All the sage herbed flavors of Thanksgiving in a real food stuffing for your big meal!
My favorite part of Thanksgiving, & stuffing nostalgia!
Stuffing was my favorite part of the Thanksgiving dinner besides the pumpkin pie at the end. As a kid we grew up on that little red box of stuffing at our huge, extended family meals. I have been told stories of one of my Grandmas using toasted bread to make stuffing a long time ago, but as the times changed and those fancy *very convenient* boxes of faster food became available, it just became the thing to do.
I grew upon that stovetop, red box version…
…and I loved it. There I said it. I seriously loved that totally processed, crazy ingredient list box of stuffing! When I made the real food switch so many years ago, I set out to learn how to make a stuffing that I could still enjoy at the holidays. I have been making this real food version since my 14 year old was just in kindergarten!
You see, when I had her everything changed.
Remember those amazing memories I had of my childhood Thanksgiving meals? I wanted her to have that. I wanted her to remember that every year toward the end of November we get to eat the most amazing meal of the year. Food is meant to be enjoyed my friends! I am not about to take away those comforting, delicious meals that bring joy to our faces, warmth to the belly, and memories that last forever. One of my greatest joys is that my girls are old enough now to really get it (they are 14, 12, and 10 now!). They remember Grandpa carving that huge bird, Grandma stirring that big pot of mashed potatoes, and savoring every last bite of the pumpkin pie. And they cannot wait for stuffing, just like when I was a kid!
So! Lets make some homemade stuffing!
To get started, you’ll want to choose a bread to use. I have to be gluten free, so I typically get a loaf or 2 of gluten free bread at the store. This year, I tried the Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Bread Mix, and made the bread. It is delicious, and a nice splurge if you are gluten free! If you tolerate wheat, a yummy sourdough would be my suggestion. Cornbread also works for this stuffing. If you are using my recipe, you’ll want to double it for this stuffing amount. I made this bread about 5 days before Thanksgiving, so if you’re planning to make the bread, go ahead and put it on your make ahead prep list!
The Method :: Toasting The Bread
You can use dried out bread, or just toast it. I have done both, and both work just fine. Whatever you have time for. You can toast the bread just as easily in the oven while you fix the rest of the ingredients for the stuffing. Cube it up and toss it onto a sheet tray. It will need about 15 minutes in the oven to get golden and toasty, and that is just enough time to get the brothy liquid ready for the rest of the stuffing.
The Method :: The Veggies and Herbs for the Stuffing
This is where the flavor is packed in! Just chop some onion, celery, and garlic to saute in a soup pot. You’ll infuse these veggies and the broth with sage, parsley, and thyme, and then you’ll be ready for the broth.
The Method :: The Broth and Finishing the Herbed Soup for the Stuffing
This is seriously the yummiest, herbed soup you’ve had! Especially if you’re able to use your own bone broth! I used some super gelatinous broth for mine, and I just love getting all those nutrients into Thanksgiving! Once you’ve cooked down the veggies and cooked the herbs, add the broth to simmer for a few minutes. You’ll want to season the soup to be like a salty herbed soup since it will be flavoring all that bread.
The Method :: Putting the Stuffing Together
Once your bread is done toasting, you can put it in a large mixing bowl, and stir in the 2 eggs. Then you’ll stir in the brothy herbed soup to combine and coat the bread. Pour this mixture into your casserole pan, and it’s all ready to bake!
Serving the Stuffing
You can make this stuffing a day in advance, and warm it up while the turkey is resting after cooking. It needs a good hour in the oven, which can be tough if you are working with just one oven and the turkey is in there! So just make it the day before and warm it through.
- 1 loaf See below for bread options in the Notes.
- 2 tbsp butter to cook in olive oil works too.
- 2 medium onions chopped
- 6 stalks of celery chopped
- 4 TB friendly fat to cook in butter, coconut oil, lard
- 3-4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tsp sage
- 2 tsp thyme
- 2 tsp parsley
- Sea salt/pepper to taste
- 1 quart bone broth
- 2 pastured eggs
- Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees, and butter a 9×13 inch baking dish or casserole pan.
- Cube up your loaf of bread into 1-2 inch cubes. Toss them onto 2 sheet trays and toast in the oven at 375 degrees for about 10-15 minutes until lightly golden. While the bread toasts, you can prepare the rest of the stuffing.
- Melt the butter into a large, high walled skillet or soup pot. Saute the onion and celery in the friendly fat for about 5-7 minutes. Add a few pinches of salt to bring out their juices and sweeten.
- Add the garlic, sage, thyme, and parsley, and cook for a minute.
- Add the broth and bring to a simmer. Taste for seasoning/saltiness and add as needed. It should taste like a salty herbed soup. This is what will be seasoning the bread, so you want it to be quite flavorful.
- Put your toasted bread cubes in a large mixing bowl, along with the eggs, and stir to combine. Add the seasoned broth to the mixing bowl, and stir to combine.
- Pour the bread/broth mixture into the buttered 9×13 baking dish, and bake COVERED for 30 minutes at 375 degrees. You can use a lid if your casserole pan has a lid, or use foil. Uncover the baking dish and bake another 25-30 minutes, until the center is set, and the top is golden brown.
- You can use your favorite sourdough or gluten free bread. Gluten free bread can be small, so make sure you have a good 12-14 cups of cubed bread. I used the Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Bread Mix for this recipe. This gluten free cornbread works well too! Make a double batch of the cornbread if you plan on using it for this recipe.