Alright, here we go! The final stuffing recipe of the season and I am really excited about this one. Shhh, don’t tell the mashed potatoes, but I am pretty sure stuffing is my favorite. It’s a dish that just doesn’t get any love outside of Thanksgiving and I just don’t know why.
While this stuffing isn’t grain-free, it uses my absolute favorite gluten-free bread ever – Bread SRSLY’s sourdough loaf. It would also be delicious with non-gluten-free sourdough (obviously), any crusty French-style bread, cornbread or even with a good grain-free bread. As far as I am concerned, always remember whatever your bread choice, your stuffing (or dressing) is only as good as your bread.
Oyster stuffing is more traditional in the New England region and I believe some areas of the south, along the gulf coast. It isn’t one that I grew up eating, necessarily, but I have had it before and I love it, I also know it’s a staple for so many of you. Veering a bit from the traditional, I paired the shellfish in a more West Coast way, with the sourdough. Think of Northern Cali, San Francisco to be exact, the Hangtown Fry and all the sourdough bread paired with oysters, clams, chowders and so on. It’s a match made in heaven. A little tang, with the subtle, savory brininess of the oysters. This classic stuffing will bring an amazing and unique matrix of flavors to your Thanksgiving dinner.
Other optional add-ins for this stuffing include fresh spinach, shallots in place of the onion, bacon, pancetta or sausage, hot sauce, combine bacon, parmesan and hot sauce to go for an Oysters Rockefeller vibe, bell peppers and maybe a little heat for Creole-style, add some nuts or mushrooms or whatever else your little stuffing-loving heart desires. You can cook everything in bacon fat instead of butter (or oil) and play around with the fresh herbs. If you can’t have eggs, drop them and add just a bit more broth. I really just find that eggs help to bind and create a more cohesive dressing, rather than a bunch of crumbly croutons and rogue veggies being on my plate. Personal preferences.
I personally enjoy cooking this stuffing right in the cast iron skillet that I use to saute the veggies. There’s less to clean that way and I love how crispy it gets. Feel free to use a greased baking dish, if you’d rather.
Oh and are you ready for the best part? Assuming you are consuming wild caught, sustainably-sourced oysters, they are a nutrient-dense superfood loaded with vitamins A & D, vitamin B12, copper, zinc, and selenium. So eat up. Just four medium sized Pacific oysters supply a smattering of B-vitamins (including over 1000% of daily B12), 1200 IU of vitamin A, a third of daily folate, almost 7 mg of vitamin E, 3 mg copper, 280% of daily selenium, and 33 mg zinc. That comes with 18 g protein, 4 g fat, 1.5 g omega-3, 0.1 g omega-6, and 9 grams of carbohydrates. (Obviously raw brings the most density of nutrients, but cooked brings a lot of goodness, too)
- 6 cups ½-inch cubes gluten-free sourdough bread (or whatever bread you prefer)
- 4 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, divided (you can also use olive oil, ghee or bacon fat)
- ½ cup chopped white onion
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1⁄4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 2 tablespoons chopped thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped
- 2 8-ounce jars fresh oysters, drained, liquid reserved coarsely chopped (you can also use fresh if you feel like shucking)
- ½ to 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 pasture-raised eggs, lightly beaten (optional)
- sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 300°F. Evenly spread out the bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet (use two if necessary). Bake until dry and lightly golden, but not browned, about 15 minutes. Transfer bread to very large bowl. Increase the oven temperature to 350ºF.
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add onion, celery and carrot; sauté, stirring occasionally, for 7 to 8 minutes. Add the minced garlic and continue to cook mixture for 1 more minute, then remove from heat, add to bread, and stir to combine.
- Add the fresh herbs and the chopped oysters to the bread with small amount of their liquid. Continue to add a little oyster liquor and up to 1 cup more chicken broth, as needed; mixture should be very moist. Add the eggs. Season to taste with salt and pepper
- Pour the stuffing back into the greased/seasoned cast iron skillet or a greased baking dish. Cut remaining 2 tablespoons butter into small pieces and scatter over top of dressing (you can also use ghee or olive oil). Cover with foil and bake until heated through, about 30 minutes, then uncover and continue to bake until the top is crisp, another 15-20 minutes. Serve warm.
This stuffing can be made 1 day in advance. Prepare as directed and skip the final baking step. Keep covered and in the refrigerator.
I prefer to use fresh raw oysters already shucked and in a jar with their liquor, usually found refrigerated right at the seafood counter. Most fishmongers, will also shuck fresh oysters for you while). You can also use canned oysters, if you can't find fresh. You can read more about adding oysters to stuffing, here.