November 21, 2017

Stuffing Muffins

It doesn't matter if you know the muffin man. It matters
that he knows himself.
Thanksgiving times are upon us, which means that it's time to break out the most treasured of all holiday traditions: lying to each other about how good the food is. Because let's be honest here. A lot of classic Thanksgiving food is somewhere between unimpressive and super gross. You've got marshmallows melted on to overcooked yams, green bean casserole that pretty much comes out of a can, and usually some stuffing that amounts to dried out crusty bits of bread loosely held together by a mass of onions and disappointment. Which is a shame, because it really isn't that hard to make some delicious stuffing. And I should know, because I made some this morning. The whole process took about 45 minutes from start to finish, and at no point did I feel like my mouth had turned into a desert fortress from which escape is impossible, which isn't always the case with stuffing. Making it into individual muffins is a fun twist that makes everything self-contained and helps ensure that everybody actually gets some. Also it'll help you deceive your friends and family into thinking that you're creative and whimsical.


Approx. 8 Cups of Bread (You've got some decent leeway here. Use something hearty, but really whatever bread makes you happy. Tear it into chunks, throw 8 cups of them in there, and be merry)
2 Eggs 
4 Crimini Mushrooms
3 ribs Celery
1 standard-issue Onion
1.5 TBSP chopped Parsley
2 tsp rubbed Sage
1 tsp dried Thyme
1/4 tsp Black Pepper

The first thing you're gonna need to do is learn to ignore people. Because undoubtedly there are already people constructing angrily worded letters about how stuffing is only "real" if it's stuffed into a turkey, and that otherwise you should call it "dressing." It's easy to get angry or annoyed with these people, but remember that they serve an important role in the evolution of our species. Without having obviously terrible people to be a focus for our communal rage and disgust, those feelings would fester and eventually turn into something negative, like dysentery or a world war. Once you've blocked out the voices, it's time to grab your bread. A lot of stuffing recipes start off by having you toast the bread to dry it out. We're not doing that. We're doing the opposite of that. Moisten your bread with a little bit of water until it starts sticking together just a little bit, and set it aside. You don't want it to be soaked and gloppy, so be careful with it.

Just look at those things. I can practically hear a drunk uncle
ruining a pleasant family moment already.
Now dice your onion and sauté it over medium heat along with an average sized human's pinch of salt. Let it cook down for about a minute. You can use that minute to chop up your celery, because now it's time to add it in with the onions and cook them for another 2-3 minutes. Then choppity chop up your mushrooms and add them in along with your thyme, black pepper, and another pinch of salt. It should take about 2 minutes for some of the moisture to cook out of the mushrooms and for the whole thing to start smelling crazy good. Take your vegetable mixture and stir it into your bread along with your parsley, eggs, and one final pinch of salt. Buy or steal a standard muffin pan and grease up the cups before filling them with your bread and vegetable mixture. Pack it in there and try to overstuff them a little bit if you can (you can). Throw those suckers into a 375 degree oven and let them cook for 15-20 minutes, until they start to get a little crispy on top and your entire home smells like condensed holiday awesomeness. Then take them out of the oven, take them out of the pan, and serve them. Or make them ahead of time in which case wait until your actual meal, heat them up, and then serve them. Bonus points if you don't make up an obnoxious cutesy name for them like "stuffins." Happy holidays!