Martha Stewart Living (November 2015)
You know how sometimes you'll be sitting at your desk at work, and out of nowhere you'll get a craving for the most random thing? Mmmm, you think, spaghetti carbonara would be amaaaaaazing right now. Or, How good does General Tso's sound?? And then you eat a handful of almonds and try to pretend it's satisfying?
We're that way with rye bread. We'll go months without thinking about it, and then -- bam! -- How great would a pastrami on rye be right about now??
There's something about rye bread -- with its earthy, slightly sour, vaguely spicy flavor -- that we find craveable. So when we saw this recipe in Martha Stewart Living for a rye-and-walnut Thanksgiving stuffing, we wanted to try it.
Martha calls for cooking half this stuffing inside a turkey, and the other half on its own in a casserole dish. Stuffing-inside-the-bird isn't really our style, and anyway we weren't making the Molasses-and-Cider-Glazed Turkey that is incorporated in Martha's recipe (and which, by the way, looks delicious). So we tweaked the recipe a bit in order to cook all the stuffing by itself, outside the bird. As such, it's an especially straightforward stuffing recipe: Sauté your aromatics, mix with everything else, bake until finished.
Here's the deal with this stuffing, though: For all the same reasons that make rye a crave-worthy flavor, we found it to be a bit of an odd fit on the Thanksgiving table. The rye flavor really stands out here. Normally, we'd say that's great! But when it's trying to play nice with sweet potatoes, gravy, green beans and whatever else is on your Thanksgiving plate, it seems a little out of place.
This Rye-and-Black-Walnut Stuffing would be fabulous with a pork tenderloin! The flavors are nice, and the toasted black walnuts offer good crunch and an earthy note that really complements the rye.
But for the Thanksgiving table, this stuffing just struck a slightly wrong chord with us.
NOTE FROM ZACH AND CLAY: Martha Stewart's recipe calls for cooking half of this stuffing inside a turkey and the remaining half in a casserole dish on its own. We chose to cook all of it in a standalone dish, and we adjusted cook times accordingly. The directions below are our adapted instructions for cooking all of this stuffing outside the bird.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for baking dish
1 medium onion, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped (3/4 cup)
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and cut into 1/2-inch-pieces (1 1/2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, minced (2 tablespoons)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 large loaf rye bread, cut into 1-inch pieces and lightly toasted (12 cups)
1 cup black walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup lightly packed coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add onion, celery, apple, and garlic; season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add wine; bring to a boil and cook until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Transfer mixture to a large bowl; toss with bread, walnuts, parsley, and broth until combined. Fold in eggs.
Transfer to a lightly buttered 4-quart baking dish and cover with parchment-lined foil. Bake 25 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until top is crisp and golden brown in spots, about 15-20 minutes more.