Posts Tagged ‘stuffing’

28th November
written by Loren

Not a bad place to go out, right?

I want you to know that I take this title seriously. This is not only the best stuffing I’ve ever had, it’s the best stuffing I can conceive of. I am willing to say right now that this is the perfect stuffing recipe, and if you say otherwise, I challenge you to a pistol duel at dawn on the tennis court attached to the Burj Al-Arab hotel in Dubai. What makes this stuffing so good is a perfect trifecta of white wine, cheese and wild rice. Doesn’t sound like that much of an epiphany, right? Trust me, it’s amazing. The melted cheese gives it a rich flavor, the white wine provides a bright acidic flavor to cut through everything, and the wild rice rounds out the taste as well as providing an interesting texture to a side dish that can sometimes be as texturally interesting as that jar of paste you used to grub on in kindergarten.

I probably should have posted this before Thanksgiving, but I really wanted to make it myself first. Prior to this year, I’ve only had this when my mother made it, and you just never know exactly how a recipe is going to work before you do it yourself. Plus, this way, you now have an excuse to make a turkey again for Christmas!

[DDET The ingredients list is rather long on this one]

  • 3/4 cup wild rice – uncooked
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 chicken bullion cubes
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 3 tbsp parsley
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning (use more if bread cubes are not seasoned)
  • 1/2 tsp sage
  • 1/4 tsp savory ( I actually omitted this because I couldn’t find it in stores the night before turkey day)
  • 1/8 tsp thyme
  • 1 pound grated mild white cheese (monterey jack, muenster, mozz)
  • 2 ounces grated parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup)
  • 10 oz stuffing (seasoned or not)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Rinse the rice under cold water, then cook in the water, along with the bullion cubes, salt and 1tbsp of the butter. Cover and boil for 10 minutes before reducing the heat and simmering for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and do not drain the liquid.  I will admit that at this point I was slightly concerned with the aroma. I’d never cooked wild rice before, and just to warn you there is slightly… sulfurous odor that  comes about. This is not cause for concern. That smell does not at all portend bad things for the flavor of the final dish.

Now sauté the onions, celery and mushrooms on medium heat with the remaining two tablespoons of butter. After two minutes, add the garlic and herbs. Cook for an additional two minutes, then remove from the heat.

In a large bowl (seriously, it needs to be pretty big you let you mix everything together), add the cheeses, dry stuffing, parsley and the sautéed veggies. Pour the wine into the sauté pan and scrape down the sides to get all the tasty bits, then pour that in the bowl as well, along with the rice and water. Mix well.

The recipe says this makes enough stuffing for a 20lb turkey. I myself subscribe to the Alton Brown school of turkey prep, which states that adding stuffing to your bird will destroy it. It takes so long for the stuffing to reach the appropriate temperature (165, same as the bird) that you will have to overcook the breasts in order to make the stuffing safe to eat. It just doesn’t make sense. Just go ahead and cook this stuffing in a casserole dish, or soufflé dish, or, hell, even a cake pan. I believe I baked it at 350 for about 10-15 minutes, then another 10 minutes or so later on to warm it up. The gooeyness of the melted cheese will make it pretty forgiving in terms of overcooking it.

4th December
written by Arthur

For the first time in my 29 Thanksgivings, I took the lead for this year’s day of culinary excess.  Over the years, I’ve cooked a variety of T-day dishes.  A sweet potato dish for the big day here, a Turkey for a work party there.  But, before this November 24th, I never had to worry about the timing of it all at once and I’d never made real stuffing.

In order to ensure a moist turkey, I took the only path I know that doesn’t involve a deep fryer: brining.  It seems counterintuitive, but soaking a Turkey (or any meat for that matter) in a salt bath actual makes for a more moist bird.  I’m not a chemist, but the process allegedly involves osmosis–where the cells in the bird take on more water.  For a 13-15 pound turkey, use one and a half gallons of water and one and a half cups of kosher salt.  Combine the water and salt in a large pot, heat (to below a simmer), and stir until the salt is dissolved.  Then cool the pot in an ice bath or outside as Loren recently suggested.   The cooling is critical, otherwise you’ll be holding the turkey at a temperature idle for bacterial growth.  Once the brine has cooled immerse the turkey fully and set in the fridge for 24 to 36 hours.  You can immerse the turkey in either a large pot or in a large trash bag (it’s a good idea to triple layer if you go the bag route).   Prior to cooking, remove the turkey from the brine and put an herb butter mixture under the skin.  The herb butter will add some flavor and further moistness.   The end result?  An amazingly moist turkey.  Even days later the left overs are still moist.  I honestly don’t understand why everyone doesn’t brine their Thanksgiving turkey!

