Mouthwatering Stuffing Recipes Will Make Thanksgiving Memorable

These unique stuffing recipes will keep your guests, well, stuffed.

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons: Pen Waggener

If you want your guests to talk about the majesty of your Thanksgiving spread for years to come, bust out one of these delicious, unique recipes.

Crispy Brown-Rice Pilaf with Merguez and Dates

From Celebrity chef Daphne Oz’s new book The Happy Cook, this rice pilaf is a yummy nontraditional side dish for your Thanksgiving table.

1 ½ cups long-grain brown rice
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 merguez sausages
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 ¼ cups chicken broth or water (or combination)
½ cup chopped, pitted Medjool dates (about 8 dates)
½ cup silvered almonds

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Add the rice and the 2 teaspoons salt and cook, uncovered, until the rice is cooked on the outside but still quite raw on the inside, about 20 minutes. Drain in a sieve and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Turn the rice out onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with a clean kitchen towel.

2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Squeeze the sausage out of its casings (discard the casings) and cook until it is browned, stirring often to crumble, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the sausage to a large plate and set it aside (you’ll use any fat that collects on the plate later).

3. Add the onion and ½ teaspoon salt to the pan and cook, stirring often, until the onion starts to brown around the edges, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the butter. When it melt, add the parboiled rice and stir quickly to coat. Let it warm for 1 minute, then add the broth/water, dates, almonds and ½ teaspoon salt. Bring the liquid to a simmer, still over medium heat.

4. Use the end of a wooden spoon to poke about 6 holes through the rice. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered and without stirring, until the liquid level has reduced and doesn’t rise above the rice, 8 to 10 minutes.

5. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Cook until all the liquid is absorbed, 10 to 15 minutes more. Remove from heat. Remove the lid, cover the pot with a piece of paper towel, then return the lid to hold it in place. Let the rice sit covered and steaming for 5 minutes.

6. Return the sausage and accumulated juices to the pilaf and fluff the rice with a fork, taking care to leave the crispy layer of rice at the bottom of the pan intact. Turn the rice out onto a platter. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to scrape up the crispy, browned bits at the bottom of the pan. Serve them on top of the rice.

Tip: In this method, the rice is parboiled first then gently sautéed before steaming. By not stirring or moving the bottom layer of rice, we’re ensuring tender, individual grains (not gloopy lumps), and a crisp bottom layer of socarrat. And don’t skip the final 5-minute steam off the heat—this is crucial for perfectly fluffed grains.

Cranberry-Ginger-Thyme Stuffing
from Lauren Yobs

5 tbsp rosemary-infused olive oil
4 cups cubed french bread (1/2 baguette)
1 cup mix of golden raisins, currants, and dried cranberries
1/2 cup lightly toasted, chopped walnuts
1/2 cup lightly toasted, chopped pecans
2 white onions
4 cups celery, diced
1 cup parsnips, diced
3 Golden Delicious apples (with peel), steamed and diced
3 Pears (with peel), steamed and diced
1 tbsp peeled, minced fresh ginger
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 cup Marsala wine
1 cup fresh cranberries
2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Toss cubed bread with 3 tbsp olive oil and bake for 20 min. While it cooks, combine dried fruit mixture with 1/2 cup boiling water, let soak 20 min. Drain the fruit, but keep the water. Let both the bread and the fruit cool.

2. Sautee the onions, celery, parsnips, fresh ginger, cinnamon stick and salt in a large skillet with 2 tbsp olive oil until softened. Remove the cinnamon stick, then in a large bowl, mix together the sauteed vegetables and bread. In the same skillet, heat the Marsala wine to a low boil. Add the wine, dried fruit, and water used to soak the fruit. Mix in the walnuts, pecans, apples, pears, fresh cranberries, and all remaining herbs and spices. Beat the eggs, then add them to the bowl. Mix well.

3. Pour mixture into a greased baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 375°F for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Cornbread-Sausage Stuffing with Apples

From the Silver Palate Cookbook

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups finely chopped yellow onions
3 tart apples (Jonathan and Winesap are good), cored and chunked; do not peel
1 pound lightly seasoned bulk sausage (breakfast sausage with sage is best)
3 cups coarsely crumbled corn bread
3 cups coarsely crumbled whole-wheat bread
3 cups coarsely crumbled white bread (French or homemade preferred)
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
1 1/2 cups shelled pecan halves

1. Melt half of the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook, partially covered, until tender and lightly colored, about 25 minutes, Transfer the onions and butter to a large mixing bowl.

2. Melt the remaining butter in the same skillet. Add the apple chunks and cook over high heat until lightly colored but not mushy. Transfer the apples and butter to the mixing bowl.

3. Crumble the sausage into the skillet and cook over medium heat,stirring, until lightly browned. With a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to the mixing bowl and reserve the rendered fat.

4. Add the remaining ingredients to the ingredients in the mixing bowl and combine gently. Cool completely before stuffing the bird; refrigerate if not used promptly.

5. If you do not wish actually to stuff the bird (goose or duck. for example, can make the stuffing greasy), spoon it into a casserole. Cover the casserole and set into a large pan. Pour hot water around the casserole to come halfway up the sides, Bake for 30 to 45 minutes at 325°F, basting occasionally with the cooking juices from the bird or with the reserved sausage fat if necessary.

Enough stuffing for a 20-pound turkey, to make 12 to 14 portions

Read more Eat & Drink, Just For the Web articles.

By submitting comments you grant permission for all or part of those comments to appear in the print edition of New Jersey Monthly.

Required not shown
Required not shown