For my family, Thanksgiving dinner isn’t really about the turkey, it’s about all the dressings! In the final installment of our Thanksgiving Tip series, we’ll talk about how to make a gluten-free stuffing in 4 steps that everyone – even your gluten-loving family and friends – will love.
1. Choose your Bread Type
Of course, the key to stuffing is gluten-free bread. So, first, you need to decide what kind of bread you want to use. White bread and cornbread are most traditional. I’ve used bread from mixes, pre-packaged bread, and homemade bread. They all come out delicious. So pick your favorite.
2. Cube It
After you’ve chosen what kind of bread you want to work with, cut them into 1-inch cubes. If you’re making the bread at home, let it dry for an hour or so after you take it out of the oven, before you cube it. This way the bread won’t fall apart when you try to cut it. And, the cubes will come out a lot cleaner.
3. Dry It
Once you’ve cubed the bread, let it dry so that it’ll soak up all that wonderful celery-broth-oniony flavor you’re going to mix it with later. Spread the cubed bread out on a cookie sheet and let it dry overnight. Spread things out in a single layer and don’t overcrowd the cookie sheet. You want there to be plenty of air circulating between each cube so that they dry sufficiently. TIP: I like to let my cubed bread dry in the oven (keep it turned off), to keep the pets away.
Don’t worry if you forget to dry the cubes overnight. I’ve done this too. Just pop the cubes into an oven at 200 degrees. Toss them every 15 minutes until they’re dry, which will take about 30 minutes.
4. Add Your Own Personal Touch
The bread cubes are the hardest part. The next step is just the same as with any other stuffing – gluten-free or not. So use your family recipe and just sub in the gluten-free bread crumbs one for one with the “regular” ones. Or, if you want to try something new, here are some recipes:
- Where I’m from in the South, we use eggs in our stuffing (not just stock). Gluten-Free Girl has a stuffing that calls for an egg yolk.
- If you have a Whole Food nearby, they have a recipe that calls for their ready-made bread cubes.
- This one from Chef Jason Graham that uses sausage.
- The CSA’s maverick recipe calls for sour cream!
And here’s the recipe we use at our house.
Triumph Family Stuffing Recipe
1 Gluten-Free Loaf of Bread
1 Slice Fatty Bacon
2 T Butter
1 medium onion, medium dice
Celery, medium dice
2 handfuls of Dried Cranberries
- Shave off the crust from the bread. Cut 8 one-inch slices. Then cut the slices into one-inch cubes.
- Dry overnight.
- Dice the bacon. (It’s helpful to stick the bacon in the freezer for 10 minutes prior; it’ll make it easier to chop.) Cook bacon with butter over medium-high until the bacon fat has rendered and the meat is crispy.
- Remove the bacon and set aside. Add in the onion and an equal amount of celery. Add salt, pepper, and sage to taste.
- Saute until the onions are soft and translucent.
- In a large buttered 9×13 inch pyrex dish, mix the bacon, onion/celery mixture, cranberries and dried bread together. Pour enough chicken stock over the mixture just to moisten.
- Cover with foil and bake in oven at 425 degrees for ½ hour. Remove foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes until the top is crusty.
- If at any point during baking, stuffing seems dry, add more chicken stock.
What to know which stocks, broths and spices are gluten-free? Check out the Essential Gluten-Free Grocery Guide. It’ll make Thanksgiving shopping for 2 or 20 a breeze!