It’s fair to say that everyone has their preferred Thanksgiving delicacy.
For many, it could be the mashed potatoes, or maybe the obvious star of the show, the turkey. Or, if you are contrarian, I suppose yams and marshmallows for some, ungodly reason.
However, the easiest and often unsung hero who works in the shadows to complete that homemade leftover sandwich is without a doubt, the stuffing.
Stuffing, like most foods that I adore, is for the people. Once derived from humble beginnings as a mere turkey cavity filler, this second-thought novelty now has transcended beyond that unsanitary domain to a seat at the round table. Thanksgiving isn’t worth giving thanks without the crunchy and savory bread pudding piled high upon one’s already mountainous plate.This dish is shockingly easy and, without including mashed potatoes, probably consists of the least amount of contents for the most rewarding item on the table.
Ingredients & Measurements | Serves three to five people.
- One sweet onion (Any would work in a pinch.) (around $1.61)
- Two sticks of butter. ($3.99)
- A loaf of good quality bread. ($5.99)
- Parsley ($3.99)
- 1/2 cup of chicken stock ($2.69)
- Two stalks of celery ($2.99)
- 1/2 tablespoons of minced garlic ($3.29)
- 2 eggs ($4.49)
- Salt, pepper and red pepper flakes ($1.99)
- Grated parmesan cheese ($3.49)
- Olive oil & sweet Italian sausage ($5.49) (optional)
(Total Price: $40.01)
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees and begin by tearing up one loaf of day-old bread by hand and scattering it across a baking sheet. If your torn-up bread is seemingly not enough, feel free to add a few slices of torn-up white bread to fill out the pan.
Place the sheet pan in the oven and let toast for 30 minutes. Keep an eye on the bread, it shouldn’t be an issue, but better safe than sorry.
While the bread toasts take a baking dish and coat it with room-temperature butter. Every inch of the dish should be covered. Do. Not. Skimp.
Adding to butter, take two sticks and in a medium saucepan melt them down and then add two thinly chopped stalks of celery and one diced onion to the pan.
As this sautees, add a dash of salt and a few cracks of pepper. Cook this until it’s translucent, which should take around 10 minutes.
Step Four (optional):
(If you want to keep this recipe vegetarian, omit this step.)
Take four sweet Italian sausages, slice them open and remove the sausage from the casing. Ground this up in a medium-sized pan with a wooden spoon and cook on medium-high heat until thoroughly cooked throughout for around 15 minutes. Once browned, move to a free burner and place lid atop to let the steam further cook while set on low.
Once it comes time to mix the stuffing, remove it from the heat and incorporate it.
After one hour take a large mixing bowl and transfer the toasted bread. Then, take the butter, onions and celery sautee and gently pour-over. Do this intermittently and combine gently with a wooden spoon. Do the same with the sausage.
Once incorporated, take a moment to let it cool and chop your aromatics. This should consist of a few bunches of parsley. This is not in the ingredients list but if you’d like to add fresh rosemary, thyme and sage feel free, but it is not necessary. Once chopped, add to the bowl and toss again.
Add a few cracks of salt and pepper before pouring a 1/2 cup of chicken stock over the mixture. You can add more or less depending on your ratio of bread. Mix once more.
Then, if the stuffing is still warmer than expected, let it sit for a moment. As it sits, crack two eggs into another bowl. Add a few glugs of chicken stock, 1/2 tablespoon of minced garlic and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese to the eggs and then whisk. Once cooled add the eggs to the stuffing and mix to combine once more.
The bread itself should still have a decent amount of structure to them with a spongy feel. It should be a bit more than moist, not soaking wet.
Once fully incorporated, transfer the stuffing to the buttered baking dish. Increase the heat of the oven from the 250 used for toasting to the now-needed 350 degrees for baking.
Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, carefully remove the aluminum foil from atop the baking dish and continue to bake for another half hour. Do not alter the heat.
If curious whether the stuffing is ready, it should read 160 degrees when the temperature is checked internally.
Pull out the stuffing from the oven after one hour has elapsed in total. It should be toasty brown on top and soft underneath with a firm set. Let it sit for a few minutes and then serve it immediately.
And that’s that. The best dish of the whole Thanksgiving dinner.