Thanksgiving stuffing (my most asked-for recipe) and a round-up of Thanksgiving breads


(photo by Mark Luinenburg)

Like many people, my wife, Laura, and I live far from family, so this time of year, we’re always reminded that you have to find family wherever you land. Well, we have landed; this is our thirty-sixth year in Minnesota. Over the years we’ve been lucky to be invited for Thanksgiving dinner by friends with a large and warm family, some of whom travel in from all over the state (and nation!) for the annual get-together. And it’s a potluck, so no surprise, I always got the request for bread and a traditional Thanksgiving stuffing. That stuffing, although it doesn’t appear in any of my books, became my most requested recipe from friends. Back in 2009, I published it here on my website, and I thought I’d reprise it, because I recently made it for my mom, who is a lifelong dyed-in-the-wool roasted-in-the-bird stuffing believer. Well, she loved the oven-baked stuffing. One key to creating rich flavor without a bird is to use your poultry broth without skimming the fat. The second revelation was (and this is sacrilege for me): you don’t have to use homemade bread. At my mom’s place, I used a mix of ordinary white and whole wheat sandwich bread from the supermarket. Not artisan bread at all. The forward flavors are poultry broth, herbs, and egg (stuffing is really a kind of eggy bread pudding), so it turns out that the bread really plays second fiddle here.

That said, I usually do make stuffing from homemade loaves like in the picture above, with the crusts left on for flavor and texture. The Peasant Bread from my first book is a great choice. The white-flour Master Recipe works, but I usually swap in 1 cup of whole-grain rye and decrease the white flour by 1 cup. If you want something lighter, decrease the rye-swap to 1/2 cup (whole wheat flour works the same way). Or use challah (you don’t have to make it in a crockpot like on that link). My go-to poultry broth recipe is from The Joy of Cooking, but any traditional broth recipe will work.

OK, let’s make some stuffing…