You know what’s super fun? Making it yourself when for years you only used the stuff in a box. I mean, I always “doctored” up the box stuffing, too. Added fresh onion, garlic and herbs with some additional seasoning. I still have a box in my pantry – which I am sure I will still eat at some point.
But this homemade stuffing is so, so good. Like happy dance good.
This is great with roast chicken. We’ve also had it with turkey. You can add or subtract ingredients as you choose. The first time I included Brussels Sprouts leaves, the second time I used kale. This last time, we skipped the leafy greens altogether and just used some extra herbs.
Here’s what you’ll need
- 1 large loaf of crusty bread – I like to use a nice garlic roasted italian for extra flavor
- 2 ounces of pancetta, proscuitto or bacon
- 4 tbsps butter
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 cup diced celery
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup of sherry or white wine
- 1/2 to 2 cups of chicken or turkey stock
- 1 egg
- 1 bunch of sage, thyme, parsley or a combo (use more of this if you skip the greens)
- salt and pepper
- If you want to use the Brussels Sprouts or greens you’ll need about a 1/4 lb.
- For the sprouts – core, remove and separate all the leaves
- For other greens – remove stems, roughly chop
Here’s what you’ll do
Preheat the oven to 275
Tear or slice the bread into cubes about 1-inch in size
Spread the bread on sheet pans – use two if needed since the cubes need to be in a single layer. Place the pans in the oven for about 45 minutes. Then set aside to cool. Once completely cool, transfer the bread to one large mixing bowl.
Preheat oven to 350.
Place pancetta in a large saute pan over medium to medium low heat. Cook until fat is rendered and pancetta is crisp. Be careful not to burn it. Transfer the pancetta to a plate.
Add 4 tbsps of the butter to the saute pan along with the diced onions and celery. Add a pinch of salt and cook for 2 – 3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook until translucent, about 2 more minutes. Then add the fresh herbs and greens if using. Toss to coat then transfer the contents to the bowl with the bread.
Add the wine or sherry to the pan and cook until nearly reduced, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pan. Add this and the pancetta to the bowl, too.
Then add half the stock, salt and pepper to the bowl and toss everything together until combined. Taste. Add more salt if needed at this stage. Whisk the egg with the remaining stock to combine then add to the bowl. Toss to combine again. Each cube of bread should feel saturated with liquid. If there’s extra liquid in the bowl – let the bread sit and soak it up for a bit longer. If it seems dry, add more stock.
Grease your sheet pan(s) lightly with butter. Transfer the stuffing to the pan and cover with foil. Bake at 350 covered for 30 minutes. Then uncover, increase the temp to 450 and cook for an additional 10 – 15 minutes or until browned. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn.
Let rest 5 minutes before serving.
Good food is very often, even most often, simple food.Anthony Bourdain