Then: At 5:30 a.m. on a Tuesday, I was rattled from my sleep with an idea. The sit-up-straight-out-of-bed kind of idea. Instead of setting up shop at one French cooking school, what if I hopped around the European continent and sampled from a variety of courses in different cities and countries? That's how Culinary Hopscotch was born. Follow me on an epicurean tour of cooking schools in countries around Europe and beyond. I'll be traveling and cooking for about three months, so if you're curious about where I'm headed, just ask. Otherwise, I'll be updating my whereabouts in the Twitter section on the right. The culinary crusade starts on January 29, 2010, and I'll be doing it all in a carry-on.

Now: We live in Portland, a culinary capital in its own right. I man the stove chez nous and plan our meals weekly on a colorful pad from Anthropologie. Things have changed a bit from the old school days of Culinary Hopscotch, but it makes sense (to me) to keep it alive. Look for posts on restaurants we visit, culinary happenings in the news, what's on the menu in our kitchen, and more!

Been There, Cooked That

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Apple Pie Stuffing

Apple Pie Stuffing
Nothing says "Happy Thanksgiving" like stuffing and apple pie, so I figured, 'Why not combine them both together?' I wrote this recipe last year, but in the mayhem of a smallish kitchen, cooking it got put on the back burner, as they say.
One of my favorite things about stuffing is that all you need is your imagination, and some cubed, day-old bread. The rest can literally be a combination of whatever you like. 
Prepped Ingredients

In this recipe, peppered applewood bacon counteracts the sweetness of the apples. And what's a good apple pie without the crust? Here, breadcrumbs, melted butter, and thyme lay the foundation for this melange of flavors and Thanksgiving staples.

Happy Thanksgiving from Culinary Hopscotch...enjoy!

Apple Pie Stuffing

Par-Baked Crust and Stuffing

  • 1 Tbsp. Thyme, chopped
  • 2 1/2 Cups Plain Breadcrumbs, plus 1/4 cup
  • 4 Tbsp. Melted Butter, plus 1 Tbsp. 

  • 1/4 Cup Sweet Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 2 Stalks of Celery, chopped
  • 1 Leek, chopped (white part only)
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil 
  • 3 Sweet Red Apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • Juice of a lemon
  • Dash of Nutmeg, Allspice, and Cinnamon
  • 6 Slices of Applewood Smoked Bacon, crisped and crumbed
  • 1/2 Loaf of Day-Old French Bread, cubed
  • 2 Cups Chicken Stock
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)
Oven-Bake Bacon for Easy Clean-Up
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Drizzle the breadcrumbs and thyme with melted butter. Combine until moistened, but not wet. Press the mixture into the bottom of a metal pie tin and par-bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  3. After prepping the apples, cover them with lemon juice to prevent browning and set aside.
  4. Saute the onion, celery and leek in olive oil with the additional 1 Tbsp of butter over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until tender. Add in the apples, and season with nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon. Continue to saute the mixture until the apples begin to soften, about 5 more minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. In a separate pan, cook the bacon slices until crispy. Drain them on paper towels, and reserve the drippings. When the bacon is cool enough to handle, crumble it.
  6. In a large bowl, toss the saute mixture with the crumbled bacon, cubed bread, and 1 cup of the chicken stock to start. This mixture shouldn't be very wet, so eyeball the consistency and add more if necessary. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Pour the mixture into the crust, and cover with the remaining 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs. Drizzle with the reserved bacon drippings and bake for 45 minutes uncovered.

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