Friday, April 3, 2015

Even Kids With Chicken Pox - Passover Potato Cauliflower Farfel Stuffing

Thursday, Day 22 - If you've ever seen the movie "Demolition Man", you will understand when I state that the very worst of all ear worms come from childhood commercials.  The irony, by the way, is that all those kids with chicken pox who liked Armour hot dogs are now living in fear of coming down with shingles.  I know I am, and I only ate Hebrew National hot dogs as a kid.

One of the cuter commercials periodically invades my brain, if for no other reason that it has to do with chocolate.  Nestle's does not, in my opinion, make the very best chocolate, but circa 1955 they did make the cutest commercials.

Which brings us to Farfel.

No, the other farfel.  Matzo farfel.  Which is matzo that has been broken into uniform sized bits.  Nothing to do with Nestle's or chocolate or canine hand puppets with snapping jaws.  It was matzo farfel that I needed to prepare a proper turkey stuffing for Passover seder, and it was matzo farfel that I could not find in Publix.  With that a fairly major problem, I planned on substituting a cauliflower potato mash-based  stuffing, incorporating the only Passover matzo product I had in the house, which was matzo meal.

Or so I thought.  Turns out that I did have a nice, new, hermetically sealed container of matzo farfel tucked in a safe spot on a different pantry shelf.  So I decided to incorporate both ideas, which resulted in a pretty tasty dish. Along with the potatoes, cauliflower, and matzo farfel, this stuffing includes sautéed onions, celery, garlic, turkey sausage, oven-roasted mushrooms, and a whole lot of seasoning.  The only thing I would change is to reduce the amount of potato and cauliflower to 1 pound each.

1 1/2 pounds petite red potatoes, halved or quartered
1 1/2 pounds cauliflower florets
1/2 stick butter
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper

Boil the potatoes and cauliflower together for about 20 minutes until tender.  Mash together with the butter, salt, and pepper.  Set aside.

1 pound bulk turkey sausage
2 large onions, chopped
3 large stalks celery, chopped
6 cloves garlic
reserved mushroom stems
2 tablespoons roasted garlic olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
handful of fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
Spices: Emeril's Essence, kosher salt, black pepper, granulated garlic, ground ginger, dried thyme, dried rosemary, rubbed sage - to taste
1 pound matzo farfel (about 6 cups)
2 cups water
1/2 stick butter

In a large deep skillet heat the olive oil, then add the sausage.  Break it up as you cook it, then add the onions, celery, garlic, mushrooms and 2 tablespoons butter.  Cook everything together until sausage is no longer pink and the onions are tender.  Stir in the spices and the fresh parsley.  Add the water and 1/2 stick butter;  once the butter is melted, add the farfel.  Stir well until the farfel is moistened.

1 pound whole button mushrooms, stems trimmed level with cap.  Reserve stems
3 tablespoons roasted garlic olive oil
kosher salt
ground mixed peppercorns

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Add the mushroom caps to a baking dish with the oil, salt, and pepper, stir well.  Turn the caps stem-side down and bake for 30-35 minutes.  Turn over and bake 5 minutes longer.  When the mushrooms are cool enough to handle, cut into quarters.

4 extra large eggs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a very large mixing bowl, combine all the above mixtures.  Taste and re-season generously.  Then add the eggs and mix well by hand.  Turn the stuffing into an aluminum baking dish.  Drizzle the top with a little garlic olive oil. Bake until heated through and crispy on top, one to 1 1/4 hours.  Sprinkle with paprika and parsley flakes, and serve to a deeply appreciative audience.

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