(WJBK) - The "Season of Eating" is approaching, and this week our Jill of All Trades, Jill Washburn, offers up one healthier option for Thanksgiving.
"I've got a couple of family members who try to stick to a gluten-free diet, so the holidays can be really tough," Jill says. "Last year, my daughter found this recipe for gluten-free stuffing and it was a total hit with everybody at the table." Now, Jill tells us, it's a permanent fixture on her Thanksgiving day menu.
Jill says that stuffing from scratch takes a little extra work, but this one is worth the effort. The good news is, much of the work can be done a day or two ahead of time. In fact, you can even assemble the whole thing and do most of the baking ahead of time, leaving the final baking and browning for the day of your event.
Jill suggests that you can easily customize it and make it your own by adding things like chopped cooked sausage, crumbled cooked bacon, chopped nuts, or different vegetables. It also holds up well post-holiday, for an easy dinner of leftovers, with some chopped turkey or even ham added in. Jill says you can get creative with it and add seasonings or other ingredients to suit your style and your family's tastes.
Here's the basic recipe:
1 loaf gluten-free bread, cut into cubes (If your loaves are small, you may want to use part of another loaf.)
4 tablespoons butter
1 large yellow onion, diced (about 3 cups)
2 celery stalks, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 cups kabocha squash cubes (You can substitute butternut or acorn squash.)
2 tablespoons finely chopped sage
pressed garlic or garlic powder
salt and pepper
3 cups hot chicken stock
2 large eggs, beaten
1. Toast the bread.
Heat oven to 350˚. Spread bread cubes on a baking sheet and toast in the oven. After 10 minutes, remove tray and turn the cubes. Toast for another 10 minutes or so, until all cubes are evenly toasted.
2. Cook the vegetables.
Melt the butter in a large skillet, over medium-high heat. Then, add onion and celery. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent. Then add squash cubes and cook for about another 5 minutes. NOTE -- I find it easier to roast the squash first, and then peel and chop it, so I add the cooked squash at the last minute. - Next, add the sage and cook for about another minute, until the scent releases into the room. Season the vegetables with salt, pepper and garlic to taste. You can go a little heavy with the seasonings because you're not just seasoning the vegetables, you have to account for the bread that will be added, too.
3. Toss stuffing together.
Gently toss softened vegetables and toasted bread cubes together. The, put the stuffing mixture into a greased 13x9 pan.
4. Heat oven to 400˚.
5. Whisk eggs and stock together.
Whisk eggs vigorously and slowly drizzle in some of the hot stock. When you've added about a 1/2 cup of the hot stock, pour the eggy stock back into the hot stock. Pour this stock evenly over the stuffing. Tent the casserole pan with tin foil.
6. Bake the stuffing.
Bake stuffing for 30 minutes, then remove the tin foil. Continue baking until the bread cubes are firm and browned on top and all of the ingredients appear to be bound together (about another 10 minutes or so). Serve warm.
PROJECT RATING: Easy (but there is a lot of chopping)
You can watch Jill put it together for us in the video player above.