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Nothing but stuffing ...

I just saw something on tv that said to check out the greatstuffingdebate.com.
It got me to thinking about stuffing and the sure fire tried and true stuffing of your region origin or culture.

Lately the idea of doing stuffing with crumbed dried bread instead of cubes has intrigued me. I've wondered if it would work or just be mush. Almost like using dried bread crumbs out if a can only making your own. Using the standard fair of ingredients placed in buttered baking dish then baking uncovered so some liquid could dissipate and the top could brown and crisp up. I think it could work.

Ingredients for mine:
1. Dried lightly toasted sourdough bread cut in uneven cubes
2. butter
3. onion
4. celery
5. salt & pepper & poultry seasoning
6. chicken stock or broth

Your prized stuffing recipe would be appreciated.

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  1. My recipe is pretty similar to yours. I learned mine from my mother, but she used white sandwich bread. I use:

    King's Hawaiian bread (the round loaf) hand torn
    onions
    celery
    garlic pulp (peel cloves and grate)
    salt, pepper, poultry seasoning
    turkey or chicken stock
    butter, butter, butter

    5 Replies
    1. re: LoBrauHouseFrau

      Is King's Hawaiian bread slightly orange flavored, and sweet? Or am I confusing this with some other--?

      1. re: blue room

        Yes, that's the one. I like the texture of it, and the sweetness isn't overwhelming but adds another layer of flavor with all the garlic, onions and seasoning.

        1. re: LoBrauHouseFrau

          Interesting, very logical now that I think about it. Not a bad bread to have with Thanksgiving flavors at all! I know it's just slightly sweet.

          1. re: LoBrauHouseFrau

            That is actually a really good idea. Mayhaps I'll nudge my father this way this year. Thanks!

        2. re: LoBrauHouseFrau

          My MIL always used standard white bread (Wonder type) too cut into perfect small cubes lightly browned in the oven. My favorite bread is sourdough. The slight tang it provides is nice plus it stands up better if my method of blending is off (or I'm in a hurry).

        3. I don't know who you want to give the award, but your recipe is almost the same as mine - but I add egg as a binder, and my trophy givers are my DH and children. I learned from my mother and that's how my family likes it. My DIL now makes it the same way (thanks, son), and my daughter follows suit. So - it is all in the taste you grew up with or acquired. I like others, I just like mine better! OK - there - I said it!

          3 Replies
          1. re: boyzoma

            I've done the egg thing too as I'd seen it in recipes. Couldn't see much difference in flavor if any but it is a good binder. With something like stuffing simple flavors are best cause there's so much else going on (on) the plate.

            Are you heavy on onions or celery? Heavy on butter? A lot of poultry seasoning? What do you do with your bread? How long in the oven?

            1. re: iL Divo

              I'm heavy on everything. The one thing I like to do is leave it so you can "almost" still tell there are cubes. If it gets too mixed, it doesn't stay as moist and then is too dense. How long in the oven depends on size of dish. Usually about an hour or so and I've been known to use a wooden spoon handle to poke holes and pour chicken broth over for basting. Sometimes even adding a pat of butter half way through baking.

              1. re: boyzoma

                I did a stuffing with my Tourtiere last night as part of dinner. It was so good. It turned out still in those cube shapes too but still really moist quite possibly perfect. did my own whole wheat very dense bread that was days old, cut into cubes and toasted lightly. I didn't have time to wait for it to dry on it's own, I'd still be waiting. Browned butter and bacon grease in the skillet then added scallions and celery and garlic salt and pepper and poultry seasoning stirred to coat all and then added the chicken stock and it really looked like too much chicken broth and I got nervous but then it mostly soaked in, I took it out quickly as didn't want more liquid sneaking in there. put it in my 9" cast iron old heavy skillet and tossed it in the oven foil tented for 25 minutes on 325* then foil off and 10 minutes at 405*. Gravy was sooooo good [with the leftover broth from the stuffing mix] so put it over the stuffing the tourtiere and the sour cream ricotta cheese mashed potatoes I made also.

                My MIL in laws secret to a successful gravy works every time

          2. A couple of days before Thanksgiving, I make a pan of cornbread. Let it sit out and get stale, coarsely crumble. Add some stale bread cubes. Then I saute onion and celery in butter until translucent. Fry some sausage, drain (i like 1/2 hot and 1/2 mild with sage). Peel and dice Granny Smith apples. Mix all this in large bowl. Add in two beaten eggs, salt, pepper, ground sage, dried thyme, dried rosemary, and fresh chopped parsley. Mix in some dried cranberries. Put in large cast iron skillet and pour some chicken stock over it. Bake until brown on top. Make have to keep adding some stock as it bakes to keep it moist.

