How To Make Stuffing From Scratch In Video and In Person

If you’re like me who wants to wait for an online event when I want to learn it now – well, here’s both.

And if you’re wanting to learn this – head on over to our  place on  November the 30th, right here on this page and you’ll be able to participate and ask questions.

 

 

I’m Frank Proto, professional chef and culinary instructor, and today I’m gonna show you the best way to make stuffing. I’m gonna show you how to make stuffing that’s gonna keep ’em coming back for seconds or thirds and possibly fourths. This is stuffing 1 0 1. I truly believe that stuffing is one of the most important dishes on your Thanksgiving table. First of all, it soaks up a lot of gravy and it’s really delicious. Second of all, we get to use up any leftover bread we might have. And third of all, you can make it in so many different ways. One of the major pitfalls with stuffing is that it’s either too wet or too dry. And what I’m gonna show you is how to find that middle ground where your stuffing has the perfect texture.
There’s a lot of different breads you can use. I’m gonna use a baguette. You can use sourdough rye bread, white bread. It’s pretty much whatever you prefer. But the reason I choose the baguette is that it’s sturdy, it holds together and it doesn’t disintegrate when I start to add all the other ingredients to it. I like to use ol baguettes. It’s already started the process of drying out. Alright, let’s cube up this bread. I’m just gonna take a half a loaf right now. I leave the crust on. I like the flavor of the crust, I like the way it looks. And we’re gonna cut it in half and half again and then into nice cubes. These cubes go onto a gray to start that drying process.
Now that I have the bread cut, I want it to dry out for a few days and get really firm if you don’t have the time to let it dry out for a couple of days. What I like to do is take this, put it in a low oven, 200, 250 degrees until it gets most of the moisture out in front of me. I have a tray of bread that’s already been dried and if you look at it, you squeeze on it. It doesn’t go anywhere, right It’s firm. If you drop it, it doesn’t shatter, but it’s really loud. It’s not soft at all. We have a nice dried chunks of bread.
One thing I love about this dish is that it’s one of those things you can do ahead. It actually tastes better after a day or two. So I got some oil in the pan and I’m gonna fry off my sausage. I’m using breakfast sausage outta the casing. I feel like the flavor and breakfast sausage mirrors a lot of the flavors we use in Thanksgiving already. Sage time, so that’s what I’m going with. A lot of breakfast sausage has a high proportion of fat and I want that in my stuffing. It flavors the whole stuffing. Let’s go in the pan. And I know it looks like a lot of sausage, but I’m feeding a lot of people. It’s Thanksgiving, so I’m gonna get this in the pan, start cooking it and start breaking it up into little chunks. What we’re trying to do here is render off some of that fat and brown our sausage, so we get that caramelization in those caramelized flavors.
So break it up as you go. One of the great things about stuffing is you can use a lot of different flavors. If you don’t like breakfast sausage, find some chorizo. If you don’t like chorizo, you can use Italian sausage. It’s really adaptable to what you want in your stuffing. You’ll notice that I’m not putting any salt and pepper on this. Most sausages come seasoned already and I’ll season the whole dish later on rather than trying to season the sausage. There’s salt, there’s flavor in here already. I don’t think we need to add any more to that. The sausage is nice and brown. It’s cooked most of the way through, and we’re gonna use that slotted spoon to take out the sausage, leaving as much of the fat behind as I can. If I tilt the pan back and run my sausage up to the back of the pan, you can see that I’m getting a lot of the fat draining off as I take it out.
And now I can start cooking my vegetables for the stuffing. All right, so we just let the fat from the sauces get hot and we can add our onions in. All the vegetables for my stuffing are rough, chopped or large chopped. I wanna still see them in the finished dish, so I go a little bigger on the vegetables. Whenever I cook onions, I always add just a little bit of salt. It’s gonna draw out the moisture and let our onions start breaking down. I’m also gonna add just a little bit of pepper now too. I like the season throughout the process. So you can see my onions are starting to get brown. We can add our celery. Now, a lot of times with stuffing you’ll see celery. Celery is just that flavor profile that goes really well with this. So once our celery starts to cook down, I can add my bay leaf.
