HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Cooking stuffing separately but still delicious?

d
Dubby Jo Nov 11, 2009 08:22 AM

I love stuffing. I've always stuffed the bird, because the stuffing comes out moist and flavourful. This year, for various reasons, I want to make a stuffing that will cook separately. But I'm a bit dubious on how to do this without it being a dry, boring dish.

What tips do you have for delicious "dressing"?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. efdee RE: Dubby Jo Nov 11, 2009 09:05 AM

    Here's the link to an article on that subject in today's NYTimes Dining section by Julia Moskin:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/11/din...

    I especially love the stuffing muffin idea and will try it this year in addition to the stuffing that I'll put in the bird.

    1. s
      scott123 RE: Dubby Jo Nov 11, 2009 09:26 AM

      Use the recipe you love but increase the butter/homemade stock a bit. If possible, bake it in a covered iron dish (LC is great for stuffing).

      1. ipsedixit RE: Dubby Jo Nov 11, 2009 09:48 AM

        If you're doing stuffing separately (and why wouldn't you?), I suggest using a cast iron pan to make the stuffing. It adds a certain depth of flavor

        2 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit
          bayoucook RE: ipsedixit Nov 11, 2009 02:06 PM

          We always use a cast iron pan (or two) and don't cover it - but it's cornbread dressing, made extra moist with stock and butter. Our family has never stuffed it into the turkey - we wouldn't get the delicious browned crusts that way!

          1. re: bayoucook
            Uncle Bob RE: bayoucook Nov 12, 2009 08:05 AM

            Yeah buddy....Light, fluffy, browned on top, and always plenty moist...Dressing takes Center Stage at Thanksgiving and Christmas at Uncle Bob's table.

        2. Phurstluv RE: Dubby Jo Nov 11, 2009 10:40 AM

          Sufficiently moisten it with rich turkey broth, and bake it covered with foil. Unwrap for a few minutes if you want the top to crisp up a little.

          1. n
            Nyleve RE: Dubby Jo Nov 11, 2009 02:04 PM

            If it's baking while the turkey is roasting, douse it in several turkey-baster squirts of drippings from the turkey pan. Cover and continue.

            1. shaogo RE: Dubby Jo Nov 11, 2009 02:33 PM

              Drippings. More juice and drippings. And butter. So much butter the late Julia Child would beam with pride at you.

              I'm going to assume that if you're taking as much care as you are, that you're using good bread.

              I use lots of sage, plenty of onion (some of which I caramelize before hand in olive oil), plenty of celery, and for the wine, if I really wanna splurge I use a bottle minus a glass of good Viognier (the better ones come in dessert-size bottles). I'll admit to drinking the glass of Viognier while cooking, before the meal's served. That won't, however, be the *only* thing I'll be drinking while cooking.

              I'm not going to be cooking for a big bunch this year, otherwise I'd play around with two stuffings; one conventional and the other made with pumpernickel, onions, celery, and a gazillion mushrooms. I saw "pumpernickel stuffing" on a menu somewhere and have been dying to try it. The density of the bread, it seems to me, would guarantee a nice, moist, firm consistency.

              1 Reply
              1. re: shaogo
                Phurstluv RE: shaogo Nov 11, 2009 02:40 PM

                I love a good Viognier while cooking and with our turkey dinner also! In fact, need to go out tomorrow and stock up. I don't usually add wine to my sausage - sourdough stuffing, but that sounds good, also the caramelized onions. Sounds like I'll be altering Mom's old recipe this year!!

              2. Kajikit RE: Dubby Jo Nov 11, 2009 02:51 PM

                Good question! I'm responsible for the turkey for our Thanksgiving potluck at church and I don't want to stuff it for safety reasons... so I'm making some dressing seperately, but I never usually make it so I'm not entirely sure how! And I do NOT want to resort to Pepperidge Farm to do it... I bought a loaf of Italian-style sandwich bread today and I'm going to let it dry out for a few days before I cube it, and I'll use fresh onion and sage. And to make sure everything comes out nicely I made up a quart of absolutely delicious chicken broth today to moisten everything up (It was meant to be two quarts but I cooked it down further than I intended to. Never mind, I can add a bit of plain water to it if it's not enough...)

                9 Replies
                1. re: Kajikit
                  alkapal RE: Kajikit Nov 11, 2009 03:09 PM

                  very respectable cooks use the pepperidge farm seasoned bread crumbs as a base -- along with day-old cornbread.

