Stuff yourself

Three stuffing options to grace the Thanksgiving table.


Photos by Melanie Kim/THE CHIMES

Melanie Kim/THE CHIMES

Anna Frost, Writer

Surprise whomever you spend Thanksgiving with by spicing up stuffing, or technically dressing since it is cooked in a baking dish rather than up the bird’s butt. Choose one, or more if you feel daring, of these three unique stuffing dishes. For those with traditionalists at the table, the close to classic chestnut-pancetta stuffing with its savory bacon-like flavors will please all. The savory sourdough bread puddings with leek, spinach and mushroom differentiates itself from other stuffing with a satisfying richness. Lastly, for the most adventurous palates, buck tradition and serve up a flavorful Cajun-style corn bread fit for a Southern celebration.


One 1 1/2 pound ciabatta loaf

1 pound pancetta, coarsely chopped

1 stick unsalted butter

3 cups celery, chopped

4 cups onion, chopped

3 tablespoons fresh sage, finely chopped

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

8 ounces jarred peeled and cooked whole chestnuts, cut in half

5 cups chicken stock

4 eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Grease a large baking dish, such as a 10×15 ceramic or glass dish.

In a large frying pan on medium heat, cook the pancetta until browned, about 12 to 15 minutes. Melt the butter in the skillet and add the celery and onions. Cook the celery and onion until softened, about 12 minutes. Add the sage, salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute. Transfer the pancetta mixture to a bowl and add the chestnuts and bread.

Whisk the stock and eggs in a bowl, then stir into the bread mixture until combined well. Pour the stuffing into the baking dish and bake for 45 minutes.

Serve this gourmet version of classic stuffing warm with the rest of the Thanksgiving feast.


Adapted from:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 medium shallots, minced

1 leek, white and tender green, slice into thin strips

1/2 pound brown mushrooms, coarsely chopped

Salt and freshly ground pepper

5 ounces baby spinach

One 1-pound round loaf of sourdough bread, crusts removed, bread cut into 1-inch cubes

2 cups shredded Swiss cheese

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups milk

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Grease one large baking dish, such as a 9×13 pan, and place on a baking sheet.

Heat a medium frying pan on medium heat and melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Cook the shallots and leek for about 4 minutes or until softened, stirring frequently. Turn the heat up to high and add the mushrooms and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Cook the mushrooms until browned, about 7 minutes, then transfer the leek, shallots and mushrooms into a large bowl.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in the same skillet and add the spinach for about minute, tossing over high heat until wilted. Add the wilted spinach to the bowl with the mushrooms, then stir in the cubed sourdough bread, Swiss cheese and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan.

In a small bowl, beat the eggs. Bring the milk and cream to boil in a saucepan over high heat, then slowly whisk into the eggs. Pour the milk mixture over the bread and stir. Leave the bread to soak up the liquid for 15 minutes. When the liquid has been absorbed, transfer the mixture to the baking pan and place the pan on the baking sheet in the oven. Pour warm water into the baking sheet, creating a shallow water bath around the baking dish with the bread pudding.

Let the bread pudding cool for about 15 minutes. Turn on the broiler to high. Sprinkle the rest of the Parmesan cheese on top and place the pan under the broiler for 30 seconds, or until the cheese is melted.

Serve a warm bread pudding to each guest and fall into a savory bread pudding induced food coma, along with the rest of the Thanksgiving fare.


Adapted from:

Corn bread, store-bought or made from scratch, broken into 1-inch pieces

1 pound Andouille sausage, quartered lengthwise and sliced horizontally into 1/2 inch thick pieces

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 sweet onions, coarsely chopped

2-pound bunch of celery, coarsely chopped

8 green onions, white and tender green parts only, coarsely chopped

1 pound large shrimp—shelled, deveined and halved crosswise

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon chopped sage

1 tablespoon chopped thyme

3 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth

1/2 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Tabasco sauce

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a large baking dish, such as a 10 x 15 glass or ceramic dish.

Cook the Andouille sausage over medium heat in a large frying pan until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Pour the sausage into a large bowl and stir in the corn bread. Melt the butter in the frying pan and cook the onions, celery and half the green onions over low heat for about 10 minutes, until softened. Add the shrimp, garlic, sage and thyme and cook until the shrimp are cooked, about 3 minutes. Stir the shrimp mixture into the corn bread.

Finally, add the stock to the pan and bring to a boil, then pour over the corn bread. Stir the cornbread and stock well, then add the parsley, green onions, salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce. Pour the stuffing into the baking dish and bake for 1 hour.

Let the stuffing cool for 15 minutes, then bring the stuffing, and a little bit of New Orleans, to your table for all to enjoy.

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