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Your top three "must-have" stuffing ingred's

Looking for new directions though I'm happy with my traditional cornbread-sausage stuffing.

Beyond bread and traditional seasonings, what are your top three stuffing ingredients must-haves?

Or do you have a favorite twist on tradition as far as stuffing goes?

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  1. Roasted chestnuts, chopped apples, lots of onions.

    3 Replies
    1. re: pikawicca

      Thank you for making me think of chestnuts! My favorite stuffing that I make every year has pecans, but I have to leave them out this year because my niece has a peanut allergy and is supposed to avoid tree nuts as well. I was trying to think what I could substitute for the pecans, and I think chestnuts are on the "okay" list.

      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        *sigh* I checked with my sister: no chestnuts either. Back to the drawing board!

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          Ah ha! I'm going to try pumpkin seeds -- those not only will give it a nutty richness, but be appropriate for Thanksgiving!

    2. Mine are chestnuts and oysters (a few oysters go a long way) and sage.

      1. Chopped cooked turkey/chicken heart and gizzard; plus stuffing is the only time I use finely chopped curly parsely.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

          Sam, I pleased to hear of one documented use for curly parsley other than as a garnish one shoves to the edge of the plate. My first attempt at home made Chimichurri sauce was dreadful because I used the curly rather than the flat leaf.

          1. re: chef chicklet

            ok and now I've found that bacon fat does a nice job too. Just about 2 T to the entire bowl and along with this years recipe that contained, fresh rosemary, sage, and thyme and then dried, versions. I want to taste the herbs! DH and kids thought it was the best ever, but they always say that. I'm for having the stuffing inside and outside the bird, and love it sort of fluffy and with crunchy edges/ It also gets three eggs, well beaten,chicken stock, of course theres pletnty of fresh cracked pepper and kosher salt (larger crystals) in there too..2 sticks of butter to cook the celery, and onion just a bit. Mix it with the dried bread crumbs,I always take a pinch to taste for seasonings. 3 loaves of bread toasted and cubed was plenty for inside the 19 lb fresh turkey and a medium size bowl for outside. Reading this thread and others, I think made it better it was closer than ever to my mom's recipe, was it the bacon fat? Can that be?

          2. dried cranberries, diced fennel, and I moisten with port rather than broth/butter

            1. Sage, onion and celery for us.....

              1. Sage, onion and apples. My mom's recipe. I've never had oyster stuffing. Just not a California thing. I'd love to try it, sometime.

                1. I'm making two stuffings this year.

                  One will be our traditional which is made with bulk breakfast sausage, "stuffing" bread (bread that comes unsliced), celery, butter, eggs, chicken broth, poultry seasoning. No onions, I am the only one that likes them.

                  The second is a fruity one and will be made with stuffing bread, fresh chopped Macintosh apples cooked until tender in some vegetable broth, raisins, dried cherries, dried cranberries, (no apricots hubby doesn't like them), butter, sage, fresh parsley.

                  1. challah, sage sausage, apples and caramelized onions.

                    1. scallions, mushrooms, tarragon, pecans

                      1. Anyone ever try chopped dill pickel? Family favorte from an Aunt and pretty good!!

                        1. independently....sausage...oysters....chestnuts...each makes a fine dressing (okay stuffing)

                          1. sundried peppers, chanterelles, and dried apricots

                            1. Bell's seasoning, sausage, and chestnuts.

                              1. Bells Seasoning, onions and celery.

                                1. Lots of onions, celery, mushrooms, bread and crackers, sage, thyme, marjoram, garlic. I also make mine in the slow cooker. It frees up the oven and is delicious!!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Terri C

                                    The only three things that I have to have is celery ,onions and rubbed sage leaves.
                                    the other things are cornbread, chess nuts, poutry seasoning, chicken broth, I like
                                    green bell peppers, and giblets. and I can eat this by itself, especially the day after
                                    hot or cold it dose`nt matter.

                                  2. i like cornbread, sage, mushrooms, and a little finely finely minced celery (so it gets cooked through and isn't crunchy).

                                    1. from my aunt's recipie: thyme, sage, marjoram

                                      1. Ritz crackers (crushed), mushrooms, celery, onion, carrots, chopped walnuts, garlic powder! (just a few more than 3 ingredients!)
                                        Grandfathers recipe, I've been the appointed maker of stuffing for years now.
                                        Its just not thanksgiving with out this yummy stuff

                                        1. chestnuts, sage, onions, and celery. Is there anything better then stuffing?

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: DaisyM

                                            My three musts are; Onion, celery, raisins and lots of butter.

                                            1. re: DaisyM

                                              There's turkey TOO??

                                              I've had thin times recently, and couldn't afford all the fixins for a full Thanksgiving, but it just would not have been Thanksgiving without the stuffing!!!


                                            2. onions, celery, cranberries

                                              1. Sausage, artichokes and chestnuts are my favorite additions to a focaccia stuffing that I bake with and egg mixture to keep it moist and fluffy.

                                                1. Onions, celery, thyme.

                                                  1. food network has a wonderful stuffing with dried cranberries, sausage and granny smith apples. its very tasty, ate it right away.

                                                    1. I posted this on the " memorialize those who are no longer with us " thread but does any other family in the world do potato stuffing? Coarsely mashed potatoes, chick broth, onion, sage, lotsa S&P, and a splash of Bells ? Cooked in the bird. It was such a ritual in my house when my ( Irish) Dad was alive. And it did not negate the need for a side of creamy mashed potatoes...again just ask my hips.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: capeanne

                                                        That sounds so good! Irish girl here and that sounds wonderful.

                                                        1. re: bubbles4me

                                                          I make a little casserole dish of it each Thanksgiving just for me now that Dad isn't here ...fabulous . Don't tell

                                                        2. re: capeanne

                                                          Wow! That is delicious sounding..I'll be trying this one, maybe practice on a few chickens for next year...

                                                        3. Of course, onions and celery and parsley. I also put sliced water chestnuts -- fresh, if you can find them. They stay crunchy throughout the baking. I also like a little peeled chunks of Rome apple and toasted almond slivers.

                                                          1. Granny smith apples, white wine, onions. Everyone always asks what's with your stuffing and I read off the ingredients (too many to list). When I mention the wine, people go AHHH!!!

                                                            1. onions, garlic, and pork sausage.

                                                              I also use celery, carrots, sage, parsley, chicken stock, and butter

                                                              1. I ended up making a cornbread-brioche-polenta stuffing, using onions, celery, parsley, fennel, thyme, S&P, giblet broth, pecans, Italian sausage, dried cranberries softened in hot OJ, roasted pumpkin seeds and sauteed apples, with a few sprinkles of brandy. Quite a concoction; sometimes it is so hard to stop! As my Dad used to say, "Sweep the floor!" I'll oven bake it as the bird goes on the Weber.

                                                                Thanks for all your suggestions--its fun to read about others' tradtitions.!

                                                                Happy Thanksgiving!

                                                                1. Bell's Seasoning, chopped onion, dried cranberries

                                                                  1. OK - I keep seeing chestnuts mentioned - plus, the other day, a coworker mentioned that a chestnut stuffing was the best he's had. I was looking at another chowhound post that said to buy them ready to go in cans or glass jars. What do you guys think?

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: rudeboy

                                                                      I've used them both fresh and roasted (what a pain to peel), and the glass jars. The ones in the jar so much more convenient.

                                                                    2. cranberries, cornbread and lots and lots of herbs!!! (ok so maybe thats more than three....)

                                                                      Good topic!

                                                                      1. fresh sage. fresh bread. mirepoix. butter.

                                                                        1. Saute lots of onions and celery in lots of butter. Mix Mrs. Cubisson's dressing using a can of mushroom soup and apple juice as the liquids to your desired consistency. This is the BEST dressing in the whole world.