I’ve always had a great stuffing recipe, but even great can be made better. I’m 71 now, so here’s how I make (and use) my better-than-great turkey and chicken stuffing.
Stuffing Recipe: Chicken
In a No. 8 cast-iron skillet, melt 6 oz. butter as you cut a medium white onion, into pieces that are not too fine—say 1/3” x 1/2”. Over a low heat, soften the onions well, but do not brown them. Take a loaf of white bread—for example, Arnold’s® Italian White—break pieces approximately 3/4″ square, forming a layer atop the onions and butter.
Sprinkle ground sage, thyme leaves and marjoram fairly generously on the layer. Sage should predominate, thyme next and marjoram should be used in smaller measure. Using a wooden spoon, stir everything to uniformity. Add another layer of bread and repeat with the spices. Do it a third time, using a total of approximately 2/3 loaf of bread. Heat it enough so the bread shrinks down about a third.
Turn the heat off and let it sit until you are able to pick it up with your hands. Now I’m going to tell you to do what the entire world tells you not to do. But, after all, aren’t you sick and tired of a world that tells you you have to do everything their way? Wash the chicken thoroughly, plucking any last traces of plumage and draining all traces of blood, and shove every last bit of stuffing deep into the bird.
But won’t you die from some horrible disease if you eat stuffing cooked (gasp!) in the bird? Not if you know how to cook, you won’t. Never partway cook a chicken. It needs to be cooked through. Do that and your stuffing will be perfectly safe. I’ve cooked and stuffed more chickens and turkeys than I care to think of. I’ve never even had a tummy ache. What I have had is the most luscious stuffing on the planet. No phony, store-bought stuffing for me, with or without “real chicken broth.” No tasteless outside-the-bird gunk, either.
Stuffing Recipe: Turkey
Stuffing a turkey is similar to stuffing a chicken, of course, except quantities must increase. For my stuffing recipe, I use a No. 10 cast-iron skillet and a full quarter-pound of butter. Use a white onion that is larger than medium size. Use a full loaf of white bread. Don’t add giblets to the stuffing—save those for the gravy (I make excellent giblet gravy). If you have a family that lets you, add two to four large chopped oysters with broth during preparation. It adds richness of taste and moisture. Otherwise, all of the steps closely resemble the procedure used in stuffing a chicken. The flavor is considerably better if the stuffing goes into the turkey. An internal temperature of 165º is considered sufficient for safety (see References, below).
It may sound odd, but I enjoy white bread sandwiches made in the following way—save your opinion until after you’ve tried it.
On a plate, place a piece of white bread. Coat it with about 1/8” of quality mayonnaise such as Duke’s® or Hellman’s®. Add a layer of turkey, white and dark are both delectable—say 1/3”. Atop that, place as much as 1” of stuffing. Sprinkle with a lot of salt and a lot of cracked pepper. Cover it all with another mayonnaise-coated slice of white bread. Don’t bother cutting the sandwich in half. Press it down snug to hold the sandwich together. Now what? If you don’t know what to do next, give it to me!
It sounds weird, like bread on bread, but—trust me—it’s not the same. Stuffing doesn’t taste like bread, nor does it have the same texture. There can be no mistake about it: Vince’s turkey and chicken stuffing sandwiches are something to fight for.
Note: You might also enjoy Vanilla and Vanillin: What’s the Difference?