Stuffin’ Ain’t Easy

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You might not believe this, but every year for the past few years I’ve brined and roasted a
turkey right around the time Thanksgiving rolls around. Sometimes a week before. Sometimes a couple weeks after. But I’ve never made turkey on Thanksgiving
Day.

Why not?

Well, two reasons really: my Mother-in-law and my
Grandmother. Every other T-day, my wife
and I are either at her parents’ house to celebrate, or at my grandparents’
house to celebrate (this year we will be at my grandparents—more on that in the
next post to come). So because my wife
and I alternate between our respective families every year, there really isn’t
much reason for me to cook a turkey since my mother-in-law and grandmother do
such a good job with it.

So why do I cook a
turkey at all?

Well, another two reasons: It makes me feel alls growed up,
and it’s good practice for the one day where my wife and I may have to host
Thanksgiving. Now, I’ve made one of
these pre/post-Thanksgiving turkeys once before for my family, and that didn’t
turn out too well
. So I’ve stuck to just
making a small turkey for only me and my wife. Not because my turkey isn’t good enough for others to enjoy, but because
my family is a heartless and impatient bunch. Hmmph!

Anyways, every year my wife and I get to feast on two
different turkeys (the turkey I make and the turkey made by the designated
maternal figure for that year) within the span of a few days. That’s a lot of turkey! And even though I get the smallest gobbler I
can find (10-12 lbs.), there are still a lot of leftovers for just me and my
wife.

With the annual surplus of turkey looming, I was almost
gonna take this year off and rest from my self-imposed turkey trials because I’m
just burned out. But then I started
getting different ideas to make this year’s non-Thanksgiving meal a bit
different. Ideas like mashed Ube and
gravy (gross!), or Adobo Turkey (tempting, but that’s a lot of soy and vinegar!).

Then, while making my Mango and Pan de Sal Bread Pudding, the
dried-out cubes of Pan de Sal caused the flickering lightbulb thingy above my
head to go off again: Pan de Sal and Longanisa Stuffing!

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Every November I see so many stuffing recipes comprised of cornbread
and sausage, French bread and sausage, challah bread and sausage, any bread and
sausage. So Pan de Sal and longanisa
stuffing isn’t that much of a stretch. A
natural progression, I say! And luckily,
I’ve still got some homemade longanisa in my freezer.

Although I’ve got some decent experience in bringing a juicy
turkey to the dinner table, I’ve never in my life made stuffing. 99% of the stuffing that I’ve consumed in my
lifetime has been made by my wife, my mother-in-law, my mom, or my
grandma. And all of these aforementioned
ladies do not make a stuffing from scratch, they all make their stuffing from a
box of Mrs. Cubbison’s. Don’t get me
wrong, there’s nothing wrong with stuffing out of the box. I love the stuff. I grew up on it. Mmmm, Mrs. Cubbison. A tasty lass is she!

Anyhoo, even though I look forward to getting a taste of
Mrs. C every year, I theorized that my riff on a traditional bread and sausage
stuffing would be a worthwhile endeavor. (And besides, I’m going to have Mrs.
Cubbison’s stuffing at my grandmother’s in a couple of days!).

Before I get to my recipe, I have to make a disclaimer and say
that technically speaking, I made a “dressing” and not a “stuffing” since I
didn’t actually stuff the mixture into my turkey. But I’m still calling it a stuffing because I
think of “dressing” as the stuff that goes on salad. Also, my recipe is for a 9×9 baking dish, but
I’m sure it can be doubled for more servings in a 13×9 baking dish.

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And yes, you can stuff the stuffing into a turkey if you
wish, but I am firmly entrenched in the anti-turkey stuffing camp for the
following reasons:

  • Shoving stuffing up a turkey’s backside leads to a longer
    cooking time because there is more mass to cook.
  • Longer cooking time leads to a dry turkey.
  • If you don’t cook the stuffed bird long
    enough, you may have a juicy bird but you will also have a glob of
    salmonella-infused bread and sausage. Yum-o!

After a lifetime of Mrs. Cubbison’s, I always assumed that a
homemade stuffing would be a difficult task to attempt. I was wrong. Despite the title of this post, stuffin’ is indeed, easy. It might be a bit time-consuming, but it
ain’t hard.

Pan de Sal and Longanisa Stuffing

1/2 pound Pan de Sal rolls (about 4-5 rolls), cut into 1/2-inch cubes and left out to dry overnight
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 pound longanisa sausage, casings removed
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 oz. dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 30 mins then drained and chopped
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, chopped fine
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup homemade turkey stock (or storebought chicken stock)
2 eggs, beaten
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Add the pan de sal to a large mixing bowl.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the longanisa to the pan and cook until golden brown.  Using a slotted spoon, remove longanisa from pan and add to mixing bowl with the pan de sal.

Add all of the vegetables to the pan and saute until onions become translucent, about 5 minutes.  Transfer vegetables to mixing bowl with pan de sal and longanisa.