            21 Replies
            1. re: vafarmwife

              That sounds delicious, but since it isn't cooked in a bird, doesn't that make it 'dressing' instead of stuffing?

              1. re: LoBrauHouseFrau

                I stuff my turkey with onions, fresh sage, fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, and celery so there ain't no space left for stuffing.

                1. re: vafarmwife

                  That's exactly what I stuff my turkey with too...! My dressing consists of onions, celery, EVOO & butter, day old crustless Italian bread, dried sage & thyme , S & P and fresh turkey stock.

                  My mother made a stuffing with ricotta and eggs with traditional turkey seasonings that was a like a souffle. Absolutely the best thing in the world...and very different.

                  1. re: Gio

                    My mom and grandmother used to put the turkey neck and and giblets in their dressing. I used to pick them out b/c I couldn't stand the taste of them. I remember when my mom first ate my dressing recipe above, she didn't care for it as it wasn't traditional.

                    1. re: vafarmwife

                      That's funny... I use the neck and giblets for stock and can't wait to gnaw on the neck. The giblets are chopped and used for gravy.

                      1. re: vafarmwife

                        My grandparents did giblets heart liver in theirs too. Both being chefs, I knew they knew best but I was a little girl and those flavors were too strong for me. I picked 'em out too.

                      2. re: Gio

                        Your mother's dish sounds fab, Gio.

                        Can you share? ;)

                        1. re: mcel215

                          I Was fab mcel. I wish I could share but I have no idea what the proportions are.

                          Ingredients were whole milk ricotta, a few whisked eggs, S & P, dried sage, maybe dried thyme. She could have finely chopped a few celery stalks and onions then sauteed them...and perhaps finely minced parsley...and grated Parmigiano. I just can't remember. She was always experimenting with this recipe and sometimes it would be less than perfect but it always tasted terrific. I really should try to make it my self this year. I think I'd bake it in a souffle dish, though...just in case.

                        2. re: vafarmwife

                          I wash and dry our bird, inside and out. Pat dry with paper towels. Salt and pepper the inside and rub with peanut butter < then stuff.

                        3. re: LoBrauHouseFrau

                          Oh that's a good point. Often I do half and half. What fits without crowding goes in the bird, the rest goes in a baking dish and gets baked. Never thought of that, I love learning new things.

                        4. re: vafarmwife

                          Oh my. This would disappear at any table, thank you. It looks spectacular.

                          1. re: vafarmwife

                            Mine is very similar to yours minus the cranberries & rosemary and mine goes in the bird. Sometimes I'll add chopped toasted pecans and/or mushrooms. Many times I'll make Oyster dressing also so there is a choice.

                            1. re: vafarmwife

                              Mine is very similar to yours, though I use no eggs. I usually cook the sausage first and then saute the onion, celery and sage (fresh leaves) in the rendered sausage fat. I mix that with the dried bread cubes, toss in some chopped walnuts for a nice crunch. I moisten it with some apple cider and add some s&p. Then I stuff it into a large bag or container, let it sit in the fridge overnight, adding more cider if it gets dry.

                              I also cook it on the side as a dressing.

                              Oh I can't wait now. lol

                              1. re: BabsW

                                I should try sausage as it's one of hubsters favorite foods.
                                But I don't think the rest of us would enjoy it as we're not sausage lovers.

                                1. re: iL Divo

                                  I love the apple-sausage-sage combination, but then again, I am a huge fan of sausages. Must be my German roots.

                                  Truly though, the sausage is not overwhelming in this, and it really does go well with all of the apple flavors going on in it.

                                  People do get protective over their stuffing/ dressings, though. My former ILs are huge oyster stuffing people, and I simply can't stand it - or to be far, I can't stand their version. It's quite possible that there is an oyster stuffing out there that I would love. A few years ago, I did win a few converts to my sausage-apple stuffing. :)

                                  1. re: BabsW

                                    Ok babs, I'm biting...what kind of sausage? Italian (hot, mild, sweet) patties, links, in/out of casing OR breakfast, regular, maple, hot, links or patties OR kilbasa or polish sausage ? Thanks

                                    1. re: iL Divo

                                      I usually use the standard bulk pork sausage (breakfast style, like Jimmy Dean), though a maple variety would be nice too.

