Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Stuff it!

Okay, I've been having way too much fun stuff things lately. Now you may wonder what in the heck I'm talking about. I'm talking about stuffing anything, roasts, chicken breasts, pork chops, veggies, whatever with whatever I feel like! It's a little labour intensive but still a lot of fun. Trying to find the right combination of ingredients can be an interesting challenge for the gourmet goddess in me. First you need a good stuffing vessile. Thick pieces of meat work well as do veggies that naturally have hollow areas such as peppers and tomatoes. But you can also hollow out an area in such things as a potatoes, zucchini, eggplants. And then there is also the pile on method that you might use in mushrooms or on bread. Although you could hollow out a loaf of bread and stuff it.

The second thing you need is a good stuffing. Mine usually involve cheese. I rarely use a "starch" (potato, rice, bulgur wheat, couscous, etc) in my meat stuffings but I will use breadcrumbs. I save the 'starch' stuffings for the veggies. I don't know why, it's just my thing. Couscous and bulgur wheat are great stuffings because you just soak them in water and they are good to go. No waiting for cooking and then cooling time like you would need with good rice or potatoes. Add some cheese and herbs and you're done. Or you can get adventurous and add even more veggies. Chopped spinach or broccoli are excellent additions to stuffing, as is onions, mushrooms, grated carrot, tomatoes.

I like to make stuffing for meats out of spreads. Pesto works well. I also have a nice white bean spread made from white kidney beans, basil, garlic and parmesan cheese all pureed in the food processor. Good on a cracker or piece of bread but spread a beef roast cut open with the mixture, tie it back up (cotton butchers twine is a must, you can get it in the grocery store just ask) and you have a company worthy piece of meat. And the next day you can take thinly sliced leftovers on a good bread for lunch!

Cooking method of choice for me is the indirect method. It allows the stuffed item to cook all the way through, or if your stuffing is already mostly cooked, it allows the stuffing to warm all the way through and for the cheese to melt. Delish!

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