Recipe Review

I Tried Martha Stewart’s Simple Stuffing (It’s as Elegant as She Is)

updated Nov 12, 2020
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

Thanksgiving Food Fest is a virtual food festival full of turkey, pie, games, and fun, starring many of our favorite cooks, ready to share the secrets of a most delicious Thanksgiving. Watch the event live at @thekitchn on Instagram from November 14-15 (or check back here after if you miss it).

Martha Stewart has been showing us how to entertain and eat well for decades. Within our recipe showdowns alone, she’s taught us a time-saving trick for lasagna and showed us how a pantry staple can make some of the best lemon bars around. So when it came time to choose recipes for this stuffing showdown, I knew I had to consider one of Martha’s recipes. Her “Simple Stuffing” is exactly how I picture Martha: elegant, but straight to the point.

After a quick glance through the ingredient list, I saw that this easy stuffing has all of the traditional elements you’d expect from a Thanksgiving stuffing recipe, but with a few special twists. I wondered if those small upgrades would give this understated recipe over-the-top flavor. Here’s how it went.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

How to Make Martha Stewart’s Simple Stuffing

Begin by heating the oven to 400°F. Tear Italian bread into bite-sized pieces and spread into a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until dry, but not browned. Remove from the oven and set aside until cool. Cook celery, shallots, and garlic in melted butter until soft, then add wine and cook until the liquid evaporates. Combine the vegetables, dried bread, fresh parsley, eggs, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl and toss until mixed. Add half of the broth and stir until the liquid is absorbed. Continue to add more broth until the stuffing is moist but not wet and no liquid pools in the bowl. Transfer the stuffing to a buttered baking dish, then cover and bake until hot, 25 to 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until browned, about 15 minutes.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

My Honest Review of Martha Stewart’s Simple Stuffing Recipe

If you’re looking for a classic buttery, herby, bread stuffing to serve alongside turkey and gravy, this is it. There’s elegance in every detail of this recipe. Case in point: Martha starts by tearing, not cutting, chewy Italian bread. Tearing the bread leaves craggy edges that crisp when dried in the oven and tuck into each other as they absorb the savory broth. Instead of a standard yellow onion, this recipe calls for shallots. Shallots have a mild, slightly garlicky flavor that’s best showcased in dishes like this where the ingredient list is limited and the delicate flavor won’t be coated in cream. Cook the shallots, garlic, and celery (sliced, although next time I’d dice them!) in butter until soft, then pour in white wine. Continue to cook until the wine evaporates and the vegetables absorb its brightly acidic flavor.

Martha’s recipe plans for a portion of the stuffing to be stuffed inside the turkey and the rest baked in a buttered casserole dish. The yield of vegetables and bread is therefore enormous. Even my largest restaurant-style mixing bowl was barely big enough to contain the stuffing mixture! There’s no need to prepare this much stuffing if you don’t plan to actually stuff the turkey. Additionally, the yield is excessive for the the smaller holiday gatherings we expect this year.

Overall, this stuffing absorbed all of the flavors of the butter, sautéed vegetables, and fresh herbs that make this a classic holiday side dish. The shallots and white wine elevate the flavor slightly, giving this very traditional stuffing an air of elegance.

Credit: Patty Catalano

If You’re Making Martha Stewart’s Simple Stuffing, a Few Tips

  1. Follow her make-ahead instructions. While I didn’t test this for this review, if you’re preparing this stuffing in advance of a big holiday meal take Martha’s advice to prep the bread and vegetables in advance. On the big day, all that’s left to do is assemble and bake.
  2. Reduce the yield. Unless you plan to stuff your turkey (an ill-advised plan) and bake more stuffing in a baking dish as the recipe suggests, you’re better off reducing the yield of this recipe. Instead of buying two smaller loaves of bread, use a single one-pound loaf, then add three stalks of celery and three shallots instead of what’s listed. Now, the stuffing should fit squarely in an 8×8-inch baking dish.

Rating: 8/10

Have you ever made Martha Stewart’s Simple Stuffing? Tell us what you thought!

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell