Quick(er) Chicken and Stuffing
This is a rendition of something Mom does sometimes only I usually choose the easier way, and put it all it one pan – the alternative is to use a cookie sheet and place a piece of chicken on an individual mound of dressing for baking. Depending on how much you need, a cast iron pan is great for size and because it gets the stuffing nice and crispy – but in a big casserole, for extra crispy stuffing, simply bake it on it’s own for a half hour or so before putting the chicken pieces on top. Brock’s Cranberry Sauce is a must with this meal…obviously you can go ‘full turkey dinner’ but the idea is to simplify, so we generally enjoy with some roasted vegetables. I also have to mention that if you’re going to go to the trouble of making stuffing, make a lot – it’s so so tasty leftover with poached eggs on top!
If I’m going to stuff a turkey, I usually double the recipe for the dressing and whatever doesn’t fit in the bird, I cook in a small casserole dish. So many ideas! And such a great way to clear out your freezer of odd bread, bun and bagel bits – enjoy!
Below will nicely fill an 11 x 17 casserole, which should allow for 3 to 5 bone-in chicken breasts (with or without backs attached) to roast on top;
1/2 c. butter AND 2 onions, diced AND 3-4 stalks of celery, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced (I often put the onions, celery and garlic through the food processor, but chunks look more traditional)
1 lb. ground pork (Mom uses diced, well-cleaned gizzards) – I also regularly use chicken sausage (casings removed)
1 t. EACH salt, freshly ground pepper, onion salt, parsley, thyme, rosemary AND ground sage – all of this is to taste, if I have fresh herbs, I use them, and we like our stuffing a little on the salty side
1 large loaf of bread, diced – I have a big salad bowl that I fill and leave on the counter for a couple of days (or whatever) – again, this is s great way to use up crusts and any other odd bits in your freezer
1–2 eggs – for a big salad bowl full of bread, I use 2 eggs
boiling water as needed – or about 1 cup of good strong chicken or turkey broth (my preference)
3–5 good-sized chicken pieces, bone in, skin on
Heat a large skillet and add the butter (or a combo of butter and olive oil). Sauté the onions, celery and garlic with the pork (or sausage) for several minutes until the vegetables are softened and the pork is no longer pink. Add in all of the spices and mix well.
Place the diced bread in a large bowl and add everything in from the skillet. Feel free to let it sit and cool for a bit as it’s easiest to just mix with your hands. Combine everything together and if you’re using older, drier bread, you may need a bit of boiling water to soften it all, but finish it by adding an egg (sometimes 2) to bring it all together. Basically it should be moist, but the cubes of bread should still be quite obvious. Feel free to taste for spices, but I’d recommend doing so before mixing in the egg.
Scrape all of the dressing into a large cast iron pan – or your casserole dish of choice – pressing it in slightly to keep it even. Again, as mentioned above, if it’s a big casserole, consider giving the stuffing a head start on crispiness and bake for 20 to 30 minutes on it’s own before putting the chicken pieces on to roast. Place the chicken pieces on top of the stuffing and lightly oil the skin before sprinkling it all with salt and pepper.
Bake at 400 for about 40 minutes – the internal temperature of the thickest portion of the breast needs to reach 165. Slice into a piece if you’re not sure, or if you don’t have a thermometer, the juices should run clear.
- Category: Chicken, One-pot Meal