Christmas Turkey stuffing
December 10, 2012 6:11 PM   Subscribe

Christmas turkey stuffing recipes anyone?

For our traditional Roast Turkey* on Christmas day, the last several years I have made a pretty nice stuffing with wild rice, pearl barley and cranberries, adapted from Stephanie Alexander's recipe. It's worked very well, heaps of flavour, balance of savoury and sweet, touch of the exotic and the texture is just right, not too puddingy, crispy top.

But I'm bored by that, keen to look for other ideas. So, tell me what works for you, please share.

* standard/classic Aussie fare - large bird in the oven for several hours, plus roast vegies, stuffing both in cavities and on the side. NOT looking for turkey cooking suggestions TIA.
posted by wilful to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I did this wild rice and mushroom stuffing one year, and it was possibly my (and my mom's!) favourite part of the meal. I made the following alterations:

- I used dried cranberries instead of pear (it's just what I had)
- used homemade turkey stock instead of the chicken stock
- chopped some bacon and fried it up, then sauteed the onions & mushrooms in the bacon fat, along with a bit of white wine (I added the bacon when I stirred the onions & mushrooms into the rice)
- in addition to cremini mushrooms, I used some dried wild mushrooms (again, just what I had access to), and used the water the mushrooms soaked in as part of the liquid for cooking the rice
- cooked it outside the bird (personal preference)

Effortful, but rich and savoury and full of flavour. The fresh herbs are really nice here.
posted by miss_kitty_fantastico at 6:49 PM on December 10, 2012

Not super fancy but I've had requests for this year after year

A similar but slightly fancier version of the same style of stuffing

I've made the first and the second and honestly I think only I could tell the difference. If the pecans and maple syrup are a little hard to find (or just pricey) in Australia just make the first on. I've also made it with US style breakfast sausage meat I add a dash or 2 of cloves to the mix too and good chicken stock makes a big difference. I find it goes soggy in the bird and cook it separate as the crispy little bits on top are so yummy.

My BIL to whom food is just fuel, actually remembered the website I got this from from from the first Christmas I made it to the next as he wanted to make sure I'd make it again.
posted by wwax at 6:57 PM on December 10, 2012

Cut down the cooking time significantly and stuff between the skin and the breast. Any reduction in oven time on a stinking hot Christmas morning is a bonus in my book (and the peripheries don't dry out).

I did a variation on this ricotta stuffing many years ago and have been made to repeat it by my family every year since. (I subbed the raisins with dried cranberries and the thyme with sage.) The butter drips down through the meat during cooking.

Stuffing between the skin and breast is a little more challenging but if you do it after a few drinks it kind of feels pervyfun. I make the pocket go right down to the legs.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 7:02 PM on December 10, 2012

I agree with Alton Brown: Stuffing the turkey is evil. However, Robb Forman Dew's recipe for Cornbread Stuffing With Sausage and Apples (a version of which is linked on the Serious Eats site) is excellent. I can attest to the goodness of this stuffing (and I have never been a stuffing fan!). Takes some advance prep, but it pays off when you can just stick the whole pan into the oven and call it good.
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:03 PM on December 10, 2012

I don't have a recipe but heard Alton Brown on npr recently say (in addition to stuffing the bird during cooking is evil) to cook the stuffing outside the bird but then put it inside while the cooked turkey is resting so it will absorb juices and gain even more flavor... seems like a genius solution to me!
posted by belau at 7:39 PM on December 10, 2012

This ciabatta stuffing with chorizo, sweet potato, and mushrooms is another stuffing in a separate pan idea that has been popular with my crowd. Variations: Italian bread or baguettes work fine, I have left out the sweet potato, and used regular onions instead of red, typical button mushrooms instead of shitakes, any kind of sausage works in place of chorizo including regular pork sagey sausage, as well as chinese sausage. It turns out tender not puddingy but I could see how it might go that way if you used more liquid instead of less. You can also make this the day ahead, refrigerate and bake the day of. Great as leftover breakfast also. Nom.
posted by tangaroo at 7:53 PM on December 10, 2012

I always cook my turkey stuffed, Alton Brown be damned. I have two stuffings that I do, a bread stuffing in the main cavity and a sausage stuffing in the secondary cavity.

For the bread stuffing: saute onions, carrots, and celery in quite a lot of butter. Mix in chopped fresh sage, thyme, rosemary, parsley, savory, salt and pepper. Mix with bread crumbs (I run fresh bread through the food processor) and stuff into the bird, hey presto.

For the sausage stuffing: combine ground pork, sage, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, parsley, salt and pepper eggs, yogurt, and breadcrumbs, like you're making meatloaf. Stuff into the secondary cavity, and yum.

Given that you're in the antipodes, these might be a bad idea, though. They make the bird take substantially longer to cook, and they are really nowhere near as good cooked outside it.
posted by KathrynT at 10:34 PM on December 10, 2012

I've tried a few recipes but the one our family likes best is also the simplest. Saute equal parts finely chopped onion and celery in butter. Toss in cubes of two or three breads (we like wheat, white, and rye), add some fresh sage and marjoram, then add enough homemade chicken broth or stock to moisten. Test for salt and fill the bird loosely.
posted by R2WeTwo at 11:53 PM on December 10, 2012

I was really hoping to find this recipe online so I didn't have to type it in for you, but this is the closest I got.

Hazelnut-Mushroom Stuffing (the original was for Morels but I've never made it that way, not having an extra arm and leg to sell, and it's absolutely delicious anyway)

1 c chopped raw Hazelnuts
1 c each onions, leeks, celery, chopped
1 t dried thyme
3/4-1 lb wild mushrooms (yes, it calls for morels; I usually do a mix of portabellas and reconstituted dried fancy things)
1.75 tsp salt
2 c chicken stock
1/4 c frangelico, or other hazelnut liqueur (or yes, I've used a mixture of hazelnut coffee syrup and brandy, shut up)
10 cups crustless white bread cubes from a day-old but loaf, but not dried (or crusty brown bread cubes, if that's more your style. I mean seriously, this is one detail-oriented recipe-writer)
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 c chopped fresh parsley
1 t black pepper

melt 3 T butter (medium heat) toast the hazelnuts in it, set aside (butter and all)
melt 3 T butter (low heat) cook the onions/leeks/celery, thyme.
(medium heat) Add mushrooms, salt, cook till softening (5 min), add broth and booze, simmer 5 mins. Let it cool a bit if you're smart.
Pour everything (mushroom mixture, hazelnuts, parsley, pepper, eggs) over the bread cubes and mix well.
Bake as you think is best.
posted by aimedwander at 5:47 AM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

So I've gone with wwax's sausage and herb stuffing (which interestingly doesn't contain herbs), but yes I have stuffed the cavity too. I used chorizo but otherwise followed the recipe. Looks the goods, a review to follow.
posted by wilful at 3:17 PM on December 24, 2012

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