I have very strong feelings about stuffing, which, for once, I can express succinctly: GIMME. Well, that and a little bit of righteous indignation. Why do we limit our consumption of it to Thanksgiving? Why do we feign interest in all sorts of uninteresting things (dry turkey, thin gravy, occasionally awkward conversations with tipsy distant relatives) just to eat stuffing? Separated into components — croutons, broth, sautéed vegetables — we’d never reject them during all of the months that are not November, but together, for whatever reason, together in a casserole dish, it’s the fourth Thursday of the month or bust. I demand answers.
There are a lot of really excellent stuffing recipes out there, and I would enjoy — possibly with someone else’s metabolism — chomping my way through all of them. But when it actually comes down to picking The One, I get daunted because the best ones have so much going on: homemade cornbread and five herbs, crumbled sausage, plumped dried fruit, toasted nuts — 14 ingredients is totally the norm — plus braising and blanching and frying and simmering, and given that it’s tradition to prepare this along with three other vegetables, dinner rolls, three types of pie and a turkey that’s half the size of a refrigerator, gravy, salad and cocktails, it’s really no wonder that most of us find the prospect of making Thanksgiving dinner overwhelming-slash-excruciating.
My solution this year was to simplify by honing in on the two things I most wanted with my torn-up bread and give them enough flavor that nothing else is needed: onions cooked in butter and olive oil until deeply caramelized, then nudged into the tart-sweet zone with sherry vinegar — these alone would make the meal for me. Then, a heap of kale, slumped in olive oil with salt, pepper flakes and garlic — which are also delicious alone. But together! The onions are sour and a little jammy, the kale is faintly bitter and kicky, the sourdough bread is a crouton dream and they tangle together into something so phenomenal, it would be an undeserved cruelty to keep it from yourself for another 22 days. Not when it’s so good with a crispy egg on top, or a bowl of soup on the side, or even roasted sausages. Not when it’s your right as the cook to pick the best craggy bit off the top before sharing it with anyone else.
More Thanksgiving: Loads of savory recipes here, loads of sweet stuff here, and for those of you just in it for the pumpkin, something for you, too.
One year ago: Smoked Whitefish Dip with Horseradish
Two years ago: Spinach and Egg Pizzette
Three years ago: Granola-Crusted Nuts
Four years ago: Homesick Texan Carnitas
Five years ago: Spaghetti with Chickpeas
Six years ago: Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats
Seven years ago: Peanut Butter Crispy Bars and Spaghetti with Swiss Chard and Garlic Chips
Eight years ago: Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic
Nine years ago: Bretzel Rolls and Stewed Lentils and Tomatoes
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Not Derby Pie Bars
1.5 Years Ago: Blue Sky Bran Muffins
2.5 Years Ago: Essential Raised Waffles
3.5 Years Ago: Bacon Egg and Leek Risotto
4.5 Years Ago: Ribboned Asparagus Salad
Kale and Caramelized Onion Stuffing
Technically, this is dressing. Stuffing is cooked inside the bird, dressing, on the outside.
1 1/4-pound (20 ounce) round of sourdough or dense country-style white bread
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced in half-moons
1/2 teaspoon sugar or honey
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 pound (large bundle) curly kale, center ribs and stems removed, chopped or torn into large chunks
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups vegetable, chicken or turkey broth, divided
Red pepper flakes, to taste
2 tablespoons sherry
Heat oven to 400°F. Slice crusts off bread (you can save them for breadcrumbs) and tear loaf into rough 1-ish-inch pieces. Place in a large bowl and drizzle with 4 tablespoons olive oil and toss well. Spread on a large rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven, tossing once or twice for even color, until golden brown and crisp on the outside but still a little tender inside, about 20 minutes. Let cool on sheet, then tip back into that large bowl.
Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter in 2 tablespoons oil in the bottom of a large saute pan over low heat. Add the onions, toss to coat them in oil and cover the pan and with the stove on the lowest heat possible, let them cook undisturbed for 15 minutes. (The steaming and wilting will help them caramelize much faster, yay.) Remove lid, raise heat to medium/medium-high, add sugar and 1 teaspoon salt and cook onions, stirring frequently, for another 15 to 20 minutes, until they’re a deep golden brown. Add 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar and use to scrape any stuck bits off bottom of pan, then cook off. Taste onions. If desired, add a second tablespoon of sherry vinegar and cook off in the same method. (I prefer them with 2 tablespoons.) Add onions to bowl with croutons.
Add 2 more tablespoons olive oil to pan and heat garlic for half a minute, before adding kale. Get kale coated with garlicky oil, then add 2 tablespoons broth. Cook kale until wilted and somewhat tender, seasoning well with salt and pepper, about 6 minutes. Add sherry to pan and cook until it almost disappears. Add remaining broth and last two tablespoons of butter and bring mixture to a simmer.
Pour kale-broth mixture over croutons and caramelized onions. Toss well to combine. Pour mixture into a 3-quart casserole dish and cover with foil. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove foil, and bake for another 15 to 20, until golden and crisp on top.
Do ahead: Each part of this (the croutons, the onions and the kale) can prepared up to 3 days in advance, and assembled and baked when needed. Keep the croutons at room temperature in a container or bag. Keep the onions in the fridge, as well as the kale and broth mixture.
184 comments on kale and caramelized onion stuffing
Looks amazing! Another SK recipe that I want to try IMMEDIATELY!
Once again SK never disappoints. This was the absolute star of our Thanksgiving spread. A guest called the next day saying she couldn’t stop thinking about it and needed the recipe to make it herself .
We also made this at Thanksgiving and my husband loved it so much he asked for it again at Christmas. Making it today so that I have less to do tomorrow. Did the same last time and it keeps great in the fridge for a few days!
This reminds me of what is perhaps my favorite stuffing of all time (which is a tough category to crack the top in my book–there’s a wild mushroom stuffing that I clipped out of the Chicago Tribune like ten years ago that was my go-to for years), Suzanne Goin’s kale dressing that was in Bon Appetit a few years ago. As always, Deb, this looks amazing.
Would spinach work to substitute for kale? Or will it make it too wet?
One word – yummy! Got to try this for Christmas, heck, it should work with our roast chicken tonight – as you rightfully say, why wait, it ought to be right for Nov. 3rd.
Well, I’ve found my Thanksgiving stuffing this year. I cannot wait to make this.
I agree that dressing is a great substitute for the usual potato, pasta or rice dish. Cook’s Country Feb/Mar.’13 has a recipe for Skillet Roasted Chicken and Stuffing that was amazing because you soften the veg (onions, celery, etc.) in the skillet, put the chicken on top of the veg, sprinkle the bread cubes around the chicken and roast it all at 375 degrees. Take out the chicken, when cooked and give the now browned bread cubes a stir and voila! I am guessing you could, with a bit of adjustment, add kale or other vegetables too. Thus your main dish is complete and delicious. Thanks for reminding me how good dressing is and not to leave it just for Thanksgiving.
I was all ready to come in and ask for a way to omit eggs in this (vegan sister on Thanksgiving) and there are no eggs! I love you for it.
From a gal who has never tried any but the boxed Stove Top stuffing, I’m pretty excited right now. This doesn’t even look like stuffing, or at least that stuffing and that’s the nicest thing I can say. I cannot wait to try this and hope it’s my dish to bring to Thanksgiving this year!
This looks like heaven on earth for me and in a rare feat combines some of my insanely picky husband’s favorite things into one dish (stuffing/dressing, kale, onions).
Looks and sounds too delicious to pass on prepping this, so I will TOTALLY give this recipe a try! :)
I think I may make this for dinner tonight! I have some chard in the fridge I my sub for the kale. I love stuffing/dressing so much, I don’t know why I don’t make it more often.
you are indignant with good cause, and i join you! what the heck is up with us? i hereby vow to make this stuffing now, this week. (and I’m thinking with your bowl of soup idea). well done Smitten! as usual …
This looks amazing! I think I need to make this for Thanksgiving this year!
