Monday, November 28, 2011

2011 Thanksgiving Gluten-Free Stuffing

Gluten-Free Bread

Stuffing. Ah, yes. My favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal, hands down.

If there is no stuffing, there is no Thanksgiving for me. Forget the turkey. Forget the cranberries. Forget the pies.

Yes, I wrote that. Forget the pies.

For me, Thanksgiving is all about the stuffing.

(Oh, and the family and love and being thankful. Really.)

But stuffing, people. It's the stuffing!

I've tried making cornbread stuffing and I've resisted wild rice stuffing. I just really, really like the regular, ol' bread stuffing too much!

I made this gluten-free bread specifically for the stuffing on Monday. I used my bread machine.

When using the bread machine for gluten-free bread, it is best to mix the wet and dry ingredients separately before adding them to the machine.

This is mainly because the gluten-free flours tend to clump and stick together. You don't want to let them do that.

Make the little extra effort to do this, and the fabulous results will be your reward.

No joke.

Now put the mixed wet ingredients in the bottom of the machine pan, add the mixed dry ingredients on top of the liquids, and then sprinkle the top with the dry yeast.

Yes, this really does work. Look at the result.

Look at that beautiful swirl! It smelled so good when it was done.

Then I sliced it up.

Look at all of those beautiful air bubbles! And this bread doesn't fall apart. I have to cut it with a bread knife. Just like it should be with bread.

Then I diced it all up.

And dried it all out in the oven.

I got the same question several times:  "Why do you have to dry it out?"

"Because if you don't, it can't absorb as much of that wonderful heavenliness of butter and onions and celery and sage when you cook it into stuffing!"


The drier the bread cubes are before making the stuffing, the more butter and sage fabulousness they can absorb. That's my theory and I'm sticking to it!

Gluten-Free Bread Stuffing!

And not just stuffing that side-steps the whole gluten issue by using rice or quinoa. This is gluten-free bread stuffing!

I started Thanksgiving morning with chopping lots of onions and celery. Maybe a cup or two each. I melted a half cup of butter (one stick) in my soup pot and stirred in the onions and celery. I stirred and cooked these down until they were soft, but not brown.

Then I added lots of dried sage, some salt, and some pepper. Then I added all of the dried, gluten-free bread cubes. The entire loaf worth. To that I added a quart of chicken stock. But not all at once.

I stirred the bread and onion and celery mixture, then added a large splash more stock. Stirred. Added more stock. Let it sit for a couple of minutes. Stirred. Added more stock, stirred. Let sit. Added more stock, stirred, let sit.

You get the idea.

I wanted that stock to be soaked up by the gluten-free bread cubes, but not just the ones that happened to be sitting in the bottom of the pot. Equal opportunity here! I wanted to distribute the stock to all the gluten-free bread cubes.

Oh, and during all of this, I kept the heat on, but low.

After all the stock was absorbed, I made sure to add a bit more so that the stuffing was "soupy". My mother told me to pick the very best one and it is "soupy". If the stuffing is not soupy enough, it will pull precious moisture out of the bird.

Did I mention that I was going to stuff our turkey with this gluten-free bread stuffing? Oh, well, it is called stuffing for a reason.

Anyways, I want my turkey breast moist, not dry, so the stuffing needs to be soupy.

Soupy? Check.

Now, I stuffed both ends of the bird.

Stuffing stuffed? Check.

I had just a bit more stuffing than would fit in our small 12-pound turkey, so I put it in a small dish to be baked along side the turkey.

Stuffed bird in oven? Check.

Now, run the clock forward three and a half hours. Tick tock. Tick tock.

We checked the temperature in the thigh and then the stuffing.

Done? Check.

Time to eat!

"But I thought we had another hour before it was going to be done...."

"Well, we don't. It is done now."

"Okay, but the potatoes aren't done yet, and we still have to do the green bean casserole. Oh, and the biscuits and then the gravy."

"Well, let the turkey rest on the back of the oven and let's get crackin'!"

And so we did.

And by the time everything else was ready, the turkey was just fine, still hot and beautiful. We destuffed the bird.

That amount of soupiness was perfect! Too bad I forgot to take a picture of it. But the end result was stuffing that came out of the bird just right and left the bird moist.

That gluten-free bread stuffing? It tasted great! So great that even Mr. Picky Boy said he liked it.


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