… Your Turkey will be Singing Holiday Praises!
Making holiday stuffing is a flavor adventure each time it is prepared here at Daily Forage. I love experimenting with different flavor combinations and exploring how certain herbs and spices play together to bring brightness or intrigue to the palate. With homemade herby croutons, sauteed seasoned vegetables, and nutty cashews, we think this year’s combination of flavors is a particularly good pairing. The stuffing is gluten-free and dairy-free, but I promise, if you don’t tell anyone, they’ll never know. There are several steps to this recipe, but they are not complicated. And each preparation step brings savory aromas to your kitchen and robust, flavorful tastes to every sampling throughout the cooking process. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
Prep time: 10-15 minutes for croutons, 15-20 minutes for vegetables
Cooking time: 25 minutes for croutons, 15-20 minutes if cooking stuffing in turkey, 45 minutes if baking in a separate dish.
4-5 slices Udi’s cinnamon bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
4-5 slices Udi’s white bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder, divided 1/4 and 1/4 teaspoon
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh sage, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
3/4-1 cup olive oil (approximately)(This seems like a lot of oil but there isn’t much other fat in the entire recipe)
Directions for Homemade Herby Croutons:
Pre-heat oven to 400º F, or 375º F for convection oven. Line edged baking sheet or jelly roll pan with foil. Spray with cooking spray or very lightly coat with oil. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine bread cubes and toss to separate any pieces stuck together. Drizzle 1/4 cup olive oil over the cubes, tossing as you drizzle to catch every cube. (This oil will infuse into the bread and give them a depth in the flavors when finished baking and will also make the texture crispy throughout. They will not be soggy when the baking process is complete.) In a small mixing bowl, combine pepper, 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, thyme, sage and rosemary. Stir well. Sprinkle over bread cubes. Toss well to make sure all bread has some seasoning on it. Pour the seasoned bread cubes onto the lined baking sheet and spread out evenly, making sure they are in a single layer. Bake for about 7 minutes, but watch to make sure they are not browning too quickly or unevenly. Remove pan from oven and drizzle another 1/4 cup olive oil over the croutons, stirring to catch every crouton. Stir again to redistribute the croutons to brown on a different side. Bake again for 3-4 minutes. Reduce heat to 350º or 325º convection oven and continue baking 5 more minutes. Repeat the process of drizzling another 1/4 cup oil and stirring. Add 1/4 teaspoon onion powder and stir again. Bake for final time another 3-5 minutes. Croutons should be crunchy. They will soften up slightly when the sauteed seasoned vegetables are added. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Ingredients for Sauteed Seasoned Vegetables:
4 sausage links, I use Applegate Farms Chicken and Sage gluten-free, casein-free Breakfast Sausages (frozen)
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2-3 stalks celery w/leaves, chopped
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1/2 cup lightly salted dry roasted cashews, coarsely chopped
8 halves of dried apricots (approx. 1/2 cup), chopped
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth, optional (Swanson’s Natural Goodness Chicken Broth is gluten-free)
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Directions for Sauteed Seasoned Vegetables:
Line a plate with a paper towel. Place frozen sausage links on paper towel and heat in microwave according to package directions. Set aside to cool for a couple minutes. Finely chop. Set aside.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery w/leaves, and chopped sausage. Saute over medium heat until vegetables just begin to soften, about 8-10 minutes. Add pepper, thyme, and rosemary. Stir to incorporate all herbs into vegetables. Continue cooking until just heated through. Add cashews and stir well. Remove from heat. Once cooled, add the chopped apricots. Add salt and pepper to taste.
In a large bowl, combine the sauteed vegetables and baked herby croutons, stirring well. Test moisture content and, if you like your stuffing a little softer and more homogenous, add broth according to your taste. If you like your stuffing with more defined pieces and flavor bites, then no broth is needed. If the stuffing is cooked in the cavity of the turkey, the moisture content of the stuffing will increase slightly from the natural turkey juices. I like to put my stuffing in cheesecloth, then stuff the turkey cavity with the cheesecloth pouch. This makes it easy to remove the stuffing when the turkey is fully cooked. If you choose to cook your stuffing outside of the turkey, put stuffing in a baking dish lightly coated with oil or cooking spray. Cover with foil and bake at 375º for approximately 30 minutes, or until very hot throughout. Can be made ahead up to the baking step, then covered with foil and refrigerated until ready to bake. This will be fine to keep refrigerated up to three days. Baking will take an additional 10-15 minutes to thoroughly heat. Enjoy!