Between attending my first friendsgiving and getting a lot of Thanksgiving related to-do items from the family, a lot got in the way of me actually posting these past couple of weeks. All that has just delayed the inevitable: my stuffing obsession is about to become public knowledge. Stuffing (or dressing, don’t split hairs) is far and away my favorite Thanksgiving dish. It hits all the highlights: meat, bread, chicken stock, it cries out for gravy… It’s essentially the perfect dish. Of course, I made stuffing for both friendsgiving and my family’s Thanksgiving meal, plus my mom made her traditional cornbread stuffing. I also made the sweet potato pecan pie and grilled a venison kielbasa, not to mention making a whole chicken dinner just so I could make my own chicken stock for stuffing. Did I mention that I love stuffing?
For the bacon and leek stuffing, I used this recipe from the New York Times. However, I’d recommend adding eggs and a little more chicken stock to this one. I also didn’t use mushrooms because I was going for mass appeal at friendsgiving, but I think it would be better if you kept them in. Still, this stuffing was pretty good.
But why have pretty good when you can have incredible? The best stuffing I’ve ever made, pictured in the top of this post, includes spicy sausage, parmesan cheese and the piece de resistance, chicken liver. The liver flavor in this gives it a completely over-the-top, rich, unctuous flavor that you don’t really get in other stuffing. That’s the recipe I’ve included below. I’m never going to live down using the word “unctuous.”
1 lb. white bread, crust cut off
1/2 lb. hot Italian sausage
1/2 lb. chicken liver
1 cup chopped onion or shallots
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped sage
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped thyme
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups chicken broth (a little more or less depending on the texture you like)
Salt, pepper and olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut bread into cubes and toast on baking sheets for 15-20 minutes, until very dry. Put bread cubes in a large bowl.
- In a pan over medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add onions to the pan and sauté until until softened, about five minutes. Add sausage and cook for another 5-10 minutes, breaking up into small pieces until sausage is browned. Add herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Roughly chop chicken livers and add them to the pan. Cook for another 5 minutes until chicken livers are medium rare, or just pink in the middle.
- Add onion, sausage and chicken liver mixture to the bowl with the bread. Add chicken stock , parmesan cheese and eggs to the bowl and mix well. If you like wet stuffing, make sure the bread gets nice and soggy, but there should not be any standing liquid in the bottom of the bowl.
- Butter a 13x9x2 generously. Add the stuffing mixture to the dish and spread it evenly to the edges. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Grate more parmesan cheese over the top; don’t be shy with it. Bake for another 20 minutes and enjoy the best stuffing ever.