a little bread, lots of parsley, and an egg to bind it together, the kitchen smelled fantastic.
The sausage mixture is stuffed into a Cornish hen before roasting in a cast-iron skillet for just 40 minutes. A little on its side, a little more on its other side, and a final roast on its back before letting it take a little nap (a la the Hurry-Up-And-Wait Chicken) while you make a pan sauce from the drippings and some white wine.
Howard and I split one hen, so after it was cooked and rested, we (Howard, actually) sliced the hen down the middle and served. I only made one bird, though I made the whole amount of stuffing. (I baked the other half in a ramekin and enjoyed it for lunch.) Our favorite part of this was definitely the stuffing. The poultry-sausage flavor combination was fine. Howard and I both agreed that the meat-to-bone ratio of a Cornish hen makes it much less enjoyable to eat than chicken. Certainly, the hens look cute (weighing in at just 1.5 pounds), but it’s just too fussy to eat.
I would make the stuffing again, probably adding a few more slices of bread to make it more of a side, and bake it in a separate dish. Hens, not so much.
To see the other Doristas’ verdicts on the hens, check out their links here.
La Croix Rouge is a busy café in Dorie’s Paris neighborhood. Here, people who work in the nearby boutiques order open-faced sandwiches, tartines, that they eat a la Francais with knife and fork. With this week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie, two simple versions of tartines from La Croix Rouge’s menu are offered.
Dorie suggests slicing the tartines into strips and serving as an appetizer. Svelte Parisian fashionistas would probably choose one version. I made one of each, picked them up whole, and ate them out of hand for lunch. Both were delicious. This recipe starts with bread, toasted on one side. I’m still obsessively baking no-knead bread a couple times a week, so homemade bread was the base for my tartines.
For Version #1, Tartine Norvegienne, the toast is spread with butter, then topped with slices of smoked salmon and sprinkled with capers and a squirt of lemon juice. Yum!
Even better is Version #2, Tartine Saint-Germain, where the toast is spread with mayonnaise, sprinkled with sliced cornichons and topped with roast beef. I love a good roast beef sandwich, with horseradish sauce or Boursin cheese. The tartine was a different flavor profile with the tart pickles, and the bed of toast gave it different texture than a softer sandwich.
I stuck to the recipe’s suggested ingredients, but I suspect my fellow Doristas weren’t so obedient. I can’t wait to see the riffs they came up with. You can see their posts here. Tartines have earned a new spot in my lunch rotation.
You don’t really need a recipe for these, but if you want it, you can find it in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.