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    Sausage stuffing.

Holiday Home Cooking

By Leigh Dyer

Posted: Friday, Nov. 19, 2010

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The local-food movement brings health benefits, supports local businesses – and makes food tastier. With thanks to Grateful Growers Farm in Denver, we’ve brought you a few holiday recipes that make the most of some locally available ingredients.

Recipes:

Sausage Stuffing

A holiday favorite that’s sure to get raves. You can add or subtract vegetables and fruits based on what’s in season and your own preferences. This is a great recipe for experimenting, and it is scalable to fit the size of the crowd around your table.

1 pound of sausage (available at Grateful Growers Farm)

3-4 loaves of bread, sliced

3-4 stalks of celery, cut in a small dice

4 carrots, small dice

1 whole onion, small dice

5-6 cloves of garlic, minced

2 eggs, beaten

1 stick of butter, melted

5-6 cups of stock (chicken, turkey, pork, or vegetable)

1 cup of mushrooms, small dice (available at Grateful Growers or Landis Gourmet Mushrooms)

1 cup of peeled apples, small dice (available from Davis & Son Orchard)

1 cup of minced kale or collards (available from a variety of local farms)

herbs: sage, thyme, rosemary, to taste salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Crumble and brown the sausage on low-medium heat (covered). Remove the meat from the pan and sautee the vegetables and apples in the sausage drippings until soft.

Toast the bread in the oven. Cut the cooled toast into 1/2 inch cubes and put them in a giant bowl or pan. In a big bowl, beat the eggs then add the cooked vegetables. Add half of the stock and the melted butter and mix it well. Blend in about 2 teaspoons of each herb and about 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Pour the whole thing over the bread cubes and mix it all together. Your hands are the best tools for this. If the mixture is dry, add more stock or warm water. A handful of stuffing should bind together but not drip when you squeeze it. If it’s too wet, add some more toast. Too dry, add more liquid.

Grease a big baking pan with lard, butter or vegetable shortening. Bake covered for 45 minutes, then test. The center of the stuffing should be hot and begin binding together firmly. Bake uncovered for another 15 minutes or so, until the top is browned and begins to get crunchy. Enjoy!

Holiday Ham

This technique produces a “city ham” texture and flavor without the added water, nitrates and preservatives of commercially produced ham. Great for holiday celebrations or amazing sandwiches alike!

Mix together the following (quantities will vary depending on the size of your ham):

Fresh uncured ham (available at Grateful Growers farm)

Sea salt or kosher salt in equal parts with brown sugar to taste

black pepper

optional: other dried herbs like rosemary, thyme, sage, etc. (rubs and brines available on the Grateful Growers website)

Remove the fully thawed ham from its packaging, rinse and pat dry. Liberally coat the entire ham with the rub mixture. Slide the coated ham into a large plastic bag and refrigerate it for 3-4 days (the larger the ham, the longer the rest – roughly 6-8 hours per pound). When ready to cook it, remove the ham from the bag and cook it uncovered at 200 degrees for about an hour per pound. Let it rest for about 10 minutes before carving.

Sausage Soup

1 pound breakfast sausage (available from Grateful Growers Farm)

6-8 cups of chicken, vegetable or pork stock

2 cup of lentils, cooked (you may substitute any cooked bean/legume)

2 cups of white potatoes, finely diced

2 cups of finely minced collard greens, spinach or kale (all vegetables available at a variety of local farms)

1 cup of finely diced carrots, optional

1 cup of finely diced onions, optional

Brown the sausage in a skillet and set aside. Put stock in a pot, add vegetables and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until potatoes begin to soften. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 1-2 hours. If using a crockpot, cook on low for several hours. Add additional liquid (stock or water) as desired. Garnish with a shredded hard cheese or bread crumbs.

Local sources

Here’s a sampling of sources that are likely to have locally-grown produce available. For more local farm listings, check knowyourfarms.com or www.foothillsfresh.com.

Barbee Farms: In Concord. 980-521-1395; www.barbeefarms.net.

Bradford Store: 15915 Davidson-Concord Road, Davidson. 704-439-4303 or www.thebradfordstore.com.

Davidson Farmers Market: Open the first and third Saturdays 9 a.m. – noon in December and the second and fourth Saturdays 9 – 11 a.m. January through April. Next to town hall between Main and Jackson streets. davidsonfarmersmarket.org.

Davis & Son Orchard: 922 North Hwy. 18, Lawndale N.C. 704-276-2647.

www.davisandsonorchard.com.

Grateful Growers Farm: Denver, N.C. www.ggfarm.com or 828-234-5182.

Landis Gourmet Mushrooms: Landis, N.C. 704 202-1216.

Lewis Farm: Fallston, N.C. 704-538-9397 or 704-472-0940.

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