Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Grandpa Sainato's Italian Stuffing

Grandpa Sainato's Italian Stuffing

     So sadly I do not remember my grandpa Sainato.  The man with whom I share my birth sake, the man with whom cherished my mother, and as soon as he found out I was born on his birthday ran out and bought a Winnie the Pooh stuffed animal to bring directly to my side.  My grandpa, according to my mother, was a gentle man.  He loved to cook, make wine, drink, smoke, you name it he did it.  I've been told he was more of the cook in the house than my grandmother.  Either way, I feel I have some great genes running threw my blood.  I don't remember this man as he passed away sadly right after my first birthday.  The good thing is that since we shared birthdays, he was able to spend the day at least once with his last grandson. 

     My mother tells the story of how grandpa used to make this stuffing mixture every holiday.  He was a butcher so he had easy access to some good cuts of meat in his younger years.  My uncle has continued to make this stuffing sometimes but I barely, if not at all, remember this delicious combination.  Last Thanksgiving I attempted to make this exact recipe based on what everyone told me was in it.  I even have a coworker with whom her family is also Italian and they made a similar dish as well.  I screwed up with the recipe by accidentally using savory versus sage, using too much bread, too much sausage, etc.  My mother was sure to tell me off the bat, "This just isn't like dad's".

     Fast forward to Thanksgiving 2013 and I was given "permission" to attempt this dish one last time. (I speak with a bit of humor in my voice).  I have that quintessential mother.  You know the one,  "stay out of my kitchen!"  She proclaims proudly.  She has made her turkey, stuffing, green beans, appetizers, sides, etc. etc. etc. the same every year.  "I have my own ways of doing this holiday and I like it that way!"  She states again.  I will give her this much, she allows me to test the waters at times.  One year I attempted to make a batch of pumpkin risotto, enough to feed about 10 people.  The bowl was huge on the end of the table.  Only a few were brave enough to attempt it, but we did at the same time.  Needless to say that bowl of risotto went straight to the trash.  My ego was crushed. 

     Anyways, I digress, as I was saying, my mother does give me chances, but only a couple.  If the dish is not good by the second time then it's no more.  This year I was allowed to attempt Grandpa's stuffing one more time as well as some rolls I found online.  So here goes, Good ole Grandpa Sainato's Italian Stuffing.

  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1/4lb ground Italian sausage
  • 3 slices homemade bread
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 2 stalks celery
  • Few leaves of fresh sage
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2-cup chicken stock
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1-2 eggs
  • Salt/pepper

     The night before you make this dice up your slices of bread into little squares and sit out on a baking pan over night to dry out.  The day of in a large sauté pan melt butter.  Dice up your onion and celery and toss into pan and sauté until translucent and tender.  Remove from pan and sit aside.  In same pan brown your beef and sausage until cooked through.  Drain off some of the fat.  Mix in your garlic, a small bunch of fresh-diced sage, the chicken stock and salt and pepper to taste.  Finally mix in your dried bread until incorporated.  Take your egg, (or two, something to play around with), and mix in with your hands in order to bind all the ingredients.  That's it.  Now all you have to do is stuff into your turkey and cook.  This stuffing is surprisingly very flavorful and loved by everyone.  Hope your watching Grandpa Sainato! Enjoy!

Grandpa and Grandma Sainato and mom


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