New England Style Stuffing for Thanksgiving Turkey

Two of my children were born in Boston where we lived for 14 formative years and one by-product of that time is that our Thanksgiving menu is very New Englandy. We always stuff our roast turkey, and the stuffing often becomes the favorite side dish of the entire Thanksgiving. Everything is homemade, including the bread, but in this recipe you can buy the bread. Remember that this recipe must be started 3 to 4 days before Thanksgiving because the bread must dry.  Never use store-bought bread croûtons for this preparation.  It will be easiest to finish this the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving and keep it refrigerated until needed to stuff the turkey.   The stuffing should look pretty-well coated with herbs, chestnuts, and sausage and be ever so slightly moist.  The best way to keep the bread somewhat moist is by reserving some turkey stock to pour on it.  The non-stuffed stuffing can be cooked the previous evening or Thanksgiving morning if you don’t have two ovens then reheated at 475 degrees F for 20 to 30 minutes while the turkey is resting and being carved.  The stuffing in a 16-pound plus turkey should be enough for eight to ten diners and the non-stuffed stuffing is extra that you probably will not need.  Two cups of shucked oysters can be added to the stuffing if desired, although I’ve only made it that way once as it is labor intensive.  The recipe can be halved easily, which I almost always do, and still feed 10 people with a little bit of leftover. Note: To roast chestnuts, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Cut a not-too-deep “X” in the convex side of the chestnut with a paring knife and lay them in a baking pan, “X” side up.  Roast for 35 to 40 minutes.  Let cool then remove the shell.

Bread Stuffing for Turkey
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Filling
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8 cups
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups chopped shallots
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 2 pounds mild Italian sausage, casing removed, meat crumbled
  • 6 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1 tablespoon ground dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried summer savory
  • 1½ tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped fresh roasted and shelled chestnuts (see Note)
  • 4 loaves French baguette bread, cut in ½-inch cubes and left to dry for 3 days
  • ¾ cup Jack Daniels or Jim Beam bourbon
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or turkey, goose, or duck fat
  • Turkey stock as needed
  1. In a large stock pot, melt the butter over medium heat, then cook, stirring, the shallots and celery until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the sausage and cook until it has turned color, breaking up the larger bits with a wooden spoon, about 12 minutes. Add the tarragon, sage, thyme, and savory and cook until the fresh herbs wilt, about 1 minute, then season with salt and pepper, stir, and add the chestnuts. Mix in the breadcrumbs. Toss and stir so that the bread is well coated.
  2. Transfer the breadcrumbs to a large mixing bowl and set aside. Correct the seasoning and toss. Sprinkle the bourbon all over and toss again. The stuffing can be made up to this point and refrigerated overnight. The stuffing should be very moist but not wet or soaking. If it is not, pour in some turkey stock, maybe a cup or 2, and toss again.
  3. Stuff the turkey with this stuffing. Place the remaining stuffing in a large casserole greased with the butter or turkey, goose, or duck fat. Press down and sprinkle the top with some turkey stock. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees F until crispy brown on top, about 1½ hours, moistening every 15 minutes with turkey drippings once the turkey is roasting.


Best Deviled Eggs Recipe for Thanksgiving Favorites

Our Thanksgivings usually begin a week before when family members begin the preparations for certain dishes, such as the turkey stock for the gravy or drying the bread cubes for the stuffing. On the morning of Thanksgiving we all chip in to begin making the appetizers. Our favorite appetizer are our deviled eggs. Originally, we would make 12 deviled eggs but that was never enough and now it is over the top as this recipe indicates. Two dozen eggs will give you forty-eight little stuffed eggs for a Thanksgiving appetizer.  Even the children liked these when they were nine, six, and three, although not too spicy.  Once they were in their twenties it was my son Seri who took over the making of the deviled eggs every Thanksgiving.  Although his older brother wanted to reserve the piping of the eggs into the whites. We usually eat these with some other appetizer, usually cheese and crackers, or cut-up carrots and radishes, or Vermont cheddar cheese twists and the eggnog.  I think the original recipe is from the Time-Life series.  To hard boil an egg perfectly, so the yolk is a brilliant yellow, bring a saucepan of water to a boil and slide in the room temperature eggs.  Cook exactly 10 minutes, remove them and cool immediately (very important) in very cold or ice water.  If you don’t do this, they continue to cook and they are difficult to shell.  I always use the parsley and chives on the platter, not only because of taste but because it keeps the eggs from sliding around.  Be parsimonious when you start adding the mayonnaise—look for consistency rather than using the whole amount. This recipe is written for 2 dozen whole eggs.

Deviled Eggs
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Serves: 48
  • 24 large eggs, at room temperature
  • Two 4-ounce can Maine sardines packed in water, drained thoroughly
  • 1½ to 2 cups mayonnaise (preferably homemade)
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, strained
  • 2 tablespoons dry mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh chives
  1. Bring a pasta pot filled with water to a vigorous boil over high heat. Place the whole eggs in the pasta pot insert and lower slowly into the water and boil 10 minutes exactly. Have a big bowl of ice water ready for the eggs. Remove the eggs and place in the ice water and leave for 5 minutes. This is necessary to make the shelling easier and to stop the eggs cooking. Shell the eggs.
  2. Slice each egg in half lengthwise. Scoop out all the yolks into a bowl.
  3. Add the sardines to the bowl and mash with the yolks. Beat in the mayonnaise using 1 cup to start. When it is completely mixed add the lemon juice, mustard, cayenne pepper, and salt and blend until homogeneous. Taste to adjust the seasoning and add more mayonnaise if necessary.
  4. Spoon the egg filling into a pastry piping bag. Sprinkle the parsley over the bottom of the serving platter then arrange the eggs on top. Pipe the filling into each egg half. Sprinkle the chives over all the eggs if desired and refrigerate with a piece of wax paper over it until ready to serve.


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