                                      1. re: BabsW

                                        Ah what the hay? I'll do it tomorrow night with the fried chix my man asked for.
                                        I'll let you know how it turns out. Thanks Babs.
                                        Oh Babs, does it have to have cider or is apple juice ok? I have all needed unless the cider is a must....lMKP thx

                                        1. re: iL Divo

                                          Apple juice should be ok, I think. I hope it turns out to your taste! :)

                                2. re: BabsW

                                  Babs, this sounds like what my mom called "French" (as in French-Canadian) stuffing. She'd use sweet Italian sausage, onion, celery, sage, s&p, fat and butter. This was my favorite part of the holiday.

                              2. I don't know if it's a regional thing or not, but my mother's stuffing is what I consider "traditional" - she uses stale white sandwich bread, butter, celery, onion, salt/pepper/sage and lots of broth. Hers may have an egg in it too, not sure - but definitely enough liquid that the bread cubes basically turn into a solid mass rather than individual pieces and the stuffing has a sort of soft, bread-souffle texture. She also adds oysters to her basic recipe in a special pan for my dad. Either way, I've NEVER liked it - the texture is too squishy and the flavor is rather bland.

                                When I started doing Thanksgiving for myself I wasn't really excited about doing stuffing, since I thought I didn't like it, but I remembered a stuffing I'd had at a friend's place one year in college that was sort of loose and drier, with sausage and big chunks of really tasty bread, so I started hunting for a recipe and ended up basing mine on this one from Epicurious: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                Mine bears little resemblance to the original recipe now though - here's what I do. My husband would divorce me if I didn't make this every year. It makes a huge amount but is easy to halve, and is also easily made vegetarian by subbing veg broth for the chicken stock (and has enough other flavor going on so that you don't notice it's vegetarian).

                                4 loaves French bread (approx. 40-48 oz.), torn into 1-inch pieces (I make my own - it has a particularly wonderful texture that I haven't found in store-bought baguettes
                                )2 sticks butter plus additional for greasing dish
                                4 c. chicken or turkey stock (more or less)
                                5 c. boiling-hot water
                                3 oz dried porcini mushrooms
                                2 lbs cremini mushrooms, halved or quartered if large
                                2 large bulbs fennel, chopped coarsely
                                20+ shallots, halved or quartered if large (you really can't have too many of these)
                                3 large onions, chopped
                                4 celery ribs, chopped finely (use food processor)
                                4 medium carrots, chopped finely (use food processor)
                                10 garlic cloves, minced
                                1 T. dried sage, ground or whole
                                3 T. chopped fresh thyme or to taste
                                3 T. chopped fresh sage or to taste
                                2 T. chopped fresh rosemary or to taste
                                ½ c. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
                                Salt and pepper to taste
                                2 lb. sage breakfast sausage (optional)

                                Dry bread at room temperature several days before using. Arrange shallots, fennel and mushrooms on rimmed baking sheets (in a single layer), drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 400 degrees until golden brown, approximately 30 mins, tossing them once halfway through cooking. Meanwhile, pour boiling-hot water over porcini and soak 20 minutes, then remove mushrooms, reserving soaking liquid. Rinse porcini under cold water to remove any grit, then squeeze out excess water and coarsely chop.

                                While porcini soak, melt 1 stick butter in a heavy skillet over moderately high heat, then add onions and a pinch of salt and cook until translucent. Add carrots, garlic and celery and cook another 10 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Add drained porcini and cook a moment longer. Stir in roasted vegetables, herbs, salt and pepper, then add vegetables to bread, tossing to combine. If using sausage, cook separately and toss with vegetables and bread.
                                Pour porcini soaking liquid and stock to taste over stuffing mixture, tossing to coat evenly. Mixture should be moist throughout but not soaking wet (I usually use around 7 cups of liquid total, more stock than mushroom liquid).

                                Butter a large, deep roasting pan and preheat oven to 375 (if you prefer more crispy pieces, use two pans for shallower layers). Spread stuffing in pan and dot the top with the remaining stick of butter (use more or less as desired). Cover tightly with foil, then bake until heated through, about 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake until top is browned, 10 to 15 minutes more.

                                16 Replies
                                1. re: biondanonima

                                  That's some killah stuffing! Love that fennel and mushroom addition.

                                  I usually do a cornbread stuffing, like vafarmwife and Uncle Bob, and sometimes add chopped jalapeños and red peppers to the onion and celery, either that or I bake them into the cornbread.

