Here’s an album I thought you might enjoy while cooking this recipe ?
This recipe has made a believer out of me
It’s not that I ‘disliked’ stuffing as a kid. I’d say I was more indifferent to it. A slightly savory mush that always seemed a waste of space on my thanksgiving plate. When I did opt for a scoop (there should not be ‘scoops’ of stuffing!) it was always coated in copious amounts of gravy.
Needless to say, I haven’t felt compelled to try my hand at this holiday classic. I came to it as a way to use day-old sourdough, and it has been a game-changer.
Not only do I reserve plenty of real estate on my thanksgiving plate for this game-changing sourdough stuffing, but I also look forward to it as a highlight of the meal – and I ALWAYS go back for more. In fact, I make it several times a year now! Anytime I see a loaf of Wonderful Wife’s sourdough bread getting a bit stale (a rare occurrence, I promise you), I get excited to make a batch of what I now call my game-changing sourdough stuffing recipe. (Or, sometimes I turn it into these irresistible Sourdough Croutons!)
Stuffing vs. Dressing
The debate rages. Here’s my take: I don’t really care. 🙂 I suppose technically stuffing should be reserved for when you are actually cooking the stuff inside a bird, and dressing would be what we’re doing here, cooking it as its own dish. In my family, there was usually both, since you can’t feed an army on what fits in a thanksgiving turkey. But I find that referring to it as ‘dressing’ always requires more explanation – at least here in Oregon(Pronunciation: Or like a boat ‘oar’, uh like….well, like ‘uh’, and gon like ‘I’m gonna”. Now, put the emphasis on the first syllable and de-emphasize the rest. OAR-uh-gon.)
You could really use any hearty, crusty bread for this game-changing sourdough stuffing recipe. I’m lucky enough to have a fantastic baker in-house, so I can’t think of why you’d want to use anything other than her delicious sourdough for this game-changing stuffing.
You want your bread to be pretty much bone dry. So you’ll need to let it get stale or dry it out in the oven. If you choose to let it air dry, be sure to cut or tear it up before it gets too dry! If you want to dry your sourdough in the oven, just cut/tear it into 1″ pieces, spread them on a sheet pan, and put them in the oven at 200 degrees for an hour or so to completely dry them. Keep an eye on them – you want them dry but not toasted.
Let’s get started!
After you’ve set the oven to 350 and generously buttered a large casserole dish, it’t time to get going with this game-changing sourdough stuffing recipe!
Place the bread in a large bowl and add all of the chopped herbs to the bowl as well!
- Parsley: This under-appreciated star of the herb world is one of my favorites, and can be a big difference-maker in many dishes. It has a milder flavor than many herbs, so it’s ok to use more of it. It lends a fresh, earthy, layer to casseroles and pasta dishes. You don’t need to chop this finely, as it has soft leaves and will provide a nice contrast to the other, more finely chopped herbs.
- Sage: Many of us immediately associate the flavor of sage with the holiday season and hearty meals like stuffing. It can have an astringent taste if the leaves are left too large, so aim for ¼” pieces or so.
- Rosemary: This assertive and slightly piney herb is a star for its earthy, slightly bitter notes. It holds up very well to large cuts of meats and complex sauces but can overwhelm in a dish like this. So I’ve kept the quantity reasonable, and I recommend that you mince the rosemary leaves as fine as you can. We definitely want the flavor they impart, but whole, cooked rosemary leaves can get woody and unpleasant – let them be in the background this time!
- Thyme: Another commonly used herb that pairs very well with meats, mushrooms, and rich flavors, you only need to run your knife through these leaves once or twice to break them up. No need to get them minced fine – just make sure that any hard stems have been removed.
Pre-cook the veggies
Heat a large pan over medium heat. Generally speaking, it is best to let your pan heat up before adding any oil or butter. Once the pan has heated up, add the butter and let it melt completely. You could substitute a non-dairy butter here if you eat vegan or avoid dairy. (Be sure to check the ingredients of the bread you use)
Add the celery and onion to the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions get soft and translucent. We don’t want to fully cook them, or they’ll become mush when we bake our game-changing sourdough stuffing. You don’t need to stir constantly at medium heat – every minute or so give them a stir. They should be good to go in 4-6 minutes. If it seems like they are burning/browning or cooking too fast, turn the heat down slightly.
Save the garlic for last
It’s a good general practice to hold the garlic back until the last minute or so of cooking. Garlic can overcook and become bitter very quickly. This likely wouldn’t be a problem at the medium heat level, but just in case, wait until the celery and onion look about done, toss in the garlic and stir constantly for a minute or so before taking the pan off the heat.
Pour the entire onion mixture over the bowl of bread and herbs, and use a spatula to coat things evenly.
In a small bowl, beat the eggs together with the salt, pepper, cayenne, and one cup of the stock. Pour this mixture over the bread and use a spatula to fold until the liquid is soaked up.
The remaining cup of stock (or slightly more, perhaps) is to adjust the moisture level. Depending on the exact size of your bread loaf and how dry it is, it may take a bit more liquid to get the texture we want.
You want a uniformly spongy texture to create this game-changing sourdough stuffing, with little or no liquid remaining. Not soggy, but moistened throughout. Think french toast – you want the bread to absorb the liquid, but not get completely soggy!
Pour the stuffing into the greased casserole dish and smooth it out a bit on top. No need to make it flat or smooth – we want those crusty craggy bits to get crispy – just even things out. If you want, you could even brush the top of your game-changing sourdough stuffing with a little melted butter to help with crisping, but it’s not necessary.
Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, until the stuffing feels ‘set’ and the tops are nice and crispy.
Serve immediately and tell me if it is not the best stuffing you have ever had. I am a complete stuffing convert, thanks to my game-changing sourdough stuffing recipe!