Last fall, my friend Kate and I were driving north on the Saw Mill Parkway in New York when she started talking about the meals she makes for her 9-year-old son. “He’s vegetarian-ish,” she said, “but not vegetarian, so I make him really basic things.” Like what? I asked. “Oh, like lentils in bone broth, cheddar-corn pancakes with buttermilk and honey, and of course, Japanese omelets, which I roll and slice like pasta.” Um, yeah, of course!
She’s kind of a genius when it comes to cooking — especially for kids — which makes sense because she teaches popular classes for kids and adults of all ages in my neighborhood. But she seems to have a sixth sense for how to get children interested in trying new things. For instance, last year in one of her Thanksgiving-themed classes for toddlers, she made a classic apple-sage stuffing in muffin tins because she didn’t have access to a large oven and was forced to use a toaster oven. (Attention single-oven Thanksgiving hosts!) “They were such a huge hit with the kids that I make them that way for my own Thanksgiving now,” she told me. She thinks they loved them because it’s a little unexpected and also because she called the single-serving bundles “savory cupcakes.”
She was nice enough to share the recipe with us today. Lucky me, I got to spend Monday morning testing and tasting them, so I can personally attest to how good they are. Especially if you’re the type of stuffing-lover, like me, who appreciates the crispy edges as much as the pudding-ish middle.
Thanks for the recipe Kate!
P.S. If you’re local, Kate will be making the muffins in her next class for adults, this Thursday, November 21. And if you have kids who are interested in learning how to cook, here’ a schedule of her upcoming classes, including one this Sunday, November 24.
Makes 6-8 muffins; recipe can be doubled
Cooking Spray (or butter for greasing)
4 tightly packed cups country white bread, cut into 1/2 –inch cubes
1/4 cup olive oil
Freshly Ground Pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2/3 cup finely chopped celery
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped or smashed with a garlic press
2 teaspoons fresh sage
Small McIntosh apple or 1/2 Granny Smith, peeled, cored and finely chopped
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup vegetable broth
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease muffin-tin with cooking spray or butter. On a baking sheet, toss the bread cubes with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 10 minutes, until toasted. Transfer the cubes to a bowl.
In a large skillet over medium heat, add the butter and remaining olive oil. Add onion and celery and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sage, and cook, stirring, about 1 minute.
Mix the onion mixture, apple, eggs and broth into the croutons. Season with salt and pepper. Let stand for 5 minutes.
Pack stuffing into the muffin cups and bake for about 20-25 minutes, until golden. Transfer to a rack and let stand for 5 minutes. Loosen muffins with a sharp knife and lift them out. Serve warm with gravy.
I made the quickest gravy for these by whisking butter, salt and and flour into hot vegetable broth. Is it weird to have stuffing for breakfast?