I have some chopped thyme, some sage and some rosemary. Just stir those in. Chopped garlic goes in at the end because it tends to burn really quick. And if I put in it earlier, I have burnt garlic, not toasted garlic. Alright, my veggies look good. They’re starting to get fragrant and now it’s time for the butter. It looks like a lot of butter and yes, it is a lot of butter, but that butter is gonna soak into that bread with the stock and the sausage and it’s gonna make this stuffing so delicious and moist. Thanksgiving in the holidays is no time to skimp on the butter. So you can see that I have some brown bits on the bottom. That’s my fond, and that’s where all the concentrated flavor is. Once we add the stock to this, that’s gonna melt and give us some nice caramelized flavors. Alright, we’re done. I can shut my heat off. And what I’m gonna do with this now is add it to my sausage, get all the butter in there, scrape it into here, mix it all together. I’m gonna take the bay leaf out, get rid of the bay leaf. I have all of my cooked ingredients in the bowl, the sausage, the herbs, the veggies, the butter. Now all we really have to do is get this mixed in with our bread and some stock and then bake it in the oven.
It’s time to put everything together so the bread goes in first. It’s gonna start soaking up all the liquid right away, and that’s what we want. Make sure you have a big enough bowl for this because if you don’t, it’s going everywhere.
You take your sausage and aromatics and butter and you put it over the top. And what this is gonna do is start soaking into the bread immediately. And that’s what we want. I’m gonna add some stock. I’m not gonna add it all at once. I’m gonna add it and see where we’re at. So I’m gonna go about half. I’m using chicken stock. It is kind of a neutral stock. It’s gonna add some background flavor, but it’s not gonna take over. We’re gonna start mixing. And what I’m looking for here is that my bread starts to get a little soaked with all of the flavorings and the stock. I think it’s a good time to also add some salt and pepper. Our bread is kind of bland compared to the sausage, so we do wanna season this really well. Keep on mixing and stirring. I’m gonna let this soak for about five minutes just so that we start seeing our bread is softening.
We don’t want to put this in the oven when our bread is still hard. You can see that it’s already starting to soften up and that’s what we want, but we want it to be a little softer than this and it’s time to put it into our baking dish. I’m not gonna butter my baking dish. We have a lot of butter in the stuffing already, so let’s just dump it in. Oh yeah, yeah. I’m just gonna kinda let it settle in here. Stuffing is usually put inside the bird when the bird’s roasting. Dressing is something that we make outside of the bird in a dish like this. I don’t like stuffing my bird with stuffing for the main reason that it makes the bird take longer to cook for me. In my mind, it’s interchangeable. I’m not gonna split hairs with this. It’s a stuffing, it’s a dressing. I’m not gonna argue about it. I’m gonna put it in the oven for about a half hour. What I’m mainly looking for is that the top gets nice and crispy and we don’t have any moisture left in here. All the moistures sucked into the bread. So let’s get into the oven and then we get to eat.
It’s been about a half hour. My stuffing is outta the oven. And if you look at it, the top is a little dried out. There’s a lot of crunchy bits, there’s some soft bits. It’s got a lot of textual difference going on, and that’s what makes me so happy about stuffing. There’s a lot going on in a few little bites. We finally get to Thanksgiving dinner. I got my Turkey, my green beans, my mashed potatoes, my cranberry sauce, my gravy. We saved the best for last. We got the stuffing
Right there. It’s kind of like the place of honor that’s the head of the table right here. Look at this beautiful plate in front of me. It’s got everything on it and it’s got a really nice mound of stuffing. So without further ado, let’s give it a taste. Of course, I want to dip it in a little bit of gravy. And luckily my mashed potatoes are holding the gravy for me. Hmm. You can really taste all the herbs and aromatic vegetables you have in there. The sausage gives it a nice kick. If you take the time and the effort to make your own stuffing, I guarantee everyone’s gonna go back for seconds.


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