Many families have a debate every Thanksgiving about what type of stuffing should be served on the table. Some people prefer a traditional, made-from-scratch stuffing, and others prefer the “stove top” boxed stuffing. They’re both delicious, and both sides of the debate have valid points, but for me, Nick Vorpagel, there’s only one way to go, and that’s making a traditional stuffing from scratch.
Now before we go on, we should clear up that “stuffing” is only “stuffing” if it’s actually stuffed inside of a turkey and cooked that way. We generally don’t recommend cooking “stuffing” this way any more for food safety and flavor reasons. While it’s certainly possible, you need to be very careful to cook the inside of the bird to 165ºF to eliminate any possible food safety threats. This can dry out the bird. Instead, we prefer making “dressing,” which is just the same ingredients baked in the oven in a casserole dish instead of in the turkey. I always make this recipe as dressing – it’s just as delicious.
On to the back story of this recipe. My Grandma, and the co-founder of LGCM, Rita Leahy, grew up during the Great Depression on a farm in Mauston, Wisconsin. She learned how to cook on the farm and had lots of great old-school recipes that wanted not and wasted not. One of my favorites was her traditional stuffing that she served on Thanksgiving that used the turkey liver to add flavor to the dish. Much of my family preferred boxed stuffing, but I always loved her homemade stuffing. You can’t really taste the liver, especially if you chop it well, but you can enjoy the burst of flavor it adds to the dish.
Here’s Rita’s recipe for a traditional turkey stuffing (or dressing) that uses turkey liver, bread cubes and more for an amazingly delicious Thanksgiving side dish. You can watch how to make it in our video guide, or just go ahead and dive right in. I hope you enjoy this recipe – I love it every time I make it and cherish the memory of my Grandmother with each bite!
- 1 Turkey Liver (chopped – Chicken Liver can also be used)
- 12 cup(s) Bread Cubes (and this is optional)
- 1.5 cup(s) Celery (unseasoned or seasoned – whichever you prefer)
- 1 cup(s) Butter (chopped)
- .75 cup(s) Onion
- .25 cup(s) Chicken Broth (minced)
- 2 Tbsp Salt
- 1 Tbsp Thyme
- 1 tsp Black Pepper (dried)
Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook celery, onion, and liver for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add bread crumbs to the mixture, stirring to combine. Add chicken broth to mixture. All bread crumbs should be moistened, but not wet. If needed, use more or less.
Cool stuffing, and then stuff into 12 lb. turkey for baking.
To prepare separately, grease a casserole dish, and add stuffing into the dish. Cover and bake for 30 minutes at 325ºF and then uncover and bake for 15 minutes longer. Enjoy!