Normally, I emphasize the foods that are naturally gluten-free. Why always long for bread when gluten-free bread will never taste as good as an artisan loaf made at the best bakery? There are three thousand meals out there that need never involve gluten.
However, on Thanksgiving day, I do like stuffing. Growing up, those morsels were always my favorite bites of the meal. Roasted turkey? Oh, of course. And, I always stole long strips of crispy skin off the golden-brown turkey as it was resting in the pan. Cranberries? I love their tangy tartness, all the goodness of the autumn earth. Pumpkin pie? Sure. My brother loves to cut the pie in quarters and take one-quarter of it for himself. Mashed potatoes? Oh yes. That was about my favorite part, almost, particularly when I would mound them up, add another dab of butter on the top, let it melt down to make a little volcano of molten butter, then run my fork down the sides and let it spill it out. Ever since I saw Close Encounters of the Third Kind, when I was eleven, I have always made my mashed potatoes look like Devil’s Tower, then looked up and said to my brother, “This means something.” We still laugh.
But stuffing? Oh, the crusty bread, softened by the stock and covered in pepper. Some families love walnuts and sausage, cranberries and apricots, pistachios and red pepper. Whatever. I don’t mean that flippantly — whatever you usually make, this recipe will probably adapt to it. But in our house — and now, the Chef is part of our house, and will be forever — this is how we will be making stuffing this year.
Gluten-free. Gorgeous. Oh, the stuffing.
THE GLUTEN-FREE STUFFING THE CHEF AND I WILL BE MAKING FOR THANKSGIVING
This is the stuffing that Danny and I both ate at our family Thanksgiving celebrations. It’s simple, plain, and wonderfully delicious, especially with a generous splash of good gluten-free gravy.
1 loaf gluten-free sandwich bread, diced into 1-inch cubes
1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
2 large eggs
3 cups chicken stock, heated
Toasting the bread. Heat the oven to 350°. Spread the bread cubes out on a baking sheet. Put the baking sheet in the oven and toast the bread. After 10 minutes or so, toss the bread cubes around to another side. When all sides are toasted, about 20 minutes. take the bread out of the oven.
Cooking the sausage. Set a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pour in the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion and celery. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the fresh sage and cook until the scent of the herb releases into the room, about 1 minute.
Tossing the stuffing together. onions, celery, and sage together with the bread cubes. (Be gentle. The bread will be fragile.) Put them all into a greased 8 x 12-inch casserole pan.
Whisking the eggs and stock. Whisk the eggs vigorously and slowly drizzle in the the hot stock. When you’ve added about 1/2 a 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.
Bake the stuffing for 30 minutes and take off the tin foil. Bake until the bread cubes are firm and browned on the top and all the ingredients appear to be bound together, about another 10 minutes.