A week or so ago, a friend posted on Facebook about her comfort food answer to a bad cold: Stove Top Stuffing made with apple cider instead of water.
When you consider that the New England area I grew up in in the 1970’s contained several apple orchards, and even a (rather nice) restaurant called “Orchard Grove;” I had never heard of this combination – probably because my dad thought it’d be
spicy or something like that (otherwise, he was a hoooge fan o’ the Stove Top).
So, I found some lovely, thick cut, bone-in pork chops to braise in cider then finish off with a cider barbecue sauce; and set about to try this magical sounding concoction.
And, you know what?
It is not at all bad! My husband even suggested I make this for Thanksgiving.
I think not.
Stove top and cider is fine for a weeknight dinner, or, in Lorrie’s case, a bit o’ feel better comfort food; but, for the BIG DAY? No. My take on my mom’s Sausage Stuffing it is.
I also took the liberty of adding some veggies and additional seasonings, which seemed to be popular with the household.
•Diced sweet onion
•1 tbsp avocado or olive oil
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 cup apple cider
•4 tbsp unsalted butter
•1 box Stove Top Stuffing
*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.
Warm the oil in a sauce pan over medium high heat, then add the celery, onion, garlic, and Sherry Peppers Sauce.
Cook, stirring often, until the veggies are tender – about six or seven minutes.
Transfer the veggies to a ‘wave safe bowl, then add the cider to the pan along with the butter, scraping up and browned and/or blackened bits that may be stuck to the bottom of the pan.
Bring to a simmer, stirring and scraping up those browned and/or blackened bits, until the butter is melted and the cider reduced and thickened a bit – mebbe five or ten minutes more.
A note on those blackened bits on the bottom of the pan: by adding the cider and butter, and simmering to reduce, scraping those bits of flavor up and into the cider, you have also made later clean up a snap. This pan will call for little elbow grease to clean! Wine, brandy, stock, or even water will work, too,though water will not give you a flavor bump.
Cider and butter combined, pan nicely
pre-cleaned, and veggies and stuffing mix in that ‘wave safe bowl; pour the cider mixture over the veggies and stuffing, and stir to combine well.
Cover, and ‘wave according to package instructions. You could also cover and bake according to package instructions, or just stir it all together in that nicely pre-cleaned pan and heat through.
It is all good.
And, I mean that!
What a tasty, terrific hack on packaged stuffing mix!