Karl’s Stuffing Tips

It’s not your average stuff, that stuff you place beside the bird. And if it is, it might be time to rethink your stuffing routine.

At our family table, the “Stuffing” is the most talked about and anticipated annual side dish. It’s slightly smokey, a bit crunchy, never dry and always lives up to the memory of the years before ~ 

Tip Number 1

Putting your stuffing in a raw bird, and cooking it AND the bird, at the same time, is NOT a great idea.  You’ll need to bring the bird AND the stuffing to the desired temperature.  You will be much better served preparing and cooking your stuffing in a separate dish.

If you really want the Norman Rockwell experience of serving a stuffed bird, remove a few scoops of the cooked separately stuffing and stick it back in the bird.  You’ll be safe, everything will be cooked properly and your guests will not know the difference!

Tip Number 2

Make a batch of Turkey stock or broth a few days before you are in full on production mode.  You can use this for all your stock needs and you can reserve pan drippings for the star of the evening – the gravy!!

Tip Number 3

Be creative with your bread choice for the stuffing.  Make you own croutons with a whole variety of options, ciabatta, french bread, cranberry loaf.  It’s super easy and it takes your stuffing to that “next level” experience.  Same for the herbs and any meats.  Be creative.  Think outside of the box!

SAUSAGE AND DRIED CHERRY STUFFING

We love this sweet, meaty, slightly spicy dressing!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 (about 18-ounce) loaf of rustic bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 10 cups)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • ¼ cup of pre-cooked Italian sausage
  • 6 slices pre-cooked smoky bacon, crumbled
  • 1 large yellow onion (about 3/4 pound total), diced
  • 2 large stalks of celery, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons quick-roasted pecans
  • ¼ cup dried cherries reconstituted for a few minutes with boiling water
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh sage leaves
  • Leaves from 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 cups low-sodium turkey, chicken, or vegetable broth
  • 2 large eggs
  • Maldon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • A few shakes of crushed red pepper
  • ASSEMBLY

  • Step 1 – Cube the bread.  Dry/crisp in a sheet pan in a 350-degree oven, until brown.  Shake the pan a few times during roasting.  45 mins approx
  • Step 2 – Saute the meats over medium heat.
  • Step 3 – When ready to make the stuffing: Preheat oven to 350º and butter a large baking dish. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion, carrot, and celery and cook until soft and fragrant, 8 minutes. Stir in garlic, parsley, crumbled meats, dried cherries, pecans, sage, thyme, and rosemary and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more. Season with salt and pepper. 
  • Step 4 – Place bread in a large bowl and add skillet mixture. Toss to combine. In a medium bowl, whisk together chicken broth and beaten eggs and pour over the bread mixture. Season generously with salt and pepper and toss until completely coated.
  • Step 5 – Transfer the mixture to a prepared baking dish and cover it with foil. Bake until cooked through, 45 minutes, then remove foil and cook until bread is golden, 15 to 20 minutes more.
  • FORTIFIED TURKEY STOCK

    INGREDIENTS

    • 1 Pack Turkey wings
    • 3 carrots
    • 2 stalks celery
    • 1 small onion
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 6 cups Store packaged turkey stock

    ASSEMBLY

    • Step 1 – Rinse turkey wings.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Roast in 350-degree oven until the skin is crisp.  30-45 minutes.  Allow to cool.  Separate at the joints.
    • Step 2 – Dice the onions, carrots, and celery.  Place in a medium-sized saucepan.  Saute, in olive oil, over medium heat until the onion is translucent.  
    • Step 3 –Add the turkey wings, the stock, and the bay leaves to a stock pot.  Cook for 40 minutes.  Set aside to cool.  Pour through a strainer into a refrigerator-safe container.  Allow to cool to room temp.  Cover and place in the refrigerator; use within a week.

    Hint: to fortify even further, after straining, reduce by 25%.  Allow to cool and place in the refrigerator.