No matter what tweaks or additions I may make to our Thanksgiving menu, I have never departed from my stuffing recipe. Discovered in Gourmet Magazine in 1987 in a column by the late great food writer Laurie Colwin, this has been my signature stuffing for every turkey we’ve enjoyed for the past 28 years. Yes, in the bird, where it absorbs a flavor and moisture you just cannot achieve with a dressing baked in a casserole dish. I did try making this one year with homemade unsweetened cornbread, but it just wasn’t worth the trouble – she calls for packaged cornbread stuffing so that’s what I use. While she does recommend making your own turkey stock, I’ve used Better Than Bouillion Chicken Base in the past, and the discovery of their Turkey Base a few years ago was an epiphany:
LAURIE COLWIN’S CORN BREAD & PROSCIUTTO STUFFING
2 med. sweet onions & 1 leek, including some of the green part, chopped fine
1 plump garlic clove minced
2 tsp minced fresh rosemary (optional…my addition)
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 pound diced prosciutto (have the deli counter cut a thick slab or 2 about 1/4-3/8″ and dice it yourself; no need to buy the Prosciutto di Parma…Citterio is very good)
14 ounce package Pepperidge Farm Cornbread Classic Stuffing
1 scallion chopped fine
1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
1-2 cups turkey stock (or chicken stock in a pinch)
In a very large skillet melt the butter over medium low heat and sauté the onions, leek, garlic, and rosemary (if using) stirring, until softened. Add the prosciutto and continue stirring another minute. Gradually add the cornbread stuffing, the scallions, parsley, and pepper to taste, and continue to stir until it’s all coated with the butter. Remove to a large bowl and gradually add the stock, tossing it well, until it’s as moist as you like but not overly wet. Makes about 12 cups, enough to stuff a 16-18 lb bird.
I always do this the day before and refrigerate in a ziploc bag. Then take it out at the same time you take your turkey out of the fridge and let both come to room temperature before stuffing and roasting.