Ever since I started cooking Thanksgiving dinner, I’ve been searching for “my” stuffing recipe. Mom’s stuffing was always good and of course it had that “I grew up with this” charm, but I wanted my own recipe. (Mom’s uses items that are decidedly not local, so that’s another reason to find my own recipe). I’ve tried several different recipes, and so far, this is what I’ve come up with. This recipe (or a close approximation) will be what we use for our local Thanksgiving this year.
We’ll also have John’s Merme’s stuffing, which uses Bell’s Poultry Seasoning. Luckily, Bell’s is from New England, and that’s exactly where his parents are flying in from in just a few days. So we’ll ask them to bring us a box.
Soon after my dear, sweet husband introduced me to beer, I decided that one of my favorite beers was Nightwatch from Maritime Brewery. I like my beers dark and toasty. But lucky for us, Nightwatch is a local beer so it fits in very nicely with any Thanksgiving planning. The second component to today’s stuffing is a bag of stuffing mix (read: stale baguette pieces) from Tall Grass Bakery. You can pick up a big bag of stuffing mix at the University District or Ballard Farmers Markets this weekend for only $5. Add in some carrots, celery, an egg, and a bit of seasonings, and you’ve got yourself some stuffing.
- 2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 1 head of celery, sliced
- 4-5 medium carrots, sliced
- Butter or lard for frying
- 10 cups of stuffing mix (stale baguette pieces)
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 bottle Nightwatch (or other local beer)
- 1 Tbsp thyme
- 1 Tbsp rosemary
- 1 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400.
- In a large skillet, over medium-low heat, melt 1 Tbsp of butter and 1 Tbsp of lard.
- Add the onions and stir occasionally for 20 minutes, until the onions are starting to caramelize.
- Mix in the carrots and celery and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring regularly.
- In a large bowl, mix the stale bread and the veggies until completely combined.
- Mix in the beaten eggs.
- Pour the beer in slowly and mix well.
- Transfer to a shallow greased baking dish and cover with foil.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes.
- Remove the foil and bake, uncovered, for another 10-15 minutes, checking halfway through.
- Serve, with or without gravy.
Notes: This was my favorite stuffing so far. I loved the sourdough flavor of the stuffing mix from Tall Grass. Stuffing (or dressing, depending on where you’re from and whether or not your family cooked the mix in or out of the bird) is one of those catch-all foods, much like risotto. What you put into it is really completely up to you. Love garlic? Then add 5 or 6 cloves. Want a richer stuffing? Add some crumbled or sliced cooked sausage. Like a bit more crunch? Add some toasted and chipped hazelnuts or walnuts. The key to this stuffing is, of course, the beer. The beer gave the entire mix a very deep and rich flavor. I couldn’t tell that there was beer in it by the time it came out of the oven, but I could tell that I’d done something very good. The flavor was just a tad sweet from the onions and smoky from the beer. A smoked porter would also be fantastic in this dish. Experiment and pick one of your favorite beers.
- Emmer Bread and Sausage Stuffing It is finally November. Well, ok. Who am I kidding....