                  1. re: alkapal
                    Phurstluv RE: alkapal Nov 11, 2009 04:18 PM

                    I've used it with day old La Brea bakery Roasted garlic loaf also. It's fine.

                    1. re: Phurstluv
                      Will Owen RE: Phurstluv Nov 12, 2009 05:27 PM

                      I just got done running around town to find a loaf of La Brea Rosemary/Olive Oil bread, which I've been using as the backbone of my stuffing for years! I used to count on getting the twin-packs of it at Costco, but they've been spotty about having it lately.

                      I've made plenty of decent stuffing with Pepperidge Farm, both regular and cornbread; they do use good honest bread. Bread and herbs, butter, good broth and well-chosen additions, and you can't go wrong. Got some smoked country pork sausage from Broadbent I've been saving for this year's.

                      1. re: Will Owen
                        c oliver RE: Will Owen Nov 12, 2009 05:45 PM

                        Do you share "Will Owen's Stuffing"??? Gonna fix YOUR pork again soon.

                        1. re: c oliver
                          Will Owen RE: c oliver Nov 20, 2009 01:45 PM

                          I can't share it until I make it, because it's always a seat-of-the-pants thing. Recipe? We don' need no steenkeeng recipe! Celery and onion chopped and cooked in almost enough butter with whatever dried herbs we're using, then mixed into the bowl of dried bread cubes (chunklets is more like it). Sausage is crumbled and cooked and added too, along with whatever fat came off. Mushrooms, maybe, always sautéed - butter again! - and this year some chopped canned chestnuts, which I do not like except in this. I will probably add chopped meat from the broth-making exercise, broth, more butter, then salt and pepper until it's delicious enough. Then I'll pull out about two cups to stuff under the breast skin (to which I'll add even more butter), then break a couple of eggs into the rest, stir it all in, and pile it into a big baking dish to cook in the bottom oven for the last hour or so.

                          Is that a recipe? It's as good as I can do...

                        2. re: Will Owen
                          Phurstluv RE: Will Owen Nov 13, 2009 07:29 AM

                          I know!! I was just there yesterday to pick up a pack of the RG loaves, and they had NOTHING!! What's up with THAT? Maybe they're having distribution problems....but now I'll have to go again next week, since I used the last of what I had frozen.

                          My mom's recipe also uses the PF stuff, we had it for years. It's only in the recent years that I've been subbing with the LB bread, since it's so delicious. I usually use regular breakfast sausage, but I bet smoked is nice, where did you get it??

                          1. re: Will Owen
                            Phurstluv RE: Will Owen Nov 19, 2009 03:09 PM

                            FYI, Mr. O, my local Vons was the source of the last two loaves of La Brea RG bread that they had. Haven't been back to costco to see if they've replenished yet. I did see that vons did have the rosemary olive oil as well. Again, just a couple of loaves left....

                        3. re: alkapal
                          c oliver RE: alkapal Nov 11, 2009 06:38 PM

                          My mother always did and I've never had dressing even half as good. Unfortunately it went to the grave with her. Drat.

                        4. re: Kajikit
                          s
                          Stuffed Monkey RE: Kajikit Nov 12, 2009 07:43 AM

                          Thanksgiving Food is more about nostalgia than the best food. Mom and my Aunt (who alternated the meal when I was a kid) used Pepperidge Farm so I say you have use it.
                          I would be will to swap out the sweet potatoes with marshmallows, but my Mom wouldn't stand for her grandkids not have it.

                        5. JEN10 RE: Dubby Jo Nov 12, 2009 05:50 AM

                          THIS IS MY VERSION OF STUFFING THAT I HAVE DEVELOPED OVER THE YEARS. I DON’T STUFF THE BIRD, BUT IT IS FLAVORED WITH CHICKEN BROTH GIVING IT THAT COOKED IN THE BIRD FLAVOR. I MAKE IT THE DAY BEFORE TO LET ALL THE FLAVORS MELD. TAKE IT OUT OF THE FRIDGE 30 MINUTES BEFORE BAKING IT.
                          .INGREDIENTS
                          ONE RECIPIE ALBERS CORN BREAD BAKED WITH 1 TSP. DRIED SAGE

