Saturday, October 1, 2011
Vegan Mofo #1 - Colleen’s Apple, Cranberry and Sausage Stuffing...
Vegan Mofo #1 - Colleen’s Apple, Cranberry and Sausage Stuffing
The Book - "Color Me Vegan"
The Author - Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
The Recipe - Apple, Cranberry and Sausage Stuffing
Page # 30
Difficulty - Easy
Duration - Roughly 10-15 minutes prep time, 45-60 minutes bake time
Since we’ve taken a rather abrupt head-dive into fall here in the Midwest over the past couple of weeks, and the holidays are coming quick upon us I thought I’d start off Vegan Mofo with something seasonally appropriate. Stuffing! Or as it’s apparently called in many parts of America for reasons I’ve not yet figured out Dressing.
It seems like everyone and their mother has a stuffing recipe, sometimes they have more then one, and every single person I know LOVES it! Stuffing was usually the most anticipated, and most coveted dish at my house on Thanksgiving, and it always seemed to be the dish that holiday goers raved about long into the night. I however hated stuffing. Growing up I never liked it, wouldn’t even deem it worthy of eating. I think this had a lot to do with the fact that A) I was a picky eater. B) It always looked like mush, and C) Something about ground pork and grease cooked with onion and bread then stuffed into the cavity of a bird just didn’t appeal to me.
Throughout my life it was always said that my Mother made the best stuffing, though I never knew it. People raved about it, and rarely was there much left over at the end of our Thanksgiving festivities. As I got older I thought, all this raving must mean something and so when I was about 19 or 20 I finally decided to give stuffing a try. Much to my surprise it was really good, and I fell in love with this dish that I once hated with such passion. Except of course after that I would only eat my Mom’s stuffing, as every other stuffing seemed to pale in comparison. Her’s truly was the best. It was rich, flavorful, well seasoned, not to wet, not to dry and had a little bit of kick. A regular bread stuffing just couldn’t compare, neither could sausage stuffing which I could never wrap my head around, probably because I never liked Italian sausage, or really most sausage in general.
After I married my husband and moved to the Midwest I realized two things. 1) Celebrating American thanksgiving just wasn’t going to work for me. It’s one of those holiday’s that while I can recognize that it holds much meaning for others just doesn’t hold any for me. I knew that even though I know longer lived in Vancouver, I would still continue to observe the traditions of Canadian Thanksgiving. 2) That meant I needed to make my mom’s stuffing! My husband loved stuffing too, and I knew he’d never had anything as good as my mom’s so I wanted to really blow him away on our first Canadian Thanksgiving together. I called my mom explained that I absolutely needed her stuffing recipe and she graciously recited it over the phone. That’s the great thing about my mom, she doesn’t covet recipes, she’s not a jealous person if you want a recipe she’ll give it to you in a pinch. Probably because she knows she can probably make it better anyway... haha...
So I happily made the stuffing, my husband and my in-laws were all blown away, and all night long I received the most glorious compliments on the dinner I’d put together. I threw a perfect thanksgiving, I made the stuffing brilliantly just like my mom’s all thanks to her secret ingredient which is neither sausage nor ground beef, and her delicate spicing combination which includes a few herbs I often see left out of stuffing recipes. That is how Thanksgiving went for a few years until I went Vegan. This will be my first Canadian Thanksgiving as a Vegan, and I’m looking forward to it, but for much of the year I’d been wondering what I would do for stuffing. Even though we wouldn’t have a turkey obviously it seems a terrible crime not to still have the stuffing. Yet since I was such a long-lived stuffing hater I thought no vegan stuffing - a stuffing minus my mom’s secret ingredient which is of course meat based - could compare. I assumed I would simply revert back to hating stuffing.
Then I got my hands on a copy of Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s book "Color Me Vegan" in which she had a recipe very similar to my mom’s recipe - minus the meat of course - and I thought "Well maybe there’s hope after all?" What made me think it was going to be okay was the fact that she used apples and cranberries two things I already used in stuffing, as well as Field Roast Italians style Sausages. Now as I’ve said before I rarely eat soy or wheat based meats, but I’d had Field Roast before and knew they were the creme de la creme of meat substitutes. Flavor and texture-wise I knew they were delicious and satisfying not to mention hearty, and so I thought to myself. "This recipe might just work!"
And of course it did! As if Colleen would ever let me down! Her Apple Cranberry and Sausage stuffing is magic in a baking dish. When you cook it it smells like Thanksgiving! The aroma is so rich and thick it fills your whole house with warmth and holiday spirt. I remember when it was baking my husband and I were standing near to the stove, lips smacking, and a little bit of drool running out in eager anticipation for the stuffing. I can happily say we were not disappointed by the taste or the texture either. Honestly, even minus the meat, or rather minus my mom’s secret ingredient it tasted like stuffing. Not just any stuffing mind you, a divine stuffing! It was truly wonderful. It wasn’t too wet, nor to dry, and it packed a powerful flavor that was very similar and reminiscent of my mom’s stuffing.
We devoured almost the entire dish. How could we not with that sweet and heady aroma of herbs, bread and fruit all baked together in a ‘buttery’ broth. This is a stuffing dish I’m sure even omnivores can appreciate. The Italian sausage isn’t over-powering, meaning it doesn’t have that overly wheaty taste many meat subs do, probably because she only uses four links and there are so many other components. The only alteration I made to the dish is that I also included savory which I used to always put into my stuffing recipes. To me stuffing just isn’t stuffing without savory. I also used two granny smith apples instead of one and omitted the walnuts because my husband hates them. All in all it was a hit, and I know it’s going to be a great accompaniment to my Thanksgiving Dinner this year, as I’m sure it would be a welcome addition to any of your own holiday festivities. It’s the perfect addition to any fall or winter family gathering, and I just know you’ll have omni’s complimenting you.
I strongly urge you to go out and purchase a copy of "Color Me Vegan" not only for this recipe but for all the wonderful recipes Colleen has to offer, along with the wealth of helpful information she always packs into her books. Her books are always a tremendous resource, and have been invaluable to me as I’ve made my transformation to being vegan.
Also if I might make another suggestion? If you do make this stuffing I suggest serving it alongside Vegan Yum Yum’s "Candied Lime Sweet Potatoes" which is what I did and it was divine. More about those Sweet Potatoes later today!