Wednesday, November 21, 2012

How to Make Best Ever Gluten Free Turkey Dressing (Stuffing)

Trust me when I say when you eat this stuffing, there is virtually no discernible difference between the regular and my gluten free recipe.

At first, one might wonder why a person would bother with trying to create gluten-free turkey dressing. Considering the fact that turkey dressing is little more than bread and seasonings, I found it quite a challenge to find a gluten-free alternative. The answer here is quite simple: my mother has celiac disease, which renders her body unable to properly digest gluten. That is rather unfortunate, considering gluten is in practically everything--and especially everything concerning Thanksgiving faire.

Dressing is one of my mother's favourite things about Thanksgiving holiday in America, and I was determined to concoct something for her that she could eat without making herself sick. These days, as more and more gluten-free products become available, I found it surprisingly easy to find exactly what I needed. The clue is knowing how and where to look. Even in a relatively small town where I live (about 50K people) the local Wal-Mart has a Gluten Free section. While they didn't have anything labeled "bread crumbs" or "croutons", they did have something labeled "Bagel Chips." I had found my answer!

While Glutino manufactures more varieties than just "original", I wasn't certain how the bagel flavouring would make everything else taste, so I opted for a plainer choice. The ingredients for the stuffing are as follows:

Best Ever Gluten Free Turkey Dressing (Stuffing)

1) Two 6 oz. boxes Glutino brand Original bagel chips
2) One 32 oz. container Swanson's Chicken Broth. (Swanson's is gluten free and I got the 33% less sodium variety)
3)  Veggies of choice. I chose to add the following:
     a) One large yellow onion, chopped
     b) 8 oz. celery, chopped (about 1/2 of one bunch)
     c) 8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
     d) 8 oz. baby carrots, sliced into discs
4) Sage seasoning (to taste, but add in 1/8 tsp. increments)
5) Poultry seasoning (to taste, but add in 1/8 tsp. increments)
6) Table salt (to taste)
7) Black pepper (to taste)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Prepare the onion. Chop the onion. Make sure that the pieces are large enough so they can have some room to "cook down" (they shrink in size in the oven) but not so large you have a huge mouthful of onion when you take a bite. Place chopped onion in large mixing bowl.

3. Wash and prepare celery for chopping. Chop in 1/8th inch to 1/4th inch sections. Add to large mixing bowl with onion.

4. Rinse button mushroom. Slice in 1/8th inch sections. Add to large mixing bowl.

5. Rinse baby carrots. Chop in 1/8th inch discs. Add to large mixing bowl with other ingredients.

6. Remove silver packages from bagel chip boxes. Cut a small slit in the side to let air escape. Place silver bag (with bagel chips still inside) into a resealable gallon-sized bag. Seal the bag. Lightly crush the bagel chips inside the bag. DO NOT CRUSH INTO A PULP. This will result in you having horrible stuffing that turns into a gluey substance as it gets cooked. Pieces of bagel should be approximately 1/2 inch wide or larger. Add crushed bagel pieces to the other ingredients in the large mixing bowl.

7. Add sage, salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning to dry mixture.

8. Add 12 oz. of Swanson's Chicken Broth container to the other ingredients. Stir thoroughly until bagel chips are just moistened.

9. Fill small roasting pan with stuffing mixture. Pour remaining Swanson's Chicken Broth over dressing mixture, making sure to evenly distribute it across the top. Cover with aluminum foil.

10. Place pan in center of oven and cook for 35-45 minutes, or until vegetables have lost their crunch, but are still firm. 

11. Remove from oven. Let cool for 10 minutes. Fluff and stir dressing with two spoons, almost like you're tossing a salad. Spoon dressing around prepared turkey on a platter, or by itself in bowls or on plates. I'm not kidding when I say it will be some of the best stuffing you have ever tasted and nobody will be able to tell it's gluten free! Bon appetit! Yield: 12 servings.