Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tasty Tuesday -- Pennsylvania "Filling"

I always have to laugh when I see the discussions that pop up around this time of year about whether that bread mixture that goes in the turkey is called "stuffing" or "dressing"! Because if you grew up where I did, the answer is "neither!" We did, however, (and I still do) accompany our Thanksgiving turkey with this very tasty "filling."

Pennsylvania Filling

A couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, go out and buy a loaf of the cheapest, most generic white bread you can find. (The proportions given here assume a one-pound loaf.) Shove it in the refrigerator to get good and stale without spoiling. (If you don't have extra refrigerator space, a cool cupboard will do.) Monday of Thanksgiving week, take the bread out of the fridge, trim the crusts, and cut into small cubes. Place the cubes in a good-sized bowl and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Leave the bowl sitting at room temperature and, a couple of times a day, gently toss the cubes so that they all dry out. (If you must cover the bowl, do so with a thin, loosely woven towel, so that the bread can continue to dry.)

The day before Thanksgiving, melt 1 to 1 1/2 sticks of butter and drizzle over the bread cubes, tossing repeatedly. Remind yourself that the filling is so delicious that it will be your loss if you taste all the bread cubes now.

Thanksgiving noontime (or about 1 1/2 hours before the turkey will be done) beat together 4 eggs and 1 1/2 cups of milk. Stir together with the bread cubes. Place in a greased casserole. I use a two quart flat casserole (about 8" square.) The next time you baste the turkey, squirt a couple of baster-fuls of broth/drippings onto the top pf the bread in the casserole. (You can, of course use a spoon! The object is for all of the filling to have a pretty brown broth tinge.) Bake at 350F for about one hour, until golden and puffy. Serve with gravy.

To be perfectly honest, I would be completely happy with just filling and gravy for Thanksgiving. Oh, and some sauerkraut. That PA Dutch side dish always appears on my Thanksgiving table, to the bewilderment of my husband and many of my children. But don't let that scare you away from the filling. It's GOOD!

Full disclosure -- Roger, who cooks the turkey, also makes his traditional seasoned crouton mixture to stuff the turkey. I like it just fine, but not for Thanksgiving!

1 comment:

Enbrethiliel said...


My mouth is watering!