                          1/2 LOAF DRIED FRENCH BREAD–CUT INTO SMALL CUBES AND DRIED IN THE OVEN

                          2 TUBES JIMMY DEAN SAUSAGE

                          2 ONIONS DICED

                          3 STALKS CELERY SLICED THIN

                          8 OZ SLICED MUSHROOM MORE OR LESS

                          1 CUP FROZEN CORN KERNELS

                          1 RED BELL PEPPER DICED

                          1 GREEN APPLE DICED

                          2 EGG YOLKS BEATEN

                          1/2 CUP ORANGE JUICE

                          2 -3 CUPS GOOD CHICKEN BROTH–I USE ‘BETTER THAN BULLION’ BRAND

                          SALT AND PEPPER

                          1/3 CUP PARSLEY

                          1 TBSP. SAGE

                          1 TSP. ROSEMARY

                          1 TSP THYME

                          INSTRUCTIONS
                          MAKE THE CORN BREAD AND BREAK INTO BITE SIZE PIECES. MIX WITH FRENCH BREAD AND THE PARSLEY
                          IN A LARGE POT ( I USE MY LE CREUSET FOR CONVIENCE OF COOKING, STORING, AND SERVING IN ONE POT) FRY THE SAUSAGE BREAKING UP AS YOU GO. ADD THE ONIONS, CELERY, BELL PEPPER, AND MUSHROOMS. COOK UNTIL SOFT. ADD CORN, SAGE, ROSEMARY, THYME, SALT AND PEPPER.
                          TO THE SAUSAGE MIXTURE ADD THE CORNBREAD MIXTURE AND TOSS GENTLY.
                          MIX YOLKS AND ORANGE JUICE, ADD TO THE BROTH. SLOWLY ADD ENOUGH BROTH TO MOISTEN THE STUFFING.
                          TRANSFER TO A CASSEROLE IF NOT USING A LE CREUSET POT. COVER WITH FOIL.
                          BAKE @ 350 FOR 1 HOUR. UNCOVER LAST 20 MINUTES TO CRISP UP A BIT.

                          1. l
                            lexpatti RE: Dubby Jo Nov 12, 2009 07:48 AM

                            a savory bread pudding! I absolutely looved the one in CH recipes, mushroom and fennel (and very moist):
                            http://www.chow.com/recipes/11145

                            Been wanting to do a garlic bread pudding but haven't yet - had it at a restaurant and loved it.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: lexpatti
                              Phurstluv RE: lexpatti Nov 12, 2009 08:01 AM

                              Oooo, with La Brea bakery's roasted garlic loaf? Or do you just use roasted garlic and regular bread? I'd be willing to try that!

                              1. re: Phurstluv
                                l
                                lexpatti RE: Phurstluv Nov 12, 2009 03:50 PM

                                sounds awesome, I actually haven't found a recipe for the garlic bread pudding - had it at a restaurant in Maine. It was individual (like baked in a cupcake tin) - sooo fantastic.

                                1. re: lexpatti
                                  Phurstluv RE: lexpatti Nov 12, 2009 04:21 PM

                                  I had roasted garlic souffles or like a custard, that sounds like that, only no bread in it, at a long gone restaurant back in Boston when I was living there, like another lifetime ago. I went back into the kitchen and the chef was kind enough to tell me how to make it, and I ran home and wrote it all out. Think I still have it too, written in pink pen!!!

                                  1. re: Phurstluv
                                    l
                                    lexpatti RE: Phurstluv Nov 13, 2009 08:29 AM

                                    yummm!!!

                                  2. re: lexpatti
                                    t
                                    toveggiegirl RE: lexpatti Nov 12, 2009 10:26 PM

                                    Do you think any of these recipes could give you a similar result?

                                    http://www.recipezaar.com/Siros-Resta...

                                    http://www.saugertiesfarmersmarket.co...

                                    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                    http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/1997...

                                    1. re: toveggiegirl
                                      l
                                      lexpatti RE: toveggiegirl Nov 13, 2009 08:31 AM

                                      awesome, thanks. to be honest, I hadn't even started looking for a recipe. These all look excellent.

                              2. f
                                fourunder RE: Dubby Jo Nov 12, 2009 07:52 AM

                                Simple......sweat some onions and celery, brown some breakfast sausage and mix all together with turkey stock,melted butter and cream.....eggs optional.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: fourunder
                                  alkapal RE: fourunder Nov 13, 2009 04:50 AM

                                  i've never heard of cream in stuffing. are you talking about a bread pudding, fourunder?

