Really Eating

Bacon, Onion and Rye Bread Stuffing

Posted in Recipes by Bethany on December 4, 2009

Like most girls, I love carbs. As long as there’s bread, pasta, potatoes or rice in a meal, I’m one happy camper. However, I’ve always been a pretty picky eater, much to my detriment. When I was younger, for some reason stuffing just didn’t appeal to me. It looked like such a weird, mushy combination of vegetables and carbs… so I just opted out and enjoyed mashed potatoes, rolls, and rice instead.

But one night more than ten years ago, that all changed. My Aunt Joy, the cultured fashionista/personal trainer/English professor (seriously), brought stuffing to our family’s Thanksgiving dinner. Given her absolutely to-die-for cookies and brownies, I took a few hesitant bites of her stuffing and much to my surprise, I. Fell. In. Love. I couldn’t believe how delicious it was! Honestly, I don’t remember any of the ingredients or seasoning, but I do remember how I couldn’t stop eating it.

Every Thanksgiving after, I’ve longed for her Thanksgiving stuffing. Nothing else really comes close. Tragically, Joy was killed in a car accident only a few months after Thanksgiving and I think of her every year.

Armed with dozens of food blog subscriptions and my (free) subscription to Food & Wine, I realized that maybe I can try making my own stuffing… and maybe one day I’ll get lucky and stumble upon (pun intended) Joy’s stuffing and make her proud.

I did a little bit of research and realized that most stuffings are bread-based… but there are SO many choices! Being a “real” advocate, I knew I had to use real bread and not resort to one of those mixes, as nice as they  may be. (Who wants MSG in their stuffing? *looks around* Yeah, no one.) The only question was… which kind? Cornbread? Italian? Herb? Agh!

Well, you gotta start somewhere. There was a pretty delicious sounding “Bacon, Onion and Rye Bread Stuffing” recipe in the November 2009 issue of Food & Wine so I adapted a little and hoped for the best.

Ingredients

  • Loaf of Semifreddi’s Rye bread, cut into ~1-inch cubes (PS: a better bread knife is totally on my Wish List)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 stalk celery, diced (1/4 inch)
  • 1 teaspoon ground thyme (accidentally threw away the thyme from my CSA, boo!)
  • 1/2 pack of thick-sliced bacon, cooked & diced (1/2 inch)
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375. Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish (the butter wrapper’s really handy for this). On a large rimmed baking sheet, toast the rye bread cubes for about 15 minutes, tossing once halfway through, until lightly golden and dry. Transfer to a large (they really mean large) bowl.

In a skillet, melt the butter. Add the onion and celery; cook over moderate heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the thyme (I didn’t have sage) and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Scrape into the bowl with the bread.

Wipe the skillet. Add the bacon and cook over moderate heat until browned, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon (genius!), transfer the bacon to the bowl with the bread. (Was your bowl big enough?)

In a medium bowl, whisk the chicken broth with the egg. Pour over the bread mixture and add the kosher salt and pepper. Toss until the bread soaks up the liquid. Scrape into the prepared baking dish and cover with foil. Refrigerate overnight.

Bake the stuffing for about 30 minutes, until hot throughout. Remove the foil and bake for about 30 minutes longer, until the top is lightly golden. Serve hot or warm.

Yummy! I’m not sure if I’m a huge fan of rye bread, but a good experience, nevertheless. Unfortunately, I made the recipe without seeing the “Serves 12” note and have SO MUCH leftover stuffing… next time, will definitely cut everything in half, or maybe into fourths.

Feel free to pass on your favorite stuffing recipes… I’m still on the look out!

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One Response

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  1. lena said, on December 4, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    you made stuffing!?
    woww, beth!

    & i commend your open-mindedness!
    today, stuffing…tomorrow, tomatoes! =D


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