Challah Stuffing

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November 13, 2022

4 min read

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A tasty connection between Jewish life and Thanksgiving.

Our family’s Thanksgiving stuffing features challah as a key component. I’d like to wax poetic about adding it to our family recipe to link our Jewish and secular traditions. But in actuality, challah is just a fantastic bread for savory stuffing. And it mixes with other breads, like cornbread, beautifully. I’ve modified our family recipe to stand up to Jewish dietary laws and still include all the aromas of Thanksgiving. I hope this inspires you to jumpstart your own delicious Thanksgiving feast this year. Learn more about the connections between Judaism and Thanksgiving here.

Did you know that Judaism is very big on table manners? How we conduct ourselves while we eat says a lot about how seriously we are taking the activity? Get more Jewish food thoughts here. 

Serves: 12

INGREDIENTS

  • 10 cups challah bread cubes (1 pound loaf)
  • 1 pound of mushrooms, sliced (6 cups before cooking – 2 cups after cooking)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce (optional)
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 large tart apple or 2 small ones, chopped and not peeled (2-3 cups chopped)
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup chopped and toasted pecans
  • ½ cup Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 – 2 cups turkey stock or vegetable stock – store-bought or homemade
  • 10 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 teaspoons dried thyme or about double if fresh
  • 4 teaspoons dried sage or about double if fresh
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 teaspoons black pepper

PREPARATION

Make the stuffing cubes

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Slice your bread into approximately ½ inch cubes. Spread the cubes on two parchment-lined cookie sheets, not too tightly packed.
  3. Pour about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over each tray of cubes and sprinkle a ½ teaspoon of thyme, sage, salt and pepper on each tray. Mix the cubes all around to distribute the flavors.
  4. Bake for about 15 minutes, checking at about 10 minutes for doneness and to mix around. Cubes should be browned but not completely dark. They will firm up when you take them out.

Prepare the stuffing

  1. Prep a large rectangular roasting pan with a light coating of olive oil.
  2. In a large sauté pan on medium heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and when it begins to shimmer, add your sliced mushrooms. Let them cook for a minute or two and add about a teaspoon of the sage and thyme, the chives and soy sauce (if using) and about ½ teaspoon of the salt and pepper and mix well. Let the mixture continue to cook until the mushrooms have reduced in size, become darker, and most of the liquid has dissipated (a total of 10 – 15 minutes). Set the mushroom aside to cool.
  3. In the same large pan, sauté the onions in 2 tablespoons of the oil on medium low. Add ½ teaspoon of the salt, ½ teaspoon of the pepper and about 1 teaspoon of the thyme to again layer the flavors. The onions should turn translucent but not brown. They will take about 15 minutes. Set the onions aside to cool.
  4. Add the other 2 tablespoons of oil for sautéing the apple. Turn the heat up to medium high or high. Add the apples, ½ teaspoon of the thyme, ½ teaspoon of the sage. You want to quickly sear the outside of the apples without turning them to mush, hence the higher heat.
  5. If you want, add the dried cranberries at the very end of sauteing the apples, just to soften them up and add a bit of extra flavor.
  6. Add the stuffing cubes, the sauteed elements, the chopped parsley, pecans, last of the sage, last of the thyme, and the rest of the salt and pepper to a large bowl and mix. Add about 1 cup of broth and mix again. Taste for seasoning and add more herbs, broth or salt and pepper if needed. The mixture should be flavorful and moist but not soggy.
  7. Put the stuffing in your stuffing pan, cover with foil and refrigerate. You can prep the stuffing the day before but bake it after the turkey comes out of the oven.
  8. Bake at 375°F for about 30 minutes. Check once for moistness. Add additional stock if necessary. Take foil off for the last 5 minutes to brown the top if desired (recommended!)
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