Yay, the Monkey is back!!
I feel like this year might be the year to make my dream a reality: an all dressing Thanksgiving. And this one will certainly be on the list of entrees.
I started reading your blog in 2009. Your terrific recipes and warm humor really helped me teach myself how to cook, one delicious meal at a time.
You somehow always know what I want to eat (and would be willing to cook) before I do. I’m going to make this one tonight.
This is my first time commenting, and I’d officially like to deliver 7 years of thank yous!!!
Ok, the stuffing looks delicious, but you sereiously have the most adorable two kids!!
How essential is the butter? I’m looking for some non-dairy dishes/sides for thanksgiving….
Your recipes are always good, but good recipes are abundant. I keep coming back to you for comments like, “There are a lot of really excellent stuffing recipes out there, and I would enjoy — possibly with someone else’s metabolism — chomping my way through all of them. ” I want someone else’s metabolism too!!
I wanna make this for a weekend breakfast….with a poached egg on top? MMMM.
I could just eat this alone for dinner. Seriously!! So delicious.
OMG – yummmm! I will definitely be making this. I love how it’s simple & easy to make year-round!
Yummy! This sounds so good!
Your daughter is about two weeks younger than my son. I am now at my fifth day back at work, and I have to tell you how incredibly impressed I am that you have kept posting on this site so soon after giving birth, and with two kids! I love your site and can’t wait until I get some more time to cook!
Ha! Gimme. That about sums it up for me too :-) As a child it was the only thing I wanted to eat on Thanksgiving and now I unabashedly load my plate up! I have no clue why I don’t make it more often, but you’re right, I should, we should, and the world should be eating more stuffing!
This looks delicious! I notice that this recipe doesn’t included egg, and some others I have seen do (I assume to “hold it together”). Does the stuffing stick together well without egg?
My almost-4yr old is a little confused. We talk about Smitten Kitchen recipes so much that he has decided one of his favorite restaurants is called “Smitten Kitchen”. He asked me earlier this week whether we can go to Smitten Kitchen sometime.
Deb – I love and support your attitude towards typos and grammar, but I just wanted to point out that the big stuffing day is the *fourth* Thursday of Novemeber, not the third! This seemed to important to the post to not mention :)
do you think one could add sausage straight into the dressing? I realize then it veers almost toward strata (though no egg), but our family dressing recipe has ground meat in it so I’m up for trying it!
Maybe the “Mushrooms and Greens with Toast” from Tara O’Brady’s book that Deb posted earlier this year qualifies as dressing by another name? Haven’t made it yet, but keep meaning to.
Also reminded of what is sometimes called “Bread Bhaaji” in certain parts of India. Here is a sample recipe, thanks to Google.
(Not to be confused with the battered, fried Bread Pakora/Bhaji, which is another beast entirely.)
Love your logic, Deb. Given the heart case you’ve built for non-T-day-dressing so far, why not dressing for breakfast…brunch…lunch…second dinner? (Any other “second dinner” eaters out there when work keeps you up past 11pm?)
Also, given your lovely hyperlink habits (I can get lost in them for way too long), perhaps you meant to add a few at the end a la crispy egg, etc? Thanks for the work you share with us all.
oops…that was supposed to be “hearty case”…
Is there a reason you don’t put eggs in this? I always do but have wondered how it makes a difference.
Monkey 2 is filling out that suit a lot more than Monkey 1 did! Granted she is older ( twice his age?) but I love those little sausage legs and wedged footsies as she stands there posing. Jacob is delightful as always,and such a grown-up! Sheesh, where DOES the time go? Keep filling us all up with such goodies as this stuffing,if it will make us as cute as those kids. I think the onions and sherry vinegar will get “sampled” a lot before being combined…better make a double recipe of just those!
