Even though I eat turkey, I would rather have a refrigerator full of leftover side dishes than a bird carcass. Right now, my fridge has remnants of bacon bourbon stuffing and bacon Scotch gravy. This meal is not for the vegan of heart.
I was also intrigued by the pumpernickel and rye bread in the recipe I chose. It gave the stuffing a distinct flavor that walked the line between overpowering the dish and holding its own against the bacon and bourbon. With just the right bite, all the flavors melted together with a hint of pecan crunch and bourbon, and a burst of bacon and caraway.
I mostly followed the recipe from Creative Culinary with some added cooking time because I like the top crispy and also because I found it had a bit too much broth. It’s possible the half loavesI had didn’t quite match the sizes of the half loaves of the recipe. Either way, beware the soggy mix. Otherwise, yum.
- ½ lb thick-cut bacon, chopped
- ½ cup butter
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
- ½ loaf day-old pumpernickel bread, cubed
- ½ loaf day-old dark rye bread, cubed
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tsp fresh thyme
- 2 Tbsp fresh sage leaves
- 1 cup toasted, chopped pecans
- 1 quart chicken stock
- ½ cup good quality bourbon whiskey (I used Four Roses bourbon and topped it up with Old Forester)
Instructions (taken from Creative Culinary)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease 9x13 inch baking dish.
2. Place the bacon in a large, deep skillet, and cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain on paper towels. Pour remaining bacon fat in the skillet into a bowl.
3. Using the same skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the onions, celery, garlic, and rosemary, and cook until onions are soft and transparent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the reserved bacon fat.
4. Meanwhile, place the pumpernickel and rye bread cubes into a large bowl. Stir in the cooked bacon pieces, eggs, thyme, sage, pecans and onion mixture, and toss to mix evenly.
5. Stir the chicken stock and bourbon together in a bowl. Pour the chicken stock mixture over the bread mixture, adding more stock to reach desired consistency (or in my case, a little less). Use your hands to evenly mix the ingredients together. Spoon stuffing mixture evenly in the prepared baking dish and pat down lightly.
- 1 onion
- 1 large carrot
- 2 stalks celery
- 1/4c + 1 tsp turkey fat or oil
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- ¼ c flour
- 1/3 c Scotch (I used Johnny Walker Red Label)
- 2 c chicken broth
- 4 or 5 sprigs thyme (or 2 tsp dried)
- 2 tsp rosemary (or 1 tsp dried)
Directions: (taken from Chef a la Porte)
1. Rough chop the onion, carrot, and celery.
2. Sautee the onion, celery, and carrot in 1 tsp turkey (or bacon) fat or oil until very brown, almost burnt (about 10 minutes).
3. Add in 2 cloves of garlic, smashed, and stir for 1 more minute
4. Set aside the vegetables and the garlic for later.
5. In the same pan, add ¼ c flour and ¼ c turkey fat or oil and stir constantly over high heat until caramel brown.
6. Remove the pan from the flame (if using a gas stove).
7. Stir in 1/3 c whiskey until thoroughly incorporated.
8. Place back over the flame, being careful of flare ups.
9. While stirring slowly, add in 2 cups of chicken broth.
10. Bring to a boil.
11. Add the vegetables, thyme, and rosemary.
12. Reduce to a simmer.
13. Stir frequently until it reaches the desired thickness.
14. Strain out the vegetables and thyme sprigs.
15. Add salt to taste.