                                  1. re: bushwickgirl

                                    I love the idea of cornbread stuffing but my husband would either divorce me or shoot me if I didn't make the roasted veg one I posted. However, I might be able to do cornbread for Xmas - I found a recipe posted by mamachef that looks incredible but I'd love to take a gander at yours too!

                                    1. re: biondanonima

                                      I never returned your call, sorry! Make your favorite rich cornbread recipe, add sweated chopped jalapeños to taste, I use about three to a batch of bread, seeds, ribs and all, and one red bell pepper, fresh thyme and even some defrosted or fresh cut corn if you want about 1/2 cup, to the batter.

                                      Let the bread dry on the counter overnight, uncovered. You can toast the cubes or just use them dry, then proceed with your favorite stuffing recipe, onion celery, stock, poultry seasoning if you do, even sausage is great in this.

                                      1. re: bushwickgirl

                                        Yum, sounds heavenly! I wonder how it would be with fresh chorizo, just to kick up the spice level a bit.

                                          1. re: biondanonima

                                            I make a dressing with bread, polenta cubes and Linguica. Chopped onions and celery are softened in butter and removed, then the cubed polenta is crisped. Everything is mixed together with turkey broth, and a lot of chopped parsley is added, with smaller amounts of sage and thyme. I don't give it much time in the oven because the parsley gets limp and dull, although next time I might try baking it without the parsley, and stirring it in when the dish comes out of the oven.

                                    2. re: biondanonima

                                      Save! Biondanonima that sounds delish, Thanks for posting the recipe. I'll have to try it sometime, but with all the other food that needs to be prepared it looks too labor intensive for my Thanksgiving. Plus I think I'd want this star for my main course! Have you ever downsized and stuffed the bird with it?

                                      1. re: Island

                                        I have made a half recipe before, but I never stuff my bird - I prefer it outside. However, I think it would probably work fine inside too - I would guess that a half recipe would be enough to stuff a 20lb bird with some leftover for a side dish as well. Last year I made it as written and it filled two of those 16x13ish aluminum foil roaster pans. It is a little bit labor intensive, but what I usually do is cook all of the vegetables, herbs and sausage the day before and store them in a tupperware bowl in the fridge, then in the morning I just mix that whole mess in with the bread, add the liquid and bake.

                                      2. re: biondanonima

                                        Wow, I am thinking of making this, but with Field Roast vegetarian smoked apple sausage (which is by far the best fake meat out there - it's great), and maybe a half cup of olive oil instead of all that butter. However, this recipe sounds like it serves about 30 people. Is that about right?! I might cut it down.
                                        One more question - do the dried porcini give it a very strong flavor? Have you ever made it without those? Thanks!

                                        1. re: cathyeats

                                          LOL, it depends on who those people are and what else they eat! I don't care for turkey myself, so I tend to make a meal of stuffing. I made this amount for 6 people last year and there were tons of leftovers, I would say enough that each couple got a portion that would serve them for another two meals. A half recipe makes about the same amount that I would guess most stuffing recipes make, i.e. enough for 10-12 side dish servings. You could easily eliminate some of the butter/fat as well - I just like it REALLY buttery, and Thanksgiving is my time to splurge! It would be totally fine with half the fat, I'm sure.

                                          I haven't made it without the porcini but you could, especially if you are going to use sausage and/or other interesting mushrooms in the mix. I love the earthiness they contribute, though. I don't find it too strong or overpowering - it's just enough that people say "hm, this is so good and rich, what is that flavor?" The original recipe was completely vegetarian and they used the porcini water instead of vegetable stock, probably because it has a richer flavor (IMO).

                                          1. re: cathyeats

                                            cathyeats - I will also be using that delicious field roast apple sage sausage in my stuffing (really panade) this year. Those sausages are amazing. We use them with fondue all the time, but were hoping they would work well with stuffing, too. Have you used them in stuffing in the past?

                                            1. re: Olive123

                                              Nope, I've never used them in the past, but I'm confident. I think I'm going to make a stuffing with onions, celery, Field Roast sausage, chestnuts and apples! (Or I might decide to substitute dried apricots for the apples.) My recipe is below - it's a variation on my other recipe: http://www.whatwouldcathyeat.com/2010...