                                  1. re: alkapal
                                    f
                                    fourunder RE: alkapal Nov 13, 2009 06:03 AM

                                    alkapal,

                                    If you do a search for stuffing recipes, you will find ones that call for canned cream of mushroom or chicken many times over.......and also ones with heavy cream......all for turkeys and or chicken.......not just for bread pudding. Here's one I just Googled typing in the key words (stuffing recipe heavy cream), from <epicurious.com> :

                                    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                2. PamelaD RE: Dubby Jo Nov 12, 2009 08:14 AM

                                  We do our stuffing in a crockpot (the turkey is hogging the oven). It stays so moist! If fact I use a bit LESS broth than when I used to put it in the turkey.

                                  1. Phurstluv RE: Dubby Jo Nov 12, 2009 12:11 PM

                                    Hey, has anyone tried the stuffing muffins? And how do you alter the time factor, to keep them moist in the middle, but crispy all around? Just wonderin'.......

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Phurstluv
                                      BernalKC RE: Phurstluv Nov 12, 2009 02:57 PM

                                      I'm surprised no one has suggested using eggs to add moisture. I mix a few eggs in with the stock that I mix into the dressing. Prepare the dressing as usual, then add the final dose of moisture when you're done with the stove top prep, just before turning it out into greased baking dish(es). When the bird comes out of the oven, I raise the oven temp and put my dressing caserole, mashed potatoes, yams,... in to the oven. 30-45 minutes later the eggs are thoroughly cooked and the dressing is piping hot and moist.

                                      I "converted" to roasting my bird unstuffed years ago and would never consider going back. The bird cooks much better, more predictably, and more evenly. And the volume of stuffing I need at my table would never fit in any bird, so I was always baking at least part of my stuffing in a casserole. So taking the plunge and baking all of it as a casserole was no big deal.

                                      Others have suggested using drippings from the roast turkey. Personally I would never waste these pot liquors or fond on stuffing since a) it taints the dressing for vegetarians, and b) I need every last drop for my gravy.

                                      1. re: BernalKC
                                        Phurstluv RE: BernalKC Nov 12, 2009 04:24 PM

                                        I agree re: bird comes out much better when you roast it unstuffed. And I only use stock, my drippings are reserved for my gravy too!

                                        My mom had to make two different stuffings or dressings every year when we were growing up, b/c we three girls all had different tastes. One went in the bird, one out. I always make her stuffing that was out of the bird, but she didn't bind it with egg. Just lots of butter and stock. Now that I have to make the dinner myself, I realize how hard we were on the ol' girl. Two stuffings, a turkey with trimmings, AND a pan of lasagne!! How spoiled were we??!

                                    2. o
                                      onrushpam RE: Dubby Jo Nov 12, 2009 06:20 PM

                                      I always make Mrs. Ernest Rauschenberg's cornbread dressing from Talk About Good (Jr League of Lafayette, LA). I'll be making several pans of it for our potluck at work next week. (co-workers demand it!) I'll buy some turkey parts to make the stock, but I've even done it with the canned/boxed stuff and it still works okay. I usually make a small pan with veggie stock, for the vegetarian/vegan co-workers.

                                      Do not be alarmed. It looks like cornbread soup before you put it in the oven. I don't follow the recipe exactly... I use more cornbread than called for.... I've been doing it for so many years, I just know when it looks right. But, the basic recipe works just fine:

                                      2 C toasted bread crumbs/cubes (or Pepperidge Farm Country-Style stuffing cubes)
                                      2 C crumbled corn bread
                                      3/4 C chopped onion
                                      3/4 C chopped celery
                                      1/3 C chopped bell pepper
                                      2 T chopped parsley (I use more)
                                      1 t Accent (yes, MSG, baby!)
                                      1 t poultry seasoning (I add in some fresh sage and thyme and whatever I have)
                                      4 eggs, slightly beaten
                                      6 C broth/stock from chicken or turkey

                                      Mix it all together and bake uncovered in a 9x13 pan (or similar sized vessel) for 1.5 hours (yes it bakes that long!)

                                      This makes a VERY moist dressing. I can't bring myself to only use 2 C of cornbread when I've made a whole pan. So, I just throw it all in and adjust liquid accordingly. When I'm making for our dinner, I throw in some drippings from the bird.

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: onrushpam
                                        shanagain RE: onrushpam Nov 13, 2009 07:16 AM

                                        After my grandmother passed away, we all looked around and said "Uh, did anyone ever watch her make the dressing?" As the answer was a resounding no, I tinkered until I came up with roughly this same recipe. The trick really is not being alarmed at just HOW wet it is. Every year (going on five or six) I still look at it and think "oh, this can't be right" only to bask in the compliments. (She was Georgian by birth, Texan by marriage, so no bell peppers in ours, and we add sausage. She would also add chopped hard boiled eggs, which seems.. odd, but we don't mess with what works now. Not with dressing, anyway.)

