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Author Notes: In my family, turkey has always been served with this stuffing. When I was growing up it used to be put inside the turkey but, as the family grew and everyone enjoyed the stuffing more then the turkey, we started making it on the side, finishing it off in the turkey juices while the turkey was resting and being carved. All the meats are cooked so it is very quick to finish it off. Often times we also make it for dinner parties with a roast chicken or on it's own. I think the difference in this stuffing comes from the flavour of the gizzards and the fact that the meats are ground after cooking making the stuffing very crumbly. The stuffing is made with braised pork and gizzards which you can do 2 or 3 days ahead or have it already cooked and frozen. It is best to assemble the stuffing the day before as it needs to rest one day in the fridge otherwise it tends to fall apart when cooking. —Maria Teresa Jorge
- 14 ounces pork loin
- 1 onion
- 6 chicken gizzards, clean
- 2 celery stalks
- 5 sage leaves
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 garlics, green inside part removed and chopped
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 2 carrots
- 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 cup vegetable stock - hot
- 1/8 cup white wine
- 6 black peppercorns
- 5 chicken livers clean and cut up in small pieces
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 big blond onions thinly sliced
- 1/8 cup cognac
- 3 fresh Italian sausages remove the casing
- 7 Italian rustic bread slices, crusts removed
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2 egg yolks
- 12 black olives in water, pitted and diced
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped finely
- 1/3 cup chopped shelled pistacchios
- 1/3 cup pecans, chopped
- 2/3 cup boiled and skinned chestnuts, chopped
- 1/2 lemon - juice
- Sechuan pepper
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- Clean the gizzards of all the skin attached and cut up in pieces. Cut the pork loin in medium sized cubes.
- Braising the meat: Chop the onion, celery and cut the carrots in big pieces. Put all the vegetables in a sautee pan with 1/4 cup olive oil, the sage leaves, the rosemary sprig, the bay leaf and the peppercorns.
- When the olive oil starts to sizzle add the gizzards and the pork, brown the meat, stirring once or twice. When brown all over add the white wine, allow the alcohol to evaporate and then add the vegetable stock. Stir, cover, lower the heat to the minimum and let it braise for 20 minutes, stirring once in a while. Uncover and allow to cool.
- Livers: Slice the onions and sweat them in the butter over medium heat for about 15 minutes. Add the chicken livers, brown them. Allow to cool in a bowl.
- In the same frying pan, no need to wash it, add a drizzle of olive oil and fry the sausage meat crumbling it with the back of a wooden spoon. Remove and add to the bowl with the liver.
- While the meats are cooling, chop up with a knife the pistacchios, the pecans and the chestnuts (don't use a processor because they will be either too small or part big and part small). Set aside. Chop the olives in pieces and set aside.
- Cut up the bread in medium pieces, add the milk and allow to soak. The bread has to be at least a day old and depending on the type of bread and how humid the dough is, you may need more or less milk. The bread should soak up the milk completely and neither be floating in milk or have any dry parts.
- Remove the pork and gizzards from the pan and put in a food processor. Discard the vegetables. Pulse 7 or 8 times, you want the meat to be grainy and not pureed. Add the liver with the onions and the sausage and pulse 4 or 5 more times. Don't over do it. Take the meats out of the food processor and put in a big bowl.
- In the food processor (no need to wash it) add the soaked bread, squeezing out any excess milk, add the 2 egg yolks, 2/3 of the boiled chestnuts and puree well. If the mixture is too dry add a little extra milk.
- Add the bread and chestnut puree to the bowl with all the meats, add the parsley, nuts and remaining chestnuts and mix with your hands very well to combine all the ingredients together. Season with salt and Sechuan pepper (it adds a little lemon taste) and some lemon juice. Taste and rectify the seasoning to your liking.
- Make a ball with the stuffing and on a countertop roll it into a log form on breadcrumbs. As the meats are crumbly and not pureed, keep pressing the mixture together. Put the meat on an aluminium foil and roll the foil around, pressing together the mixture. Chill 6 hours or overnight
- Take the stuffing out to room temperature at least 1 hour and then cook it in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees F in the turkey juices, basting the stuffing while it browns. Remember the stuffing is already cooked, it needs to warm up and get some flavour from the turkey.
- If you decide to make this stuffing for a meal, cook it with some olive oil and orange juice, it will taste very nice on its own.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Thanksgiving Stuffing