The original recipe for this stuffing was published in Gourmet Magazine in 1965.
Anointed the “dean of American cookery” by the New York Times in 1954, James Beard laid the groundwork for the food revolution that has put America at the forefront of global gastronomy. He was a pioneer foodie, host of the first food program on the fledgling medium of television in 1946, the first to suspect that classic American culinary traditions might cohere into a national cuisine, and an early champion of local products and markets. Beard nurtured a generation of American chefs and cookbook authors who have changed the way we eat. (The James Beard Foundation)
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Yield: Makes enough stuffing for a 10-pound bird
1/4 pound (or more) butter
1 1/4 cups finely chopped onion
1 cup finely diced celery
1/2 cup chopped celery tops
1 1/2 teaspoons thyme
1 pound small link sausages or chipolatas, lightly browned
1 tablespoon salt or more, to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
6-8 cups coarse corn bread crumbs
3/4 cup Madeira
Melt the butter in a saucepan with the chopped onion. Add the celery, celery tops, and thyme. Sauté the sausages gently or broil them. Add the salt and pepper to the crumbs and mix with the onion-celery mixture, the sausages, and the Madeira. Add more melted butter or some of the rendered sausage fat, if needed. Taste for seasonings. Stuff the turkey lightly.
1. Omit sausages and add 1 cup whole kernel corn and 1/2 cup finely chopped green chiles (or 1 cup, if you like the taste of chiles). Substitute 1/2 cup cognac for the Madeira.
2. Omit sausages. Sauté 1/2 pound sausage meat with the onions, breaking it up well. Add to the stuffing with 1 cup pecans.
3. Omit sausages. Add 1 1/2 cups finely shredded Smithfield ham to the stuffing. Sauté the onions in ham fat instead of butter.
4. Omit sausages. Add 2 cups crisp crumbled bacon to the stuffing. Sauté onions in bacon fat.
5. Omit sausages and celery. Add 2 cups coarsely chopped Smithfield ham and 2 cups coarsely chopped roasted and salted peanuts. If peanuts are not to your liking, you may substitute toasted and salted filberts.
6. If you like oysters in a stuffing, add about 2 dozen oysters with their liquor.