Sourdough Sage Stuffing
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and for many reasons. For one, it’s a holiday where the feast is the highlight, and if there’s food involved, I’m into it. But it’s more than that. Not only is it a holiday that celebrates delicious food with copious amounts of carbs and calories, but it also brings together family and friends and especially since I don’t see some of my family for long periods of time, I really love the time to get together and spend time with one another.
But as much as I love Thanksgiving itself, I love Friendsgiving even more. For the past four years in DC, I’ve hosted a Friendsgiving in my studio apartment, bringing together my many friend groups into one space and letting my different groups of friends from my various walks of DC life commingle in my studio apartment brings me great joy. As my annual tradition carries on, it has also become an interesting challenge every year to fit my group of friends into my studio apartment--especially since I downsized a bit moving into Logan Circle from a 550 square foot to a 500 square foot apartment. Who knew 50 square feet could make that big a difference! Also, my friend group seems to be growing every year but that doesn’t strike me as a problem. This year I managed to fit 18 people into my studio, which was a bit tight but I made it work! Huzzah.
The way I host my Friendsgiving is simple: I make the turkey and stuffing and my friends bring everything else. I love having it as a potluck since that lets everyone showcase their favorite Thanksgiving dish and share it with friends. I’m always particularly excited when someone brings sweet potatoes (especially if there are marshmallows on top) since I don’t usually have that at my own Thanksgiving meal. Mom was never a huge fan of sweet potatoes and especially with marshmallows? Absolutely not.
I specifically choose turkey and stuffing every year because as the host, I feel I should provide the bird, but also the stuffing recipe that my mom has been making for years is my absolute favorite part of the Thanksgiving feast. It’s savory, crisp yet moist, and goes excellent with a bird cooked with autumn herbs and gravy. I get excited about this stuffing every year though honestly, I should probably make it whenever I’m craving it. Who says stuffing can only be consumed on the fourth Thursday of every November?
What I love most about this stuffing recipe is that it’s very rustic and simple. It requires a bit of effort to individually pull out tufts of breadcrumbs from the loaves but that’s part of the fun. Also, sautéed onions and celery with tons of sage flavor doesn’t sound all too terrible.
Some notes before you start stuffing your face:
Pick good quality sourdough bread and that the loaves of bread you use are quite sizable. I usually get my sourdough from Panera but have also enjoyed the sourdough from my local Giant or Whole Foods. This recipe serves 12 people, so I usually invest in two loaves, but if you’re expecting more company, definitely don’t skimp out on a third loaf. And when you hull out the loaves you can use the empty crust as a bread bowl for dip or soup!
Be sure to get lots of sage. You really want to bring out the earthy flavor on your palette when you take a bite. Since sage doesn’t really yield too much when it’s all chopped up, you don’t want to be scant on the flavor.
I’ve found prep work is key here. Chop everything ahead of time that way you can just sauté and relax.
To make this vegetarian, you can use water instead of chicken stock (or just more white wine :))
To grease the baking dish, use the butter wrapper once you’ve removed the sticks. Easy greasing without as much mess.
Sourdough Sage Stuffing
Serves about 12
2 sticks unsalted butter (plus a tablespoon to grease pan)
10 cup fresh sourdough crumbs (from 2 large sourdough loaves)
3 medium onions, finely chopped
1 head of celery, trimmed and finely chopped
1 bunch of celery, trimmed and finely chopped
½ cup sage leaves, chopped (about 8-12 leaves)
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup chicken stock
¼ cup dry white wine (Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay)
Slice the tops off the loaves of sourdough bread. Using your hands, pick off puffs of the inside of the bread, about ½ inch sized clumps, trying not to pick off the crust of the bread and place into a large bowl. Pick out the crumbs from the loaves until you are left with an empty hulled crust. Set bowl aside.
In another bowl, combine chopped celery, parsley, and sage. Set aside.
In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Once butter is melted, add in chopped onions and cook for 20 minutes, stirring often, until onions are very soft.
While onions are softening, preheat the oven to 350° and generously grease a large oven-safe casserole with butter.
Add in celery, parsley, and sage. Generously season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for another 5-10 minutes, stirring often.
Add the onion-celery mixture to the bowl with the breadcrumbs and toss until well combined. Add chicken stock and wine and gently mix until moist but not packed together. Add seasonings to taste.
Transfer breadcrumb mixture to the buttered baking dish and bake until golden brown on top, about 40-45 minutes.