I LIVE FOR STUFFING. I could eat stuffing for the rest of my life and never complain because it’s just my favourite! I thought becoming vegetarian would ruin this love but it’s even better because I make my own personal veggie stuffing at Thanksgiving and no one else can eat it :))
This sound so good and made with two of my favorite things!
Thanks for sharing this. We’re once again hosting American Thanksgiving for friends (American expats and curious Irishmen/women) here in Ireland, and after four years are running out of ways to show off the variety of Thanksgiving side dishes.
This makes a nice twist on stuffing (my wife’s favorite).
Too bad the kale in our garden got eaten by critters before we got to it or I’d do a test batch in advance. It probably wouldn’t be necessary, but it looks so good I don’t want to wait for turkey day.
Thanks and cheers.
Being Canadian, have already done the big Thanksgiving Dinner and am now bracing for the Dec. 25 one… Love the dinner, stuffing in particular, not so much the work of a big turkey dinner…the Sherry flavouring is interesting as I do an onion casserole (side dish?) which reflects all the goodness of caramelized onion but with the sweetness of Sherry in the sauce, basically thickened broth but the Sherry gives it that sweet kick…then topped with lots of crusty bread like topping and a little grated cheese…! Just made Applesauce cake with cream cheese icing… Delicious!
Do you think adding some fruit, like apple or cranberry, for a bit of sweetness and contrast could work with this?
I’ve always thought you were amazing, now I know for sure! It takes a truly inspired mind to begin eating stuffing, and this exquisite combination in particular, so early in the month. I use red onions and brown sugar with quinoa, sounds like they may belong here as well.
Caramelized onions make everything better! They are on my Thanksgiving table every year, usually in this crostini form along with goat cheese: http://chezsasha.com/2015/09/29/goat-cheese-caramelized-onion-crostini/
I vote to start a revolution to break stuffing free from the confines of a single holiday!
Well this is a thing that is happening this weekend!! Thanks Deb! And good point about why isn’t stuffing an any time (in the fall and winter) thing? I call for a revolution!
Deb, do you have a sherry recommendation?
I don’t generally like stuffing, but you make this sound soooo good!
Sounds delicious! We always make an early Thanksgiving dinner at our house with our favorites. I make a very traditional stuffing in the slow cooker.
It is worth reading the reviews about adjustments, i just use 1 stick butter and about 2 cups broth. I’ll try your recipe on a Sunday when we are having roast chicken.
Genevieve — Yes, you could add fruit, however the onions do provide sweetness because they’ve been cooked forever. My first though on adding fruit would be dried currants, maybe plumped a little in a mixture of sherry and water.
Re, eggs in stuffing (well, dressing) — Eggs are often added when stuffing is cooked dressing-style, i.e. like this, out of the bird. It helps bind the mixture. But I don’t always bother. Here, I wanted to see what happened when I skipped the egg and found it meshed nicely together without it. But, if you want it more tightly combined, you can absolutely add 1 to 2 beaten eggs as you toss it all together.
Laura — Yes, meant to link the crispy egg. You can see it here. I have made a breakfast stuffing before — it’s over here.
Jimm — Whoops! Now fixed.
Sherry recommendation — No, no preference (i.e. I don’t drink/use it enough to have one). I’m using one I bought at a wine store.
Brittany — The internet can make anyone look like they have their act together. :) I, in fact, have a ton of things making life easier — a husband that does probably 85% of everything when he’s not at work, a babysitter, a very involved family, an older kid at school all day, etc. — and you still would not believe the chaos of 6:30 p.m. (everyone is hungry and nobody has been fed!) most weekdays.
sara — You could totally use all olive oil instead of butter here.
I will usually make a stuffing dish as the main course at least once or twice during the cooler months. I make it with plenty of celery, onions, apples, dried cranberries, and sausage, and it’s a great dinner with a salad on the side. I like the idea of adding kale to it!
This looks phenomenal!!! I am drooling over my keyboard as I type this and have added this to my Thanksgiving meal plan.
