Cooking | November 20, 2020 6:32 am

How to Make Stuffing Three Ways, Like a True Thanksgiving Boss

Former "Top Chef: Las Vegas" contestant Ash Fulk serves up a trio of Turkey Day recipes

Top Chef Reveals How to Make Stuffing 3 Different Ways This Thanksgiving
Stuffing in a steam tray during the preparation of a Thanksgiving meal.
Getty Images

A Thanksgiving staple that most of us — stupidly and naively — eat only once a year, stuffing may have originated from a recipe that was found on a 3,700-year-old clay tablet in Iraq that called “for a roasted bird accompanied by a side dish of specially flavored soft bread.” Nowadays, the roasted bird the majority of Americans eat is fairly similar, but the flavored breadcrumbs we pair with it vary greatly from household to household in name, composition and serving style.

Ash Fulk, the culinary director for Hill Country Barbecue, found that out at an early age after his parents separated and he began traveling from his mother’s house in California to start spending Thanksgiving with his father in Georgia.

“Once a year I would pack my flips and head south to share my favorite holiday with my southern family,” Fulk, who competed in the sixth season of Bravo’s Top Chef: Las Vegas, tells InsideHook. “My first Thanksgiving out there I made a big batch of stuffing and proudly placed it on the table to be told by a normally genteel group, ‘If it ain’t in the bird; it isn’t stuffing … It’s dressing.’”

After having his eyes opened to how differently stuffing — or dressing — can be prepared from family to family, Fulk has been experimenting with different ingredient lists and preparation methods. Below, you’ll find a ménage à trois of his best efforts.

Classic Sausage Stuffing


“The one I make on the day every year,” Fulk says. “Classic sausage stuffing — even though my sister-in-law doesn’t like sausage.”

Ingredients

  • 1-pound sourdough bread (or just one loaf) 
  • ¼ pound butter 
  • 1 cup celery (diced) 
  • 1 whole onion (diced) 
  • 2 clove garlic chopped
  • ½ bunch of thyme picked and chopped 
  • 1 sprig of rosemary picked and chopped 
  • 1 tsp fresh sage chopped 
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley chopped (flat-leaf) 
  • 1-pound breakfast sausage 
  • ½ cup golden raisins (you could use any dried fruit here) 
  • Splash of white wine
  • 2.5 cup turkey stock (or chicken) 
  • 3 large eggs 
  • Salt and black pepper 

Directions

  1. Cut bread into 1-inch cubes. Toast bread in 300-degree oven until it has some golden-brown color to it. 
  2. Remove sausage from casing. Brown sausage in a high sided sauté pan or pot. Once browned, remove sausage. 
  3. In the same pan, add butter. Once butter is melted, add onion and celery and cook until translucent. Add herbs and garlic cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add a splash of white wine and let reduce. 
  5. Add stock and bring to a boil. Once it has boiled, turn the mixture off and let cool. 
  6. Place toasted bread in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk egg. Pour stock mixture over bread and mix. (I use my hands here to help break up the bread bit.) Add egg and combine. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into a 9×13 baking dish.
  7. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for about 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes to get a crispy top.

Jambalaya Stuffing


“My jambalaya stuffing came about when I discovered oyster stuffing at a Friendsgiving,” Fulk says. “I was one of two people that ate it. I felt bad for that poor lonely stuffing and thought there might be a more approachable seafood-like stuffing … and voila.”

Ingredients

  • 1-pound French bread (or one loaf) 
  • ¼ pound butter
  • 2 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 onion diced 
  • 1 cup okra sliced
  • 4 ribs celery diced 
  • 3 clove garlic chopped 
  • 1 tbsp thyme chopped 
  • 1 bunch parsley chopped ( flat-leaf) 
  • A big splash of white wine 
  • 1 lb. shrimp cleaned (31/35 or smaller) 
  • ½ pound andouille sausage diced
  • 2 tbsp Cajun seasoning (or make your own: 3 tsp garlic powder, 3 tsp paprika, 2 tsp black pepper, 2 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp red pepper flakes, ½ tsp cayenne) 
  • 3 eggs 
  • 3 cups turkey stock (or chicken) 
  • Salt 

Ingredients

  1. Cut bread into 1-inch cubes. Toast bread in 300-degree oven until it has some golden-brown color to it. 
  2. In a high-sided sauté pan, add ¼ pound butter. Once butter is frothy, add bell pepper, onion and celery. Cook until translucent. Add okra. Add sausage. Add garlic, thyme, parsley and Cajun seasoning. Cook for a couple minutes, then add wine and reduce. Add stock and bring to a boil. Once boiled, let cool a bit. 
  3. Place toasted bread in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk egg. Pour stock mixture over bread and mix (I use my hands here to help break up the bread bit). Add egg and shrimp and combine. Season with salt. Pour into a 9×13 baking dish.
  4. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for about 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes to get a crispy top.

Jalapeño Cheese Stuffing


“I starting riffing on this stuffing a few years back after a friend told me they didn’t like stuffing,” Fulk says. “After a sharp gasp of horror, I made it my mission to make a stuffing that they liked. The jalapeño cheese came close, but we are still working on it. I think they just like seeing me test my stuffing skills.”

Ingredients

  • 1 pan of your favorite cornbread recipe (crumbled and left to dry overnight) 
  • 3 jalapeños seeded and diced 
  • 2 poblano peppers seeded and diced 
  • 1 onion diced 
  • 2 red bell pepper seeded and diced
  • 2 clove garlic chopped 
  • 1 bunch cilantro 
  • 1 tbsp chili powder 
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar 
  • Splash of tequila 
  • A few dashes of Tabasco
  • 3 eggs 
  • 3 cup stock

Directions

  1. Toast dried cornbread in a 300-degree oven until you see some golden brown.  
  2. In a high-sided sauté pan, add ¼ pound butter. Once butter is frothy, add bell pepper, onion, poblano and jalapeños. Cook until translucent. Add garlic and chili powder. Cook for about 2 minutes. Remove pot from the stove and add tequila (this will help prevent a flare-up). Return to stove and reduce. 
  3. Add stock and bring to a boil. Once it has boiled, turn the mixture off and let cool. 
  4. Place toasted cornbread in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk eggs. Pour stock mixture over bread and mix (I use my hands here to help break up the bread a bit). Add eggs, cheese, cilantro and Tabasco (up to you how much). Season with salt. Pour into a 9×13 baking dish.
  5. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for about 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes to get a crispy top.

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