                                        1. re: shanagain
                                          alkapal RE: shanagain Nov 13, 2009 07:40 AM

                                          our chopped boiled egg went into the giblet gravy.

                                          mom is from north florida. no bell peppers, but celery and onions, sauteed in vegetable oil, then added -- in a big bowl -- to a skilletful of day-old cornbread, turkey stock made from the neck, etc., poultry seasoning, and pepperidge farm herb stuffing, and a couple of eggs to hold it together. it does look like a wet cornmeal mush, but bakes up fine -- moist but not gummy.

                                          her recipe is a simple one. it's too bad that she hasn't been cooking for a while.
                                          i like to add mushrooms when i make it. i love to make lots for leftovers, because it has to go on the turkey sandwich, ya know! ;-)..

                                          1. re: alkapal
                                            shanagain RE: alkapal Nov 13, 2009 07:51 AM

                                            You know, she did that as well. I wonder if that went back to getting as much protein into the meal as possible, for "the men"?

                                            1. re: shanagain
                                              alkapal RE: shanagain Nov 13, 2009 07:55 AM

                                              i'm going to ask mom about that egg-in-gravy idea. she probably will say, "that's what my momma did." and that'll be the end of it. she doesn't "think" about food, unlike me. she just knows if it is good or not. ;-).

                                              1. re: alkapal
                                                shanagain RE: alkapal Nov 13, 2009 08:32 AM

                                                There's a reason why moms are always right. Generally, they just are. Period. The end.

                                                It's interesting, tho.. does your family use eggs (not cooked) in macaroni and cheese? I'm not all that convinced it that it adds much, but I do it. two eggs, lightly beaten, no matter what recipe I'm (loosely) using.

                                                1. re: shanagain
                                                  alkapal RE: shanagain Nov 13, 2009 08:52 AM

                                                  to my recollection, my mom never once made homemade macaroni and cheese. my sister makes it for all sorts of special occasions and her kids demand it as a special dish. to be frank, i'm not crazy about it. i'll ask if she uses eggs.

                                      2. p
                                        Philly Ray RE: Dubby Jo Nov 12, 2009 07:51 PM

                                        I started making this stuffing by Giada a few years ago and now certain family members won't let me in unless I bring it every year...

                                        http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/gi...

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Philly Ray
                                          Boccone Dolce RE: Philly Ray Nov 13, 2009 06:30 AM

                                          Ours is a family recipe I think I've posted it before, nuts and meat as well- walnuts and sausage... and I like it on the dry side but I believe I'm in the minority... I live for the crispy edges... Let the gravy do it's job, people!!!

                                        2. n
                                          Nyleve RE: Dubby Jo Nov 13, 2009 07:38 AM

                                          My family recipe is a really weird one but, for me, is the standard by which to judge all stuffing. You saute onions and celery in olive or vegetable oil until soft. Then you tear up a loaf or two of day-old challah and soak briefly in warm water. Squeeze all the water out by hand and combine with the sauteed vegetables, a lot of chopped parsley, salt and pepper and a couple of beaten eggs. This is probably some kind of variation on an eastern European dumpling I once had - but instead you use it to stuff turkey or veal breast. Because of the egg and the soaked bread it's never dry - I usually make more than will fit into the turkey, so bake some separately. When serving, I mix the two together in the bowl.

                                          The other key is to rub the turkey liberally inside and out with a very messy mixture of chopped garlic, salt, pepper, vegetable oil and paprika. This adds flavour to both the meat and the stuffing.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Nyleve
                                            d
                                            Dubby Jo RE: Nyleve Nov 14, 2009 08:37 AM

                                            Thanks for all the great ideas everyone! I'm going to make a batch of stock and then start experimenting. I never use butter in my stuffing, so I'll definitely be trying that because it makes total sense to me for the flavour and moisture. Oh yes, this is going to be fun!

                                          2. w
                                            walker RE: Dubby Jo Nov 20, 2009 04:26 PM

                                            One thing I like to put in my stuffing: sliced water chestnuts, preferably fresh. (Easy to find in Chinese markets in San Francisco this time of year.) You must peel off the bark like outside. It keeps a bit crunchy, unlike the celery, etc. that becomes soft. I like toasted almond slivers, too.

                                            Show Hidden Posts