I second the request for a good kale substitute. Will spinach be too…limp and soggy? Would chard be better? I had a bad run-in with kale and just can’t come back around to it (and I’ve tried!) but would love to try out this dish.
I love Stuffing Season! (It’s like the Holiday Season, but centered around my favorite part.)
Thank you for bringing the good stuff back to Stuffing for me (and far, far away from the stuffing in a box or can-thing).
Luisa (Wednesday Chef) has a panade recipe that I’ve been making for years! It’s wetter than a stuffing, I suppose and it puffs up in the oven and it’s glorious! I’ll have to give this a try.
DEAR Deb, this is your very first recipe that when I’ve looked at it
I’ve said,”Hmmm, no.” I love dressing/stuffing, but Kale in
it? Ick. Maybe if you were here to make it for me & then sit
down & talk about it together..but only then.
To be perfectly honest, perhaps my reaction
to this recipe was due to my being under the influence
of a Gingersnap? But I don ‘t think so!
I saw this and while I haven’t yet made the stuffing, it inspired me to cook the kale in olive oil in my enamel pot with onions and garlic, put aside and then cook some cubed (tiny cubes) gold potatoes and add them. I seasoned with salt and pepper and it was really delicious. The potatoes took the place of the bread. I didn’t use any honey, but I will add a dash to see how it works. I will absolutely make your recipe during my post-Thanksgivingleftoverpalooza. By the way, the cider caramels from the cookbook are one of the most amazing things I’ve ever eaten. I use Maldon salt rolled around in the cinnamon and there’s this wonderful unfolding of flavors…that recipe is positively genius.
Oh, and also, when I brought the apple cake (from the cookbook) to work, one of my co-workers sheepishly admitted that she stole and extra piece to bring home to her husband. It is really fantastic the way the apples caramelize and mix with the outside the cake to make this crunchy layer which gives way to a moist and sweet delight. I appreciate the time you took to make them foolproof. Presenting a cake to people which makes them feel cozy is a wonderful thing.
yum!! Such a good idea!
Afraid this has all the makings of a killer savory bread pudding and that’s what’s gonna happen.
I’m such a sucker for loaded stuffing. I did a fennel and mushroom one a few years ago and my sister still makes it. Think it’s time for me to mix things up though and try yours out! :-)
Deb you are a godsend for including the make ahead instructions!! I’m doing “Friendsgiving” tomorrow night and I want to get as much done ahead of time as possible.
Love this stuffing variation and your new email subscription, in concept, but in reality, every time I try to open an email on my 2011 mac my whole system crashes and closes. I thought I was imagining it, but after it happened twice I deliberately went in and tried to open it only and crashed. I can, fortunately, go to your site via my search engine with no trouble.
Am I alone in this weird tech glich?
Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for all the great ideas.
Steph — That’s not cool! I haven’t heard complaints from anyone else but your computer is not very old (although I am convinced my Macs are programmed to self-destruct at 4 years — phones at 2 years — and am sadly not even joking) and it shouldn’t be happening. Same issue this week too?
I’m a big fan of stuffing too! I actually make it year-round because, well…bread. <3 Yours looks glorious with those drool-worthy caramelized onions..mmm!!
I made this last night. I love dressing and had some fresh-from-the-road stand kale in the fridge. It was a trial run for Thanksgiving, and will most definitely be on the menu. It is full of flavor and has just the right texture. I didn’t have sherry vinegar so I made a mix of white wine vinegar and sweet vermouth and it was fine, although I’ll get the sherry vinegar before Thanksgiving. I think the only thing that would make it better is using home made broth. I had organic, low sodium chicken broth on hand that needed to be doctored a bit. Be sure to sweat the onions first, it really does make for faster and better carmelizing. I’m thinking it could be breakfast this morning…..
My mother used to make roulades all year long with Thanksgiving recipe stuffing.
To be honest, she overcooked flank steak and used “Stovetop” stuffing so it was largely inedible to anyone who hadn’t been brought up in culinary deprivation. The idea, however, is still good. (Not to mention the fact that it is a beautiful irony to suggest one of her recipes on a fabulous cooking site like this one. I loved the woman, and miss her still, but despite great cookies at Christmas she was not much of a cook.)
