You can keep your turkey legs and gelatinous cranberries, thank you.
Thanksgiving is all about stuffing. Lots of stuffing. Preferably doused in gravy. It is the ultimate comfort food in a holiday made up of comfort foods. In order to help you prepare Thanksgiving's most important dish, we have five recipes from esteemed local chefs to make your holiday feast magical.
Perkins Catering Co. Chef Austin Perkins' Oyster Stuffing
6 cups brioche, cut in 1-inch cubes
2 cups shucked oysters
2 ribs celery, diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup fennel, diced
1 cup leeks, white part only, diced
2 tablespoons each of fresh parsley, sage, and green onion, minced
5 egg yolks, beaten
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
1 cup pine nuts, toasted in 350 degree oven for 4 minutes
1 cup currants
1. Place bread on sheet, bake at 350 degrees for 6-8 minutes.
2. In a large skillet, sweat celery, onion, fennel and leeks until opaque.
3. Add the minced herbs, pine nuts, currants and bread. Remove from heat.
4. In a bowl combine egg yolks and stock. Season stock with spices.
5. Add the oysters.
6. Gently incorporate oyster mixture into the bread mixture.
7. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
8. Uncover and brown the top for 10 minutes.
Spruce chef Mark Sullivan's Wild Rice and Chestnut stuffing
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup yellow onion, diced
1 cups leek, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup carrot, diced
2 cups celery, diced
2 ounces butter, cubed
4 cups country-style bread, hand torn into 1x1-inch chunks
4 cups wild rice, cooked pilaf style
1 cup prepared chestnuts, sliced
1/2 cup currants
1/2 cup sultanas
1/2 cup cranberries
1 teaspoons espelette pepper, dried
1/2 cup parsley, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped
4 ounces bacon fat
1 orange, juice and zest
1 lemon, juice and zest
1. In a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat, warm the extra-virgin olive oil.
2. Add onion, leek, garlic, carrot, and celery, and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and reserve in a large mixing bowl.
3. In the same pan over medium heat, melt the butter and sauté the torn bread until it is golden brown and crispy, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Add the toasted bread and all of the remaining ingredients to the reserved vegetables and thoroughly mix by hand.
5. Stuff the bird before roasting. If you are not stuffing the bird, heat the oven to 275, and warm the mixture in a covered casserole dish for 45 minutes, or until hot.
Foreign Cinema chefs Gayle Pirie and John Clark's Rice Stuffing with Chanterelles, Pistachios, and Pickled Currants
Serves 6 to 8
2 cups basmati rice
1 to 2-inch knob fresh ginger, unpeeled
4 Tbsp. olive oil (or more to taste)
1/3 cup finely chopped carrot
1/3 cup finely chopped celery
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
2 cups golden chanterelles, cleaned, rough-chopped (if you can't find chanterelles, any meaty wild mushroom will work)
1⁄2 cup apple cider vinegar
1⁄2 cup dried Zante currants
1 cup fresh unsalted, shelled pistachios (roughly chopped, whole roasted almonds may be substituted for the pistachios)
1 Tbsp. whole cumin seeds, lightly toasted
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon zest
1⁄2 cup chopped Italian parsley
Sea salt to taste
1. Add rice and 3 cups water to a pot. Drop in ginger.
2. Bring rice to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 to 30 minutes or until done.
3. Discard ginger, fluff rice with a fork, and set aside.
4. In a sauté pan, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and add carrot, celery, and onion. Add mushrooms and sauté for another couple of minutes, or until mushrooms are tender. Season with salt and set aside.
5. In a small pot over low heat, bring vinegar to a simmer. Add currants and let them cook for 10 minutes, until plumped. Set aside.
6. Preheat oven to 350°.
7. Place pistachios on a sheet pan and toast for 10 to 12 minutes, until slightly golden.
8. In a large bowl, toss rice with everything, including remaining ingredients. Add a little olive oil and salt to taste.
9. Place stuffing in a casserole dish in a 350° oven, covered with foil, for 15 minutes or until completely warmed through, and serve.
Tante Marie's Cooking School's Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding with Cambozola
(adapted from a 1998 issue of Fine Cooking)
2 teaspoons butter
2 cups finely chopped onion
1+1/2 pounds mushrooms, sliced
2 teaspoons minced fresh marjoram
1/2 cup Madeira wine (fortified red wine; red wine substitution acceptable)
1+1/4 cups beef stock (beef broth substitution acceptable)
1 cup heavy cream or crème fraîche
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
9 ounces Italian country bread (e.g., Pugliese) cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 6 cups), dried
9 ounces cambozola cheese (rind trimmed), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in large skillet over medium heat.
2. Add onions, season with salt and pepper and cook until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Remove onions and set aside.
3. In the same pan, heat 1 tablespoon butter, add half of the mushroom along with 1/2 teaspoon of the marjoram and a sprinkle of salt.
4. Cook over medium heat until mushrooms are browned and all liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Set aside with onions.
5. Repeat with remaining mushrooms.
6. When the second batch of mushrooms is cooked, combine all mushrooms and onions in skillet. Add Madeira.
7. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until liquid evaporates and mixture is a rich brown, about 5 minutes. Cool.
8. In large bowl, whisk together beef stock, cream, eggs, egg yolks, thyme, and remaining teaspoon of marjoram and a generous pinch of salt and pepper.
9. Add bread and mushroom mixture; toss. Let stand for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, to saturate bread.
10. Gently stir in cheese.
11. Pour bread mixture into a buttered baking dish. Bake at 350, until lightly browned and firm, about 40 to 45 minutes.
Presidio Social Club's Challah Stuffing
2 pounds large-diced brioche and Challah bread (crust and all)
1/2 pound unsalted butter
1 cup minced yellow onion
2 cup small-diced celery
1 cup Tea Soaked Currants (see recipe below)
2 tablespoon chopped sage
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
3 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 quart chicken stock (or turkey stock and turkey drippings)
1. The day before, cut the bread into nickel-sized pieces. Let dry in a cool area over night.
2. Day of, melt butter in a large pan or large pot. Sweat onion and celery for about 5 minutes, making sure there is no color.
3. Add currants and herbs and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
4. Add bread and a few good pinches of black pepper and salt.
5. Add the chicken stock 1/4 cup at a time while tossing gently.
6. Transfer to a 9x13 baking pan.
7. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350.
8. Take foil off and continue to bake uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes.
Tea Soaked Currants
1. Boil water
2. Soak one cup currants with one bag of favorite flavor tea (example: Earl Grey).
3. Let soak at room temperature for one hour.
This article was originally published in November 2016.