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Nov 9, 2018 10:38 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

New Takes On Thanksgiving Stuffing To Make Ahead

Nov 12, 2018 11:10 AM

At my family’s Thanksgiving we always serve a traditional homemade white bread stuffing composed of browned sausage meat, onions, celery, poultry seasoning and sage. Nearly every other family I know includes one like it too—or it just would not be Thanksgiving! Be sure to make your favorite stuffing for the traditionalists. Then this year, why not add a new stuffing for the adventurous members of the group? The good news is that all stuffings can be made ahead of time if you follow these three points.

1. Prepare the stuffing up to the point of adding liquid. Do not add the turkey or chicken stock until just before baking. 2. Cool the stuffing to room temperature, transfer it into zip-lock bags and store in the refrigerator or freezer until the day before serving. 3. Defrost the stuffing in the bag in the refrigerator, transfer it to a covered baking dish, add the broth, and bake until it is hot and crusty on the top.

These untraditional stuffings are calibrated to stuff a 15- to 16-pound turkey with leftovers. If your turkey is larger, make one and one half times the recipe.

The ham-and-cheese-on-rye people will love seeded rye, ham and Gruyère stuffing. It’s so tasty it can stand alone.

Farro, an Italian whole grain that is similar to barley, is an interesting base on which to build a stuffing of flavorful herbs, fruits, and crunchy nuts. Bon appétit!

Seeded Rye, Ham And Gruyère Stuffing
(For a 16- to 18-pound turkey)

4 quarts seeded rye bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 cup unsalted butter

1 large yellow onion, chopped

4 stalks celery with leaves, finely sliced

8 ounces boiled ham, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

8 ounces smoked ham, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped

1 bunch fresh sage leaves, chopped

2 teaspoons thyme

1 teaspoon poultry seasonings or more to taste

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

6 ounces Gruyère or Swiss cheese cut into 1/2-inch cubes

About 2 1/2 to 3 cups chicken or turkey stock

To prepare:

Cut bread into cubes and place in a large bowl and let stand uncovered overnight.

In a large skillet over moderate heat, melt butter and when the foam subsides add the onion and celery and sauté until they are soft and translucent, about five minutes.

Add the ham, parsley, sage, thyme and poultry seasonings and sauté until the ham is slightly browned and the mixture is aromatic, about five minutes.

Stir in about half of the bread cubes and sauté until the mixture is blended.

Taste and correct the seasonings.

Remove from the heat, add remaining bread cubes, toss well, and cool to room temperature. Can be done up to this point. Store in refrigerator or freezer.

Before stuffing or baking, toss the cheese with room temperature or cool stuffing, and add only as much stock as necessary for the mixture to hold its shape in a large spoon. It should neither be very wet, nor very dry, just moist. If baking separate, add more stock than if using inside the turkey.

Bake at 350 degrees F until the stuffing is hot, the cheese is melted, and the top is brown and crispy, about 30 to 35 minutes.

Farro, Herbs, Apricots, Raisins, And Pinenuts
(For a 16- to 18-pound turkey)

4 cups farro

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

8 cups good quality chicken stock

1 cup dried apricots, chopped

2/3 cup dried prunes, chopped

1/2 cup sundried cranberries

3/4 to 1 cup port

1/2 cup unsalted butter

2 bunches scallions with the green tops, chopped

2 large shallots, chopped

2 stalks celery with leaves, chopped

1 small bunch parsley, chopped

3 sprigs fresh sage, chopped

2 sprigs thyme, chopped

1 teaspoon poultry seasoning

1 green apple, peeled and chopped

1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

To prepare:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large casserole dish over moderate-high heat, add oil and sauté the onion until beginning to soften, about three minutes.

Add the farro all at once and sauté until the kernels glisten, about two minutes.

Pour chicken stock into the pan, stirring up once or twice. Cover and bake until all the liquid is absorbed, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove and place a paper towel under the lid of the casserole and bring to room temperature.

Meanwhile in a large saucepan over moderate heat, add the apricots, prunes and cranberries and just enough port to barely cover the fruit, cover and bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the fruit is plumped, about 10 minutes. Or place the fruit and port in a glass dish, cover with plastic wrap and let stand overnight at room temperature.

To prepare the stuffing:In a large skillet over moderate-high heat, melt the butter; when the foam subsides, add the scallions, shallots, and celery and sauté, stirring often until the vegetables are soft and translucent.

Add the parsley, sage, thyme, poultry seasoning and apple.

Sauté until the mixture is aromatic, about two to three minutes.

Add about half of the cooked farro and briefly sauté to blend the seasonings. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl. Stir in the remaining farro, add the plumped fruit along with their juices and pine nuts, toss well, taste and season with salt and pepper. Can be done to this point and refrigerated or frozen.

Stuff the turkey or transfer to a buttered casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees F until the stuffing is hot and the top is browned, about 30 to 35 minutes.

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