Every time I look at the Calendar, I’m amazed at how fast time is flying. Thanksgiving is only two weeks away! Last week, we covered the veggies, but this week, we’re all about everyone’s favorite side dish, stuffing. Since I cook for a huge crowd, I always do two versions of stuffing, a cornbread stuffing with sausage, and this vegetarian stuffing recipe. I love having a little something for everyone! If you’re looking for something a little different this year, scroll on down to the bottom of this post where we’ve compiled some of our favorite dressing recipes from all over the internet. But before we start, I’ve got an important question: Stuffing or Dressing? Is one more correct than the other?
Anyway, on to the recipe. As we mentioned, this is a vegetarian recipe, but if you want to carnivore it up, saute some sage sausage with the carrots, celery and onions, and chicken stock instead of vegetable stock. Boom- sausage stuffing. You can even stuff it into your bird, though I never do – I love the crispy texture the top of my stuffing gets when I bake it in a terracotta dish. It’s kind of like the edges of brownies – I just can’t get enough. Plus, you don’t have to worry about overcooking the bird while you’re waiting on the stuffing to get hot enough to kill off salmonella and that’s definitely a double win. Crispy edged stuffing and a moist, juicy bird! Let’s go.
- 1 large loaf of challah or brioche (about 1 pound) cut into small cubes
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 1 apple, diced
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 8-10 sprigs thyme, minced
- 1 sprig rosemary, minced
- 1/4 cup minced parsley
- 1/4 cup minced sage
- 1 egg
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1 stick butter, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- The night before, spread the bread out on a sheet tray and leave it uncovered and out of reach of pets and small children. You want it slightly stale.
- Add half the butter to a saute pan. When melted, add the carrots, celery, onions, garlic, apple and herbs over medium heat until they are tender and fragrant. Taste the mixture and add salt, leaving it slightly underseasoned.
- In a large bowl, combine the bread, sauteed vegetables, and cranberries. Let rest until the mixture is room temperature.
- Add the rest of the butter and the vegetable stock and mix until well combined. Taste for seasoning – add salt or pepper as needed.
- Once you love the way it tastes, add the egg and pack the mixture into a baking dish – I love cooking in terracotta since it gives me nice crusty edges while keeping the dressing moist in the middle – the perfect combination!
- Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 20-25 minutes until the surface is crisp. Serve alongside all your favorite Thanksgiving dishes (or with a roast chicken for a perfect Sunday supper.)
Ok, so there are a lot of ingredients, but as you can see, It’s pretty easy to make homemade stuffing. Once you have the basic stuffing recipe down, you can play with it – I’ve done cornbread instead of challah, added sausage, pecans, mushrooms and roasted garlic over the years, and even oysters for a traditional oyster stuffing – no matter what, the basic formula stays the same and the dressing turns out beautifully. That’s the magic of having a great basic recipe- all the variations are so exciting.
Now, I promised you some of my other favorite stuffing recipes. Here we go, from all corners of the interwebs!
This wild rice stuffing from Tidy Mom is not only delicious, it’s gluten free! It’s got the traditional flavors of a bread stuffing, but with nutty, flavorful wild rice, pecans, and a hint of smokiness from bacon. And really who can go wrong with bacon? It’s awesome.
Want something a little different? Try this chorizo and cornbread stuffing we found on Table for Two. I love the addition of mushrooms and the combination of sourdough for stability with super-flavorful cornbread. It’s a totally well-rounded stuffing that’s pretty delicious on its own as well as being a great addition to your Thanksgiving table.
If you want to go the whole wheat route, that’s pretty easy with stuffing as well. Our friends over at Love and Lemons have this beautiful Kale and Shiitake stuffing recipe made with whole grain bread. Super bonus – it’s completely vegan. I know how hard it can be to accomodate everyone’s diet at Thanksgiving, so having a great vegan Thanksgiving recipe or two never hurts. And admittedly, I’ve made this one just for myself, for dinner a number of times. There’s kale and mushrooms, so totally healthy, right?
There you have it, folks. Whether you’re a carnivore or a vegan, a bread lover or keeping it gluten free, stuffing is one of the most versatile thanksgiving recipes out there. So versatile, in fact that it goes by two names. Stuffing or dressing, it’s delicious!