Winter Side Dish: Chorizo Stuffing

Monday, January 7, 2013

Who says stuffing is only for Thanksgiving?! Stuffing is a great winter side dish to go with your roast meats. And while we're at it, turkey's so delicious I think we should be roasting it year round, not just one Thursday in November! At any rate, the next time you're planning a roast chicken (or turkey!) and if you're getting sick of potatoes in one form or another, give this recipe a try! Spicy chorizo sausage gives great flavor and color to this French bread based dressing. Spanish sofrito -- onions, green bell pepper, and garlic add a classic earthy base while oregano adds an aromatic punch. Ancho chile powder and Spanish paprika give a warm background in flavor as well as gorgeous color to the whole dish that comes together easily. Bake it off right away for a crispy topping or make it ahead of time and let is sit for a more bread pudding type consistency. The warmth and spiciness of this dressing is sure to spice up and excite even the most boring roast or grilled chickens this winter. Add a side of steamed green beans for a meal. Enjoy!

Chorizo Stuffing
1 lb chorizo sausage (not smoked)
1 white onion, chopped small
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped small
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups cubed French bread (recommend: Whole Foods french bread stuffing bread)
3 cups chicken stock
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp ancho chile powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp Spanish paprika
olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat a large saute pan to medium-high. Squeeze the meat out of the chorizo sausage casings directly into the pan and cook, stirring occasionally until the fat is rendered and the sausage is nicely browned. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and set aside; add some olive oil if needed (or just use any rendered fat left in the pan) and add the onions and green bell pepper to the pan. Season with a little salt and pepper and cook on medium heat until softened, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the sausage and any drippings back to the vegetables and stir to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.

Place the bread in a large mixing bowl. Add the sausage vegetable mixture directly on top of the bread, along with the oregano, chile powder and paprika. Add 2 cups of the stock and mix to combine. Then depending on how soft or crispy you'd like your stuffing, continue adding the rest of the cup of stock until a desired consistency is reached. Less stock = drier stuffing.

Let mixture stand at least 30 minutes for bread to soak up moisture and flavors, preferably an hour.

When ready to bake, transfer stuffing mixture into an oven-safe baking dish (grease it if necessary; ceramic dishes don't need to be greased) and bake uncovered for about 45 minutes or until top is golden and crispy. Serve piping hot.

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