I may offer to bring this to Thanksgiving. I’m the lone vegetarian among people who like to add bacon to everything, so I need to bring my own feast.
This recipe might lure from my go-to dressing recipe using apples, onions, toasted pecans, sourdough bread croutons, and a bazillion fresh herbs. We love kale here and look for any ways to incorporate into our diet. (Your fresh kale salad is a nearly a thrice-weekly staple). Thanks Deb!
It is not stuffing, it is dressing, and if it isn’t cornbread, do not want.
Made this tonight. Red pepper flakes don’t appear anywhere in recipe instructions? Am I missing something? I accidentally left them out as I didn’t see them come up in how-tos.
I love a stuffing with a nice soft interior. Dare I say it…. I love when it’s a bit mushy. Is this stuffing more soft or crispy all the way through? Thanks!
This is in then oven right now. One thing I can’t seem to find in your directions–what temperature does the composed dish bake at? I have it at 350 F–400 seemed too hot.
I made this yesterday and it was SO GOOD! So glad to have discovered your blog (through Cup of Jo) – now I get to spend hours and hours going back through the archives & discovering more gems!
Made this last night – AMAZING.
I too, didn’t see anywhere to use the red pepper flakes, so ended up seasoning the kale with them at the last minute when I realized they hadn’t been used anywhere. This was delicious, and I’m not sure how it serves 8 since just three of us finished it off at dinner. I think next time I would add some mushrooms or maybe choirizo to make it a bit more filling and closer to our traditional takes on stuffing, but honestly it was pretty fantastic as is. Thanks, Deb!
This was AMAZING! I made it vegan with earth balance.
My boyfriend’s reaction was far better than anything I could think of: “this tastes like onion rings!” And it does. If onion rings were truly the best, fanciest version of themselves.
Thanks for another amazing recipe.
Love love the make-ahead tips. More please. Great recipe.
Thanks too for all the lovely recipes to choose from.
Re, texture — This is pretty soft.
Yum. But….um, where is the sage?
And *yes* to stuffing/dressing all winter long! With eggs.
Oh my, thhis is so timely, I have been craving stuffing a lot and it hasn’t even become cold. But the brilliant November colors make me want satisfying food. This looks so delicious I am going to make it tonight……maybe just have it for dinner with some soup.
i don’t like cooked greens of any kind (i’m a monster, i know) but i came here for the picture of your babies. (and the way you make me want to eat something i don’t care for.) in both cases, i was not disappointed in the least. A+.
also? totally agree about the macs – every mac computer i’ve had has just up and died in the timeframe you describe. (well, desktops 4 years, laptops 2.) it’s perfect and completely problem free…until one day it just craps out and is completely unfixable. (well, unaffordably unfixable, anyway.) i do have an ipod that’s still going strong since 2004, but obviously this is some crazy fluke. (i’m also still rocking my iphone 4S but it’s been replaced three times.)
Does the stuffing bake at 400 as well, or should the heat be reduced to 350 after toasting the croutons?
Jodi — I bake the stuffing at the same temperature.
I love your recipes. Even when I can’t eat some of them (damn you, lactose intolerance!), your cooking tips and descriptions are so incredibly useful and succinct that I read every single one. Your process for caramelizing onions in this recipe, for example, is extraordinary and perfect and enlightening, and I always feel like a better cook with your voice echoing through my head. It definitely helps that you’re hilarious, too!
Thanks so much for writing this blog – you’re fantastic!
Do you think substituting cornbread would compliment the other flavors or does this recipe need a a country boule?
Hello! I teach an afterschool program called The Good Food Experience and we made this stuffing this week as part of a lesson on Food Waste.
We used day old bread, bruised apples (in lieu of sherry) and harvested sage and greens from the garden before the frost sets in.
The result was delicious! Kids (ages 5-12) ripped kale, cