What a difference two years make. Or one year for that matter. Two years ago I wrote about the big stuffing-off. My oyster stuffing against the famous Grandma Puleo’s Italian stuffing. It was a landslide. From that contest I knew I would be making Grandma’s stuffing for the rest of my life! Then last year, Michael was in rehab for Thanksgiving. However, that did not stop me from making the Grandma’s stuffing.
I’m going to tell you a secret. Something I did last year. For which there will now forever be a poster of me. Here it is.
My son loved tradition, and Thanksgiving was no exception. He wanted to have my dinner so much that he did not even want to eat the treatment center’s special holiday meal. Instead, he asked John and I just to bring sandwiches for us to share. What I decided to do next is what made his day.
We pull up to the guard booth. After pleasantries, he asked if we were bringing anything in. I said we were bringing in sandwiches, as that is what Michael wanted. He asked if what we were bringing was sealed. I hesitated ever so slightly and said, “Well, yes. Yes they are”. The guard opened the gate and we drove through.
At the picnic table (which was by the guard booth I might add!) I pulled out the sandwiches. Glancing around and surveying the area, I then pulled out these tin foil “sealed” packets. I handed one over to Michael, who unfolded the “sealed” packet and to his delight found inside a tiny dutch oven filled with heavenly Grandma Puleo’s stuffing.
As he was slowly savoring every single bite, I kept looking around. John and Michael started to laugh at me. In my anxiety of having told a fib I pleaded with Michael to hurry up and eat the dang thing. He then looked over at John’s stuffing and asked if he was going to finish it. John slid the dish over to him and looked up suddenly. “Dina, the guard is coming over!” Jumping slightly, I looked over my shoulder and heard John and Michael laughing. I turned to them and said if they didn’t quickly eat the stupid food, I was going to throw everything away. Which sent them in another fit of laughter.
I recently told Michael’s counselor about the stuffing incident. She is now calling me the Stuffing Smuggler, and is making a poster of me to put up on the walls. I will again make the stuffing this Thanksgiving and be thankful for all my great memories and the new ones yet to come with my family.
Until next time, happy creating.
Grandma Puleo’s Stuffing (Dressing)
Slight Adaption by Dina Puleo
Note: Every year Grandma Puleo made this stuffing. I was given her recipe so I could carry on the tradition for my husband and our family. I do not stuff my turkey, as I like putting aromatics inside the cavity. If you do stuff the turkey make sure you insert an instant-read thermometer into the center of stuffing to make sure it has reached 165°F. If it has not, and your turkey is done, just put it in a microwave-safe bowl and cook it on high until it reads 165°F.
Note 2: If not stuffing the turkey, this recipe can be made a day ahead. Once baked, allow cooling before covering and placing in the refrigerator.
1 ½ pounds ground beef*
½ pound sausage meat* (I use mild sweet Italian sausage either store bought or homemade)
1 loaf Italian bread
1 teaspoon salt
1 boiled egg, chopped into small pieces
¼ pound Italian ham, diced (I like using Capocollo)
¼ pound provolone, diced
¼ pound grated parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350°
Fry ground beef and sausage until no longer pink. Drain and set aside.
Break up pieces of the Italian bread loaf and put in a blender. Pulse to make breadcrumbs. Place breadcrumbs in a large bowl and add the fried meat and salt. Combine well.
Add to the bread mixture the boiled egg, ham, and provolone. Mix well. Add the raw eggs and grated cheese to the mixture and thoroughly combine. If stuffing mixture is too dry, mix in another egg.
Put Stuffing in a 13 x 9 pan. Place in oven and bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until cooked through.
Or if stuffing the turkey – stuff the turkey once the mixture is cold.
*This also works well with 1 pound of ground beef and 1 pound of Italian sausage.