The Saratoga Farmers’ Market maintains a diverse group of vendors during the winter season, bringing everything from vegetables, apples, meat and dairy items to locally-made prepared foods, such as fresh-baked bread, sweets, jam, pickles, hot entrees and more.
This recipe for stuffing uses ingredients from a wide range of vendors. The ingredients are not set in stone; you can be flexible in terms of what you choose to incorporate. While the directions call for sausage from one of the market’s meat farmers (choose beef, pork, or mutton sausage as suits your style), you could substitute a generous amount of sautéed shiitake and oyster mushrooms, also available at the market, for a vegetarian version of this dish.
Leafy, colorful chard is grown in climate-controlled, high-tunnel shelters during the winter, with the farms harvesting it right from the ground during the day before the market, for maximum freshness. Fresh basil also comes to the market all winter, grown hydroponically in a greenhouse.
Crusty bread is available from a few vendors, baked in brick or stone ovens. It is terrific in this stuffing recipe, softened by milk, also available at the market. Talk to the cheese vendors to find a style of hard, grating cheese similar to Parmesan, for this dish.
This recipe pairs well with a simple roasted market chicken or grilled grass-fed steak, or let the stuffing shine as the main dish and add some roasted root vegetables and a large salad to round out the meal.
Despite a long winter, fresh, locally-grown and produced food is available each Saturday at Saratoga Farmers’ Market in the Saratoga Spa State Park’s magnificent Lincoln Baths building. Bundle up, venture out, and discover the fun of buying food directly from the people who grew it or made it.
Stuffing with Sausage and Chard
*Ingredients can be purchased at the market
6 cups farm-style or French bread*, cut or torn into chunks
1 1/2 cups milk* (skim or lowfat is fine)
1 bunch Swiss chard*
1 pound sausage* (beef, pork, or mutton)
1 clove garlic* minced
1 medium onion* chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 cup chopped parsley*
Red pepper flakes (optional)
3/4 cup grated Parmesan-style cheese*
½ cup fresh basil* chopped
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place bread chunks in a large bowl. Cover with milk and let stand for half an hour. Stir bread mixture occasionally.
Wash and pat dry the chard. Separate the stems from the leaves. Slice the stems as you would celery; tear the leaves into rough pieces.
Place a large pot over medium-high heat. Add sausage (without the casings) breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks. After 10 to 15 minutes, once meat is browned, drain fat.
Add chard stems, garlic, onion, celery, parsley, and a shake or two of hot red pepper flakes (if desired). Cook, stirring often, about 7 minutes, until vegetables are lightly browned and beginning to soften.
Add chard leaves and 1/3 cup of water stir over medium heat about 5 minutes. Turn off heat. Add bread to sausage and vegetable mixture, then add Parmesan, basil & rosemary. Season with salt and pepper.
Place stuffing into a 9 x 13 pan. If you like your stuffing moist, cover the dish with foil; otherwise, leave it uncovered so it becomes crusty as it bakes.
Bake stuffing until hot and lightly brown (at least 30 minutes).