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Dutchess_III's avatar

Can you tell me the best way to bake stuffing?

Asked by Dutchess_III (38456points) 1 month ago

I have this heavenly stuffing recipe I got from my ex’s sister, long ago, and I’ve used it for 30 years. Until the last couple of years I cooked it in the turkey cavity.
However, there seems to have been a changing of the guard and I’m not the one cooking the turkey any more. :( I can’t bear for that stuffing recipe to be lost so how do I bake it and get that same awesome flavor?
I’ve looked up some recipes but I’d like to hear from people I know who have had experience cooking stuffing this way.

Thanks.

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40 Answers

canidmajor's avatar

I did that one year, and to simulate the turkey flavor I roasted a chicken with the same herbs and spices, and veg in the pan (onions and mushrooms in my case) I would have used on the turkey and used the drippings to baste the stuffing. I cooked it in a deep dish, per instructions for baking it outside the bird. It was a pretty close match.

The chicken was used for a bunch of other stuff.

josie's avatar

Are you going to dry your own bread, or buy packaged cubes?

The liquid is the key. It should be turkey stock. If you can’t actually make scratch turkey stock, at least buy turkey stock in a box, and then simmer it with onion, sage, rosemary, thyme and turkey or chicken bones to make it bigger than it is in the box. Strain off that stuff before you use it. I put a couple of drops of Marsala in it. Not much!

Zaku's avatar

What if you prepare the stuffing and then give it to the person cooking the turkey to put in the turkey?

zenvelo's avatar

@Zaku The “problem” is that the stuffing doesn’t get hot enough to kill any bacteria before the Turkey is done cooking. And the cavity, having been a moist hospitable home for any germs, gets the stuffing damp with maybe salmonella drippings.

@josie has the best advice!

Zaku's avatar

@zenvelo One wonders how so many generations survived so many decades of eating turkey stuffing cooked inside turkeys without massive die-offs.

josie's avatar

My grandma, and my mom’s sister routinely stuffed the turkey. Nobody EVER got sick. I think that is bullshit about salmonella. One more cry from the current cadre of Cassandras that hate their lives and so try to make it no fun for everybody else.

But it does indeed make the turkey have to stay in the oven longer, and that tends to dry out the breast meat.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I use a raw egg in my stuffing, so cook to 165* F.
Use a round Pyrex bowl with aluminum over it until it hits 160* F remove foil, brush butter and chicken broth on it return to oven wait for 165* F.

JLeslie's avatar

You could make turkey soup/stock at home, and use the liquid to make the stuffing. Probably, you can do it with a turkey leg. I’ve never made Turkey soup, but I’m thinking just put the leg in a pot with water, some salt, maybe celery, onion, carrot, and boil for 45–60 minutes. Instead of salt you could use a little chicken bouillon from your cupboard. You can eat the leg for dinner.

@josie I personally know two extended families that got very sick from Thanksgiving dinner. One family wound up in the hospital.

Kardamom's avatar

I have people in my family with compromised immune systems. I would never risk cooking stuffing inside of a turkey for the reasons Zenvelo mentioned. It’s very risky.

Plenty of people get food poisoning on Thanksgiving, even if it doesn’t kill them. Some from salmonella in the dressing, and probably more from people eating food that has been left out for too long (more than two hours).

The best way to get that same, or at least similar, flavor is to get yourself a small cooked turkey breast, or whole cooked chicken, and chop up chunks if it and cook it with your stuffing in your casserole dish. I’m thinking that putting some chunks in the top, and tenting it with foil during the last 10 or 15 minutes would work. You could leave the meat from the top and mix it in, or take it off to use for something else, like soup thw next day.

Here are the reasons why cooking stuffing inside the bird is dangerous, and what you can do to get that flavor without stuffing the turkey:

https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/cooking-stuffing-in-a-turkey-can-be-dangerous-heres-why/

ucme's avatar

Afraid I can’t because as you no doubt know by now…
We have staff for that.

kritiper's avatar

Best way to bake stuffing? Outside of the turkey.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@josie I’m going to make my own bread. When I stuff the turkey I also stuff under the skin and occasionally baste under the skin. The breast doesn’t dry out so badly. Also what is Marsala?

@Zaku They are frying it this year, so giving it to them is out.

Good ideas everyone! If you want I’ll let you guys know what I do. I think I’ll go with @canidmajor, and use a fat, plump baking hen. Well find a use for the meat.

I use celery, raisins, mushrooms, onions, crushed pecans. I saute it all together, really slowly all day the day before and mix it in with the bread the next day.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh, and I almost put “I don’t want to hear about the salmonella BS,” in the details. Cooking with that amount and variety of food requires extra care, but some people just don’t do it. Sure, some people get salmonella on Thanksgiving day, but there is no telling which food they got it from.
I would think there would be a much less chance of loosely packed stuffing being under cooked than the center of a whole ham of comparable size.
Also, thermometer.

JLeslie's avatar

^^I’m pretty sure salmonella is not really a thing related to ham, unless there is cross contamination. Ham can be bad of course, but the main fear regarding undercooked ham is trichonosis, which is practically unheard of now in the US, although not impossible. Ham doesn’t have to be cooked through like the old days, although you still want pork at least medium well in my opinion, although some places serve pork a little pinker.

