Archive: Thanksgiving favorites: Kyle's stuffing
One year when a family member had to avoid bread (wheat allergy), I improvised on my mom’s traditional stuffing recipe by replacing the bread with brown rice, wild rice and chopped rye crisp crackers. It was good!
We all liked the rice and rye flavor so much that when bread no longer needed to be avoided, I kept the rice and rye bread ingredients and incorporated them in this new stuffing recipe. I have been using it ever since.
1 stick real butter
3 cups diced celery
9 T. chopped fresh parsley – if you’re lucky, there is still some from your garden
(4 ½ T. dried parsley may be substituted)
½ cup chopped onion
12 slices of bread, cubed.
(I like a mixture of a good rye, whole wheat (Manitowoc Ovens Hunger Filler is a favorite for this), and a white, such as Manitowoc Ovens English Muffin bread or a nice potato bread. The bread should have some body to it, not that soft, cottony type.
Freshly ground pepper—a few turns of the grinder do it for me
½ # (pre-cooked weight) wild rice – cooked (you can do this ahead of time)
1 # (pre-cooked weight) brown rice – you will need to cook this too before assembling
¼ cup roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon salt
1 to 1½ teaspoons dried marjoram
½ to 1 teaspoon ground sage (to taste, some people do not like sage)
*Optional: sliced mushrooms, coarsely chopped pecans, chopped apple, etc.
In a large frying pan, melt the butter and gently sauté the onions. Add the celery until translucent. Add the bread and remaining ingredients and mix together. Taste it to make sure all is well.
I make my stuffing the day before Thanksgiving and keep it refrigerated in a plastic bag.
DO NOT pre-stuff the turkey the day before. I have heard this is a no-no because of possible bacteria build up.
When you are ready to bake the bird, spoon stuffing loosely into the cavity and pin/truss shut. The remaining stuffing can be put into a greased, covered casserole dish. I put this extra stuffing in the oven to bake closer to meal time for about 30 to 45 min. Baste it with some of the cooked turkey juices and stir the basting juices into the stuffing. (The turkey should be almost done now). Be careful the extra stuffing does not get too browned or the rice will get hard. When you scoop out the stuffing from the turkey, you can mix it into this extra stuffing in the casserole dish.
FYI: When I cook rice, I cook up a large batch and then freeze it in smaller amounts (for my family, 1-2 C. for brown and ½-1 C. for wild). This really helps when preparing meals that require some cooked rice. Sometimes, just the thought of having to cook the rice first can be rather defeating.
I do not cook my brown rice as long as the directions tell you. I put the rice into a large pot with plenty of cold water and start it cooking. About 20 to 30 minutes is usually sufficient. I then drain it and rinse. Brown rice is infinitely more nutritious than white, and I think it is tastier too.