Sides · Stovetop

Cheaters’ Stuffing

Cheaters'' Stuffing

I always feel a little guilty when I make stuffing. That’s because my dirty little secret is that I start with a packaged stuffing mix. I do have a trick up my sleeve to make the stuffing my own, though. As I’ve said before, my mom was doing semi-homemade before Sandra Lee was even born. But once not too long ago when I mentioned thinking about starting from scratch, one of my now-adult kids said, “don’t you dare change it,” or something to that effect. I guess they’re right: we do like it this way, so if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Now, my mom always did actually stuff the stuffing in the turkey. But multiple studies have concluded that the center often doesn’t reach safe temperatures by the time the turkey (or chicken) is done. Since the stuffing soaks up the bird’s juices (that’s what makes it so good), that means people can get sick. Is there anything more terrifying to a cook than the prospect of making everyone at your holiday table sick? I shudder just thinking about it. 

So my stuffing doesn’t go in the bird. Instead, I make my own broth to use with the mix. It’s very easy and takes hardly any extra time. I’m in the kitchen so much on Thanksgiving anyway, it’s no burden to peek at the stock pot every now and then to be sure it’s not about to boil dry. Then I use that instead of water or packaged broth to moisten the stuffing mix. It’s delicious and ever so easy! You’ll find a printer-friendly version at the bottom of the page, but not a nutrition label. Surely you know that there’s nothing in stuffing that’s good for you? I prefer to acknowledge that fact, make stuffing just once or twice a year, and stick my head in the sand regarding nutrition. Until New Year’s Day, anyway!

Ingredients:

1 turkey neck

2 tsp whole peppercorns

½ tsp ground sage

½ tsp dried rosemary

¼ tsp dried thyme

½ cup diced carrots

½ cup diced celery

½ cup diced onion

1 (12- oz package) Pepperidge Farm Country Style stuffing mix

4 Tbsp butter (½ stick)

1 (5-inch) square of cheesecloth

1 5-inch piece of butchers’ twine

Preparation:

1.) Remove the neck from the turkey cavity and place it in a medium saucepan. Add enough water to cover the neck.

2.) Lay the cheesecloth flat and pile the peppercorns, sage, rosemary, and thyme in the center. Gather the edges and secure with twine; trim any excess. Add to the pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a steady, slow simmer. Cook, adding more water as needed, while the turkey roasts.

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3.) Chop the veggies and refrigerate until needed.

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4.) About 10 – 15 minutes before the turkey is done, pluck the neck and seasoning sachet out of the broth. The neck can go into your slow cooker to make Turkey Noodle Soup, and the sachet can be discarded. Pour the broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a heat-safe measuring cup. You’ll need two cups. If you have too much, return the broth to the saucepan over high heat until it has reduced. If you don’t have enough, add water to make up the difference. Set aside.

5.) Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the vegetables and cook until they just begin to soften.

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6.) Stir in the broth and bring to a boil. Add the stuffing mix and stir quickly to combine. Cover and remove from heat. Fluff gently before serving.

Cheaters' Stuffing


Ingredients


1 turkey neck
2 tsp whole peppercorns
½ tsp ground sage
½ tsp dried rosemary
¼ tsp dried thyme
½ cup diced carrots
½ cup diced celery
½ cup diced onion
1 (12- oz package) stuffing mix
4 Tbsp butter (½ stick)
1 (5-inch) square of cheesecloth
1 5-inch piece of butchers’ twine

Directions


1.) Remove the neck from the turkey cavity and place it in a medium saucepan. Add enough water to cover the neck.
2.) Lay the cheesecloth flat and pile the peppercorns, sage, rosemary, and thyme in the center. Gather the edges and secure with twine. Add to the pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a steady, slow simmer. Cook, adding more water as needed, while the turkey roasts.
3.) Chop the veggies and refrigerate until needed.
4.) About 10 – 15 minutes before the turkey is done, pluck the neck and seasoning sachet out of the broth. The neck can go into your slow cooker to make Turkey Noodle Soup, and the sachet can be discarded. Pour the broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a heat-safe measuring cup. You’ll need two cups. If you have too much, return the broth to the saucepan over high heat until it has reduced. If you don’t have enough, add water to make up the difference. Set aside.
5.) Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the vegetables and cook until they just begin to soften.
6.) Stir in the broth and bring to a boil. Add the stuffing mix and stir quickly to combine. Cover and remove from heat. Fluff gently before serving.

2 thoughts on “Cheaters’ Stuffing

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