                                              Low(er) fat Chestnut, Apple and Sausage Stuffing

                                              1 large loaf whole wheat bread, cubed and dried (about 10 cups

                                              )

                                              1 tablespoon olive oil

                                              2 medium-large yellow onions, diced

                                              4 medium stalks celery, chopped

                                              1 large granny smith apple, peeled and diced

                                              2 Field Roast smoked apple sage sausages, crumbled and briefly sauteed (or substitute any chicken-apple sausage)

                                              1 cup chestnuts, crumbled

                                              2 teaspoons fresh thyme

                                              3 tablespoons fresh sage

                                              ¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley

                                              3 tablespoons olive oil

                                              2 large eggs, lightly beaten (vegans, use a substitute such as ground flax seed mixed with water)

                                              1½ to 2 cups vegetable broth (recommend Imagine brand No-Chicken Broth here)

                                              Salt and pepper to taste

                                              Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the onions and celery, and sauté for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and add the sausage, chestnuts, apple, herbs, olive oil and eggs. Mix well, then add broth until the stuffing is quite moist but not overly soggy. Add salt and pepper if you’d like.

                                              Place in an oiled casserole dish, cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Uncover and bake 10 minutes longer, until stuffing is crusty on top.

                                              1. re: cathyeats

                                                could you use apricots and apples? I may even toss in a cranberry or two, looks great!

                                          2. re: biondanonima

                                            Hi biondanonima - about how many does this serve? We have 30 people so I am thinking of doing 1.5 the recipe. Thanks!

                                            1. re: thegirlwholovestoeat

                                              The recipe as written makes two huge pans full (like turkey roasting pans) - if you don't want leftovers, it would probably feed 30 people, especially if some of them are children with smaller appetites. If you want leftovers, though, or if you have people who will just make a meal of the stuffing (as I do!), do 1.5 times the recipe. I hope you enjoy it!

                                            2. re: biondanonima

                                              biondanonima, your mother's recipe sounds very much like my grandmother's, except there were oysters (not many - they lived through the Depression!) in the whole thing. I'm curious, was it her family's recipe, and what was their background. My grandmother lived in the horror of a dry dressing (which was the operative word even though it was stuffed), and if it had to have gravy poured over it, ti was TOO DRY! So it's really a savory bread pudding, which I love and have made even richer, a stronger broth, and - oh, rats, brain freeze, minced mushrooms sauteed until the liquid evaporates and the mushrooms brown. That part of the family was in rural Missouri about 30 miles from the Mississippi River, and we have NO idea of how oysters got into dressing in the early 20th century or perhaps earlier. No family stories of making the trek to Ste. Genevieve, the nearest river town, to haul them off the steamers bound for St. Louis.

                                              Stuffing recipes and how they evolve are the most fascinating part of Thanksgiving dinner to me. Besides the food, of course.

                                            3. A large skillet of corn bread cooked the day before...
                                              3 or 4 or 5 cold biscuits crumbled.....
                                              Copious amounts of Onion, Celery and some Bell pepper slowly simmerd in a little chicken stock
                                              Eggs......
                                              Salt as needed....Lots, and Lots of Black pepper
                                              Chicken stock/broth with as much fat as possible..About 1/2 gallon
                                              Into a buttered butter casserole or two...
                                              In the oven until it sets.....
                                              Feeds 12 easily with left overs

                                              Then there's Oyster dressing.......

                                              9 Replies
                                              1. re: Uncle Bob

                                                I had oyster dressing--once--and it was delicious. The lady who made it explained that she squooshed up the oysters with her fingers to make them visually undetectable, 'cause her husband and kids would have objected. But oh I remember how good that was.

                                                1. re: Uncle Bob

                                                  And do you use the leftovers in a sandwich with gravy and cranberry relish?

                                                  1. re: vafarmwife

                                                    Can't say that I ever have...Not a big fan of Cranberries.....Corn Bread dressing between to pieces of bread? Interesting! Maybe I need to dwink more wine!!! :))

                                                    1. re: vafarmwife

                                                      Oh, cornbread stuffing makes the BEST day-after-turkeyday sandwich with cranberry sauce!
                                                      Cold, made with mayo, or hot open-faced with gravy.
                                                      Mmmm...

                                                      1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                        Interesting. I had never thought about putting stuffing into a sammich. How do you make sure it does not fall out ?

                                                        1. re: souschef

                                                          It stays in by sheer force of will. And the clever use of hands.

                                                          1. re: cosmogrrl

                                                            And some good hot gravy to glue it all together. Cold or hot, a turkey sandwich the day after Thanksgiving is the best sandwich of the year.

                                                      2. re: Uncle Bob

                                                        My fabulous auntie would not have made her stuffing "without" oysters.
                                                        She also served them smoked from the can with a variety of fancy crackers and decorative toothpicks. Not the cellophane colored frilly ended kind, hers were made from (dare I say) elephant tusks. Sorry but true