Saturday, November 24, 2012

Ben's Stuffing and Life and Trees

The Famous Ben Stuffing

Very labor intensive, but most of the chopping can be done the 
day before, but Ben said he likes the idea of the work 
"on the day".
We enjoyed mimosas while HE worked.
The pooches were at his feet all morning
hoping for an errant nibble.
In the center pic you can even see Justice standing
by while he texted.

1 3/4 pounds sweet Italian sausages, casings removed
5 to 6 TB butter
2 1/2 fennel bulbs, chopped
1 1/4 pounds onions, chopped
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 1/4 pounds firm but ripe Bosc pears, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 large red bell peppers, chopped
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried marjoram
2 teaspoons dried rubbed sage
1 loaf sourdough bread cubed
3/4 cup dry white wine

Preheat oven to 400°F. Spread bread on 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Bake until just golden, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Transfer to very large bowl. Set aside.

Cook Italian sausage in large pot over medium-high heat until browned, breaking up pieces with back of fork, about 12 minutes. 

Using slotted spoon, transfer to small bowl. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in same large pot over medium-high heat. 

Add chopped fennel, onions and fennel seeds. Sauté until fennel and onions are tender and golden brown, about 15 minutes. 

Reduce heat to medium. Add pears, bell peppers and herbs. Sauté until pears and peppers are just tender, about 10 minutes. 

Add wine and boil until most liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. 

Add sausage and fennel mixture to bread cubes. Season stuffing to taste with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter 13x9x2-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish. Add enough broth to stuffing to moisten (about 3/4 cup to 1 1/2 cups.) Transfer stuffing to prepared dish and dot stuffing with 2 tablespoons butter before baking. Cover with buttered foil, buttered side down; bake until heated through, about 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until top is crisp and golden, about 20 minutes longer. Top with fennel fronds, if desired, and serve.

( I took the fennel tops and stuffed them inside my bird)

My brother Scott and his wife Crystal have
 a wonderful mini tree farm.
It is located on the lot next to their home in 
New Castle PA.
Each year Scott tends and trims these trees to perfection.
Look at these beautifully shaped trees.
Only Blue Spruce for them,
and only $20.00!
Those are not lala land prices!

Offspring of the folks 
who bought 20 years ago are now coming to
buy these beautiful Blue Spruce trees,
family traditions established and nurtured.

Nurtured in the nursery
for future generations..

Absolutely worth the drive if you are
 anywhere within the Pittsburgh area.
Please remember to tell them I sent ya...
and give em a big hug for me.
If you wish to call and check ahead, email me.

Also please check out Maynard Greenhouse
here and here if you haven't already.
If you are passing through, or live within
a nice long drive,
Maynard Greenhouse is a Must 
stop for Carole's Christmas shop and 
their Christmas trees have arrived also.

Give George and Carole my love and pet Petey
and the kitties.

Filled with love and gratitude today.
My son is still here visiting, he is asleep upstairs.
The joy I feel when the kids are under my roof,
asleep and happy and safe at home.
I am blessed with a great family 
and friends here and in blog land.

Do you ever have those days 
where you just want to hug yourself with joy?
Life is good.
Difficult at times, but good.



Rebecca said...

$20 is an INCREDIBLE price for such beautiful trees. No wonder you sometimes want to hug yourself with joy, blessed as you are surrounded by such a wonderful family...Yes, life IS good (if sometimes difficult) - and GOD is good, all the time!

Kathy said...

That stuffing sounds devine. I had the opportunity just one time to taste fennel stuffing and loved it. You are the lucky Mama and clearly loving every minute. Soak it up!!

Laura @ 52 FLEA said...

Oh my goodness...that stuffing sounds scrumptious! Blue spruce were the trees of choice for my family while growing up. So pretty! Happy holidays! :)

Bead and Needle said...

How much bread, Mom...and do I cube it before drying? Glad you've had a wonderful holiday! XOXO

Karmen Sunshine said...

Good job Famous Ben!
The newlyweds (the June ones) fell asleep together on my sofa after they'd had dinner at my ex's house. I was happy to have them. The sun went down and they woke to candles all around them.

Claudia said...

Wish I lived near Pittsburgh! Your son's dressing sounds wonderful. I know you are loving every minute of him being home. Enjoy.


Anonymous said...

Holy Cow...I live 20 minutes from New Castle...I am here in Hermitage...Definetly will be sending people there along with myself...Have a wonderful day...

Linda @ A La Carte said...

What lovely trees! We have given up on real trees due to cost. Your son's stuffing sounds amazing!

hugs, Linda

time worn interiors said...

Yummy! My mouth is watering!

And those lovely trees! Wow! Only $20!


wendy said...

I loved that "when you feel like you want to hug yourself with joy"
Wouldn't it be wonderful if we always could feel like that.
That stuffing sounds good.
I have to say...SO FAR, I think my stuffing is the best (but I haven't tasted Ben's.)
I love making the stuffing, the chopping the flavors and smells.

Cindy said...

Happy Belated Thanksgiving! (I was off the radar for a few days)
I am so glad your son is visiting for Thanksgiving! Does the heart good...
I love the Christmas tree farm! That is how you are suppose to pick out a tree!
Sending you a big, thankful you are my friend, HUG!

Jill said...

Reading that recipe just makes my mouth water!! I know we don't have fennel in our little town. I'll have to remember to come back here someday when this recipe is doable for me.

Sandi~A Cottage Muse said...

Life is good isn't it?!!
Mimosa's and hanging with your son, sounds like my kind of day!
After seeing peeks at Carole's Christmas magic from Laura I have been bugging Jim to take a road trip this weekend to CT!!

Lana said...

Your voice of thankfulness and joy comes through loud and clear, Z. So happy for you that your son is home; something about a mother-son relationship that is just always cozy. And I DO wish I was just a few miles away from your brother's home! Love those beautiful trees! *We have a tree farm near our town and the owner schedules classes from our elementary schools to come out for "hay rides" and then his wife makes hot chocolate for all of the children while he tells them how he grows, tends, and cuts the trees. It's a wonderful experience. Your brother's tree farm reminds me so much of this. Thank you for the wonderful post.

WhiteWhispers2u said...

The dressing recipe sounds amazing!Thanks for sharing.~Cheers Kim