Recipe: Waks Family Thanksgiving Stuffing

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My grandmother made a very simple, very fattening, very delicious stuffing. It was most likely the only recipe she ever used from the side of a box, but since Bella liked to do things her own way she added a little of this and took away a little of that.. The original recipe featured onions and mushrooms sauteed in butter or margarine, the mixed with Crushed Ritz Crackers, diced celery, more melted butter and a couple of eggs then baked in a casserole dish. We called it Carrot Stuffing.

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Here’s the recipe:

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  • 4 sleeves of  Ritz Crackers
  • 5 Large Carrots Grated
  • 5 Stalks Celery Grated
  • 3 Onions Grated
  • 2 Sticks Butter, melted
  • 3 Eggs, scrambled
  • Salt & Pepper
  1. Crush Ritz Crackers into bits by placing them in a plastic bag and rolling a rolling pin over them until they are like bread crumbs
  2. Grate Carrots, Celery & Onions with  a Box Grater, do not use a food processor, you’ll have too much liquid it will be mushy and awful…you have to use a box grater
  3. Even though you used a box grater let the vegetables sit in a colander over the sink or a bowl for awhile to get rid of extra liquid
  4. Mix the drained Vegetables with the Ritz Crackers
  5. Season with Salt & Pepper
  6. Mix in the eggs
  7. Spoon the stuffing into a casserole dish, pat it down so it is about 2″ thick
  8. Bake @ 350 for 1 hour
  9. If baking along side a turkey or chicken from time to time ladle or squeeze a few spoonfuls of fat over the top

This makes a simple but strangely addictive stuffing, delicious hot from the oven equally delicious  so when sliced and incorporated into a cold turkey sandwich, with jellied cranberry sauce and mayo as when reheated in the toaster oven until crispy and slide between thick sliced of toasted bread smeared with cranberry sauce and piled with hot turkey & gravy. Best off all is when it is eaten late at night directly from the fridge.

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Over the years, the stuffing has gone through many changes initially there was the addition of dried cranberries (we are not raisin people), one year it was incorporated in a Amer/Cubano/Latino stuffing with sourdough, plantains and chorizo, cornbread has become a staple addition, as has sausage, and nuts and occasionally fresh fruit like apples. My brother likes to add peppers, I disagree with that choice, but this is America and he can do what he wishes, he also likes to add dried blueberries. This year my mother is adding prunes and walnuts I am using dried cherries and pecans, but maybe pine nuts I’m not sure yet. My aunt as done away with the Ritz Crackers all together in favor of a savoury stuffing with mushrooms.

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This the formula for our  Family Stuffing, we bake it along side the Turkey, though at times it has found its way into what I call the neck pouch, and I’m not 100% but I think my grandmother take that extra skin, cut it off  and roll it around a wedge of stuffing, lace it up and roast it along side the turkey like the best Kishka that ever was, but honestly that may be from my imagination.

Waks Family Stuffing: Serves MANY with Leftovers

  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 2 cups grated celery
  • 2 cups grated onions
  • 1 cup chopped other fruit or vegetables, raw or cooked depending on which way it works best (see below suggestions)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs – Parsely, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme (for real)
  • 3 Sleeves Low Sodium Ritz Crackers
  • 5 cups stale bread, cubed (at least half the bread should be Cornbread)
  • 3 cups turkey or chicken stock,cooled
  • 2 sticks melted butter
  • 1/2 cup -booze ( Sherry, Wine, Brandy, Whiskey whatever works with your theme)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 pound sausage- cooked & chopped
  • 1 cup dried fruit
  • 1 cup toasted nuts, roughly chopped
  • sage(herb)
  1. Sautee onions, carrots, celery & fruit in 3 tablespoons of butter until the onions are translucent but not caramelized
  2. In a LARGE bowl mix together Ritz crackers & bread cubes
  3. Add cooked vegetables & herbs
  4. Whisk together stock & eggs
  5. Season with Salt & Pepper
  6. Pour over bred/crackers/veg
  7. Pour in 3/4 of the remaining butter
  8. Mush it all together
  9. Mix in sausage bits, dried fruit & nuts making sure it is all well combined
  10. Pack into a greased 9″ springform pan
  11. Brush the top with the remaining butter
  12. Bake at 350 for 1 hour, occasionally ladling turkey juices on if possible

Let sit 15 minutes , unmold, slice & serve

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Here are a few tried tested and fantastic combinations

Green apple + Prunes + Walnuts + Pork Sausage  (White Wine)

Pear + Apricots + Marcona Almonds + Andouille Sausage (Sherry)

Honeycrisp Apple + Dried Cherries + Pine Nuts + Italian Sausage (Brandy)

Caramelized Fennel + Dried Cranberries + Pecans + Duck Sausage (Bourbon)

Poached Quince + Currants  + Hazelnuts + Wild Boar Sausage (Tawny Port)

Caramelized Sweet Plantains + Cooked Green Plantains + Smoked Almonds + Chorizo ( Rum )

3 thoughts on “Recipe: Waks Family Thanksgiving Stuffing

  1. thank you thank you thank you. My grandmother made this awesome stuffing when I was a kid growing up. She has been gone now for about 8 years, and sadly that recipe went with her ( wasn’t with her other recipes) I had a feeling that she may have gotten the recipe off the back of the ritz crackers, but I wasn’t sure exactly what or how she made it. I found your recipe, and I knew that I uncovered her stuffing recipe. Today I set out to make your recipe to see if its what she made all through my childhood. I could tell right away from the smell as I was mixing it, that I hit pay dirt . Thank you so much for this, it brought tears to my eyes today as I got to sense a little bit of my grandmother around me during this holiday . Thanks again . Without even tasting it, I know this was it .

    Like

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