I make several versions of this stuffed French bread, and find it a very handy technique for feeding a large group of people. The loaves can be stuffed in advance, but to serve them hot, be sure to allow extra time at a lower temperature if you begin with a chilled loaf. This is also an excellent picnic item—just be sure to keep it chilled until ready to slice and eat. And be sure to take along plenty of extra Dijon mustard.
Cut the ends off the loaf of bread and, with your fingers, pull out the soft insides of the bread, making a shell. Using a food processor, make bread crumbs from the inside of the loaf and set them aside, along with the ends of the loaf.
Saute the onion in a little olive oil until it is soft and transparent. Add the sausage or lamb and sauté it with the onions, using a fork to keep it crumbly. When it is nearly done, add the garlic and sauté for another two minutes. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Mix together the egg, the mustard and the parsley (and rosemary, if using) and add it to the meat mixture, along with the bread crumbs. Toss the mixture together quickly and lightly. Season with salt and pepper and let cool until it is easy to handle.
Fill the inside of the hollowed loaf of bread with the sausage mixture, packing it in fairly tightly. Place the ends on the loaf and, if necessary, hold them in place with toothpicks. Melt the butter in a saucepan, remove it from the heat, stir in the remaining Dijon, and brush the surface of the loaf with the butter. Wrap the loaf in aluminum foil and bake in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes.
Let the loaf rest for five minutes before serving in thick, 1-1/2" slices, with plenty of Dijon mustard on the side. This loaf is also delicious served cold.
Copyright 1996 by Michele Anna Jordan, author of The Good Cook's Book of Mustard. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.
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