While the Turkey is the corner stone of thanksgiving dinner, everyone knows that the day is really about the sides.  So I pulled together some stuffing, a sweet potato dish, creamy garlic mashed potatoes, some fresh baked bread, and cranberry sauce.  Stu (the vegetarian) brought a nice big pan of mac’n cheese and Matt, in classic MN style, brought a pan of green bean casserole.  Iggy and her sister Heidi made a cucumber and sour cream salad.

The Stuffing

Since Stu is a vegetarian, I made both a meat and vegetarian version.  Both start the same way, with a few cups of celery and a few cups of yellow onion.  In a heavy bottom pot, cook the finely chopped celery and onion for approximately 15 minutes until soft and translucent.  For the meat version, I added in a few chopped chicken and apricot sausages.  Next I added about a cup of golden raisins that had soaked in warm water for about 20 minutes.   Next throw in a bunch bread crumbs and slowly mix in a few cups chicken stock (Stu let me do this for the “veggie” version as well) until the bread crumbs become soft, but not soaked.  At this point you can either stuff the turkey or bake in a baking dish.  Because oven space was at a high premium, I cooked the veggie batch on the stove in a dutch oven to create that crispy outside.

The Sweet Potatoes

This one requires a little planning.  The night before cooking  these you’ll need bake a couple sweet potatoes in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, until they can be easily pierced with a knife.  Store in the fridge over night.   When it’s time to actually make the rest of the dish, skin the sweet potatoes and cut them into 1 inch slices.  Layer the slices sweet of potatoes with some crushed walnuts and canned sliced pineapple rings.  On the top, layer mini-marshmallows.  Bake covered for 15 to 20 minutes and then bake uncovered until the marshmallow begin to brown.

Cranberry Sauce

I had never made cranberry sauce before, but I was excited to try something new.  For some reason I had  visions of ginger cranberry sauce dancing in my head.  After finding a few recipes, I put a couple in to the following:


  • One 16 ounce pack of cranberries
  • One cup of water
  • One cup of sugar (1/2 recommended for the future)
  • One table spoon of ginger
  • Zest of one orange
Combine the sugar and water in a pan, heat and stir until the sugar dissolves.  Next add the cranberries and other ingredients.  Bring to a simmer.  Cook for 5-10 minutes, until  all the cranberries have burst (there is a minute or two where you can hear them popping like weak popcorn).  Remove from the heat, let cool and then refrigerate.
Overall, I liked how it turned out.  The orange and the ginger paired well with the sourness of the cranberries.  I would use the recipe again, but I would cut the sugar back to a half cup–this version was just a little overly sweet.

Also, while making my own cranberry sauce was fun, I still had to follow tradition and break out the canned stuff, served on a plate with can rings and all.

The Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Nick has made this dish a few times before and when it came time to select a mashed potato dish I knew that this one had to be it:


  • 2 pounds russet potatoes
  • 5 table spoons of butter
  • 2/3 cups heavy cream
  • One bulb of roasted garlic

Slice off the very top of the garlic head. Drizzle the head with olive oil and wrap in foil and bake at 400 for roughly 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Cut the potatoes into large pieces, making sure all are relatively the same size. Place the potatoes in a large pot, add the salt, and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce heat to maintain a rolling boil. Cook until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Meanwhile heat butter and cream until butter melts. Add the roasted garlic to the potatoes, mash all together, add the butter-cream mixture, and continue to mash until combined.  Serve immediately.

Warning: this dish is delicious AND incredibly filling.

The Meal

True to Thanksgiving tradition, after hours of prep and a day of cooking, everyone at the table was full beyond the ability to move in about 25 minutes.  After a movie break,ThanksKilling (a little known gem of a movie that was robbed at the Oscars), and picking at our plates as the first round of food settled, it was time for a little coffee and some great homemade apple and pumpkin pie.

All-in-all, I would say my first Thanksgiving cooking was a success.