Return saute pan to the heat and add the 1/2 cup of wine to deglaze, making sure to scrape the brown bits from the pan.  Turn heat off, and transfer deglazed pan liquid to the mixing bowl.  Add the turkey stock to the mixing bowl and gently mix contents (try not to break up the bread cubes).

Add the eggs and salt and pepper to the mixing bowl and continue to mix contents until eggs are incorporated, use your hands to mix if necessary.  Place the stuffing mixture into a 9×9 baking dish and cover dish with foil.  Place baking dish in oven and bake for 1 hour.  After an hour, remove foil and continue to bake for 15 minutes or until top of stuffing has browned nicely.

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Another disclaimer: I’m going to be honest with you, my Pan
de Sal and Longanisa Stuffing was pretty darned good, especially with the additions
of the meaty shiitakes and fragrant ginger. But this stuffing was mostly good on its own. It didn’t play well when drenched with turkey
gravy—I’m one of those dudes that drenches everything in gravy.

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Maybe I’m too used to good ol’ Mrs. C, but the vinegary bite
of the longanisa and the kick of ginger in my stuffing just clashed with my gravy. I’m beginning to think that a Turkey Adobo
wouldn’t have been a bad idea afterall, and probably would have paired
perfectly with this stuffing. The adobo sauce would be an excellent gravy for this stuffing.  Perhaps
I’ll give that idea a whirl next year, but I wouldn’t adobo-ize an entire
turkey. Maybe I could just buy some
turkey breasts or thighs and use my usual chicken adobo recipe on the turkey
parts rather than the whole. Oh, well. There’s always next year.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone! And stay tuned to see how my family gets down
on Turkey Day, or should I say, Pig Day. Hmmm…

  • Manggy November 20, 2007, 11:02 pm

    Wow, that looks mighty tasty! Kudos for yet another inspired interpretation. I don’t think I ever want to roast a large turkey though. Maybe a large chicken. In any case, the brown skin looks delicious. (that’s what she said – ew.)
    Gravy clashing with the stuffing? Why not shift it sideways into Filipino territory with Lechon Sauce? Yum-O!

    Reply
  • joey November 20, 2007, 11:39 pm

    I have lost track of the number of times I laughed out loud while reading this post :) A visit here is always in order when I’m feeling overworked and stressed!
    This stuffing sounds really, really, really good! I could probably put some in a bowl, forget everything else, and eat it as is! Another ingenius Filipino dish by you…love it! I look forward to adobo turkey next year :)

    Reply
  • dhanggit November 21, 2007, 12:24 am

    i remember it was yesterday (or the other day) Manila Market wrote about fried chicken..i wanted to leave a comment i love fried chicken but Roasted Chicken are definitely the best..(i hesitated of course) good thing you made this post..i will finally have my own feast of the eyes…your photos are “finger lickin good”…yummy!!

    Reply
  • Jen Tan November 21, 2007, 12:38 am

    Genius!!! Looks sooo delicious!!! I’ve never seen longganisa used that way! How do you come up with these crazy yet oh sooo yummy recipes?

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  • Mila November 21, 2007, 12:46 am

    As you know who says, Yummo! Maybe a sage infused longganisa with the pandesal would make this even more of a fusion combination. Hmmm, you can either tackle adobo-izing the turkey or adjust the longga so it won’t clash. Not sure which one is easier to tweak. But your plate makes me feel sleepy, all that natural tryptophan or whatever it is in the turkey. Sigh another reason to want Lickable computer screens. Or at least scratch and sniff.

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  • Krizia November 21, 2007, 2:50 am

    aww hellz naw! is this what i’m missing out on in the Burnt Lumpia festivities?? I’m jealous since I will probably never have the patience to make something like this. Ain’t no nearby pan de sal digs in Berkeley, and I am not about to make some out of scratch. Maybe when I’m old and married like you (just kidding about the old part :) . I make turkey adobo w/ our leftover turkey EVERY YEAR. Just make some w/ the leftovers if you’re craving it! It’s so easy and tasty. Let it marinate for a long ass time over low ass heat or else you’ll overcook the meat! And hand-shred the turkey into thin strips before you throw it in the pot. Turkey-slice adobo = ew. This over freshly steamed white rice = heaven.

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  • Ruy November 21, 2007, 4:58 am

    Haha! Mashed ube and gravy! Seriously though, I have a feeling your ingenious longanisa-pandesal cretion might work with your orange lumpia sauce.=)

    Reply
  • Katrina November 21, 2007, 8:22 am

    Never mind the turkey — I’m not a fan. But stuffing, whether with fruits, nuts, sausage, or out of a box, I adore! And yours sounds delicious. Joey’s right, I could just eat this stuffing on its own. Oh, how I miss stuffing. That and pumpkin pie are the only reasons I wish we celebrated Thanksgiving.

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  • Julie November 21, 2007, 10:41 am

    1. Dude, where’s the rice?
    2. I drench food in gravy, too–especially rice.
    3. This makes a Filipina American proud.
    4. Turkey adobo sounds totally intriguing! I say to it–if not this year, then maybe next for your turkey experiment.
    5. Now I want me some stuffing. I didn’t have stuffing until I was about 16, and it was Stovetop. I think my parents have had a box of Mrs. C’s sitting around for a few years, though. Hmm …

    Reply
  • Wandering Chopsticks November 21, 2007, 10:47 am

    Happy Thanksgiving! Whoa 10-lbs of turkey for just you and your wife and still a lot!

    Reply
  • oggi November 21, 2007, 11:24 am

    Reading your funny post helps me relax and take off some of the stress I’m having at the moment cooking all day, the only thing left to cook tomorrow is Tom.:D
    Love your stuffing, must try that with chicken.

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  • desie the maybahay November 21, 2007, 1:08 pm

    ha ha. will definitely try this tasty idea on some chicken.

    Reply
  • dhanggit November 22, 2007, 1:21 am

    Happy thanksgiving!! (erratum:oops i mean roasted turkey :-) sorry im sometimes dyslexic :-) in writing and speaking LOL

    Reply
  • Dave November 22, 2007, 6:25 am

    Best darn turkey I’v seen this side of the Mississippi. Looks good enough to eat.

    Reply
  • Janice November 22, 2007, 10:37 am

    my mom makes miracles with leftover turkey…after Thanksgiving lunch, she takes leftover shreds of turkey and makes it into chicken sopas at night. later on the week, turkey marinara or fried rice.
    …i still have yet to see a stuffed turkey.

    Reply
  • Cynthia November 23, 2007, 5:16 pm

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post, Marvin and I do understand your turkey try-outs. Good prepartion for when the tradition will be that you and your wife hosts the family.

    Reply
  • Sara November 27, 2007, 8:30 pm

    Dude. It’s all about that lechon.
    Every time I bring a white kid home (my boyfriend excluded. Homie’s Polish, which I’ve determined is the Philippines of central Europe)they get horrified when they see gordy sitting right in the middle of the table with an apple in his mouth… that is, until they taste his delectable insides. Then they eat so much they get drowsy…
    … And easily tempted to a bowl of chocolate meat.

    Reply
  • Burnt Lumpia November 28, 2007, 2:41 pm

    Lechon sauce, Manggy? That’s not a bad idea at all! Thanks.
    I’m glad I could relieve some of your stress Joey!
    Thanks dhanggit. It’s always a tough choice between fried and roast chicken.
    Hi Jen. Not really sure how I come up with my ideas. They just happen;)
    Hi Mila. I thought about adding the usual herbs of sage and rosemary to my stuffing, but was unsure of how they would play with the longanisa.
    What up Krizzy Kriz? There MUST be some kind of Asian grocery store up in Berzerkley! Great idea with the leftover turkey adobo.
    I think you might be right, Ruy. Those flavors may be meant for each other.
    Thanks Katrina! You know, you don’t need much reason to celebrate Thanksgiving. Just go ahead and do it!;)
    Hi Julie. Although I didn’t make any rice, there was plenty of it over at my grandma’s for T-day. More on that soon…
    Hey Dub C. Yes, 10 lbs. is a lot for us. But not a drop of it is wasted. I make sure we eat it all and use the carcass for stock.
    Hi oggi. I hope your t-day wasn’t too stressful;)
    Thanks desie! It would go wonderfully with chicken.
    Thanks again dhanggit!
    Thank you Dave.
    Hi Janice. There are so many things one can do with leftovers aren’t there?
    Hi Cynthia. Yes, I do like to think of it as practice. Someday we hope to be the hosts.
    Sara, the Philippines of central europe?!! I died laughing from that. Great call, I will always refer to Poland as that now! And yes, my white wife is now a lechon convert.

    Reply
  • Ed November 28, 2007, 2:55 pm

    To Kriz up in Berkeley, my old stompin’ grounds (Go Bears!):
    Is Musashi’s (Dwight and Shattuck) still around? A small grocery store, for sure, but it’ll do in a pinch. No pan de sal though.
    Of course, there’s always 99 Ranch Market in El Cerrito/Richmond (they have pan de sal for sure), as well as Oakland Chinatown – just get off at the 12th St exit on BART. Hope this helps.

    Reply
  • drjeff November 29, 2007, 8:14 am

    best thing abt turkey for me is left over turkey and stuffing for turkey sandwiches:)

    Reply
  • Maria Llegar June 26, 2008, 11:33 am

    I also have used challah bread for stuffing, often in the past. I actually loved the bread so much that I started to buy large quantities from Holy Food Imports (www.holyfoodimports.com) because I have such a large family, and we love the high quality of the products from HFI.

    Reply
  • Thanksgiving Menus November 9, 2012, 5:41 am

    Thanksgiving Filipino style <3, Filipino’s are known to be one of the greatest cooker at all times, when I was a teenager we got a Filipino nanny and promise shes good in cooking hate to admit but she’s really better than my mother, I love the way you plate your thanksgiving dishes they are all looks like so delicious.

    Reply

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