“Stuffing is savory bread pudding.” That was a showered thought I had the other day. But it definitely holds up. Instead of milk and butter, I am using turkey broth and butter. Make a beer bread, and you have yourself a very similar product that varies differently in flavors. This has nothing to do with anything other than the fact that I thought of posting another stuffing recipe this week. After Thanksgiving, I realized that I definitely needed more stuffing recipes as well as consider doing more bread pudding recipes. I believe this has only been attempted once with Belching Beaver’s Horchata Imperial Stout. So as well go into the new year, expect more bread pudding recipes. For now we shall bake some sour saison stuffing
New Belgium’s Sour Saison encompasses many of the flavor profile that you would find in a typical stuffing recipe. Floral and pine notes with a little bit of that yeasty bread smell. Also, it was available at the shop downstairs instead of the more desired bottle shop 5 blocks away. This farmhouse ale is aged in foeders, which is french for very big oak barrels. It reminded me of my tour at the Pilsner Urquel brewery where I was taken underground to barrels very similar to these foeders.
Why a saison though? I wanted something sweet and aromatic with pine and some sweetness. We could get that with an IPA, but the hops nuke the flavors so that is not a possibility. Lagers aren’t going to be aromatic. Stouts will give us maltiness. I straight up sour will add way too much sweetness. I kölsche could work, but wasn’t an options for me and my needs to be lazy. A sour saison will provide sweetness to the bread and, if eaten alone, might be considered on the sweeter side. However, this is stuffing is going in a turkey. I know that turkey juices are going to be the star of this show. Some of the sweetness will be drowned out by turkey. The stuffing will have thyme and felt that the aroma of the beer provided similar smells. However, the taste of the beer started out with more mouth puckering before any floral piney notes come in. Again, turkey juices.
Saison Stuffing and Turkey Juices
This all comes down to the fact that your turkey dictates flavors in this situation. So the best thing that you can do is compliment your turkey with similar flavors. And that was what our goal was. Something similar to the herbs and spices you would typically find in traditional stuffing recipe. But the sweetness get run over. Even saying that it was subtle would be a lie. There is no sweetness that was once the puckering tart of the saison. All that is left is turkey juices. Luckily our herbs an spices were somewhat complimenting.
I had a call to action in my previous stuffing recipe. I urged anyone who attempted the Reuben’s Pilsner Stuffing to try to stuff it in a turkey. I wanted to know if the turkey juices would overwhelm the sweat flavors. I now know that it could work with something tart and sweet as a cranberry, but something subtle such as the Sour Saison is a no go. That isn’t to say that this isn’t delicious in any way shape or form. This is delectable and I would argue better than our Reuben’s Pilsner stuffing. But the subtle aroma of floral and light sweetness does not win in a situation where turkey juice reins supreme.
- Preheat the oven to 350º F and lightly grease a loaf pan with butter. Sift all the dry ingredients for the bread. Pour in the beer while stirring. Continue stirring. The dough should be lumpy and dense.
- Pour into the loaf pan and place in the oven for 50 minutes. At 50 minutes, add the melted butter and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Pull out of the oven and let cool.
- For Stuffing:
- Once cool, cut the loaf in half and dice one half of the loaf. Chop the celery and onion and thrown onto a pan with the diced bread and bake for 15 minutes. Crank up the temperature to 375º F.
- Take out your now bread crumbs. Add more sage and thyme and salt and pepper to your liking. Pour the melted butter into a bowl with the breadcrumbs along with the turkey broth (extracted from a turkey already cooking for hours). Mix together and stuff in your turkey. Place your bird back into the oven for 35 minutes. Take out your stuffing. Don't let it cook long even if your turkey has some hours to cook. Unless you are going for mushy stuffing.