The two families I know definitely did not have any ham on the table, but it’s true, it could be a vegetable dish just as easily as the turkey or stuffing. A salad cut with a contimated knife is probably the worst risk since it doesn’t get cooked.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Some folks mention sage and Rosemary…I’ve never cooked with those spices. Any hints to give me about using it?

Kardamom's avatar

Both sage and rosemary are delicious, but be aware that a little goes a long way. You can easily overpower a recipe with too much of either of those herbs.

Here’s some info on both dried, and fresh sage:
https://www.thespruceeats.com/sage-cooking-tips-1807990

And here’s some info on using rosemary:
https://www.spiceography.com/cooking-with-rosemary/

Dutchess_III's avatar

My daughter came up with a great suggestion…wrap all the leaf spices up in a packet of cheese cloth and let it simmer from the beginning of the broth making. She said it’s easier to remove them when it’s done, rather than straining.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I am learning so much! My daughter also told me that bones make the best broth…I guess because of the marrow? Then I remembered that my mom always set the turkey neck simmering for the gravy. I guess that’s why. So I called my local grocery store to see if they have any neck bones….coincidentally he just ordered some and they should be in tomorrow.

kritiper's avatar

Cooking stuffing is of no importance to me since I don’t care for soggy bread. So baking it in some way would seem to me like baking a sucker fish.
Now, a sucker fish, when cooked is very hard on pans, even cast iron. So the best thing to cook it on is a cedar shingle, like the ones on some houses. And the fish smells up the house something awful, so it’s best to cook the fish outside over a small fire.
First, clean the fish, (naturally!). Soak the shingle in vegetable oil so it won’t burn when placed over the fire. Cover the fish inside and out with onion soup mix, then place the fish on the shingle. Set the shingle just high enough above the fire so that the fish cooks but the shingle doesn’t catch fire. Cook the fish 15 minutes per pound, on each side. When the fish has been cooked to a delicate brown, throw the fish away and eat the shingle.

Kardamom's avatar

The herbs in a cheesecloth is called a bouquet garni. This is how to make one, and how and why they are used in cooking:
https://www.daringgourmet.com/make-bouquet-garni/

Here’s some tasty info on bone broth:
https://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/cooking-ideas/8-reasons-try-bone-broth

KNOWITALL's avatar

We use muffin pans. Its a little less moist and portion control is nicer. I hate wet stuffing and we all love the crispy bits.

Dutchess_III's avatar

^^I’m going to have to get more muffin pans.

I decided to use turkey necks, so I called Dillions yesterday. It just so happens that he had ordered some just a couple of days ago, and they would be in today. Haven’t picked any up yet, though.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Dutchess If you do use muffin tins, make sure to add a few exra tablespoons of broth and foil the tops. My mouth is watering already!

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’ll mail ya some! :D

KNOWITALL's avatar

Well you can post your special recipe lol

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL That’s a fantastic idea! I like my stuffing dry also.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I have 10 people to serve. 4 of them are kids, though.
Going to grab my special order turkey necks as soon as I wake up here. :D

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well now I’m sad. The kids (my son and his wife) want to do it ALL, except I can make bread. They want to make their own stuffing, which is not the stuffing I have made for 35 years. But…they’re hosting so I guess I just have to deal with it.
What do I do with all these turkey necks now??

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III You can freeze them for now.

Do you typically make stuffing for Christmas?

Or, you can make turkey soup next next weekend and throw in some leftover turkey from Thanksgiving if there is any leftover.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Turkey rice soup with leftover chunks of turkey.

Dutchess_III's avatar

We’ll see. I’m just craving turkey gravy now! Over my stuffing. I don’t know if the kids know how to make gravy….I guess they have to start somewhere.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Dutchess Why not make yours, too, and just have it at home? Or leave in you car as back up, stuffing is not for newbies lol. You may have to save the day.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I might do that too. It’s just we’re already going to have TWO Thanksgivings! With the same people! My son and his wife originally had plans on Thanksgiving Day to go to her Moms (I hate that woman) but she has to work so now they had no plans for TG Day so I said we’ll spring for Golden Corral on TG day, and then on Saturday my son is going to fry a turkey and then we’ll have our 10 person Thanksgiving on that day.

Kardamom's avatar

Make some turkey stock with those necks and freeze it.

Don’t let the kids get you down. They need to try out their own new traditions. That doesn’t mean you lose yours, but you might need to serve your specialties on different days.

Good food is good food, don’t sweat the date, and don’t begrudge your kids, and their mates their new traditions.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I have the necks in the freezer now. I’ll think of something.
At least I still get to make the bread. The grandkids LOVE helping me with it!

kritiper's avatar

Stuffing is baked in the turkey. Dressing is baked in a separate pan outside of the bird. They are both the same thing otherwise.

Dutchess_III's avatar

That’s what most of us agree on @kritiper.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, they said no to my offer of making stuffing. They were going to do it all, except the bread, so the stuffing we had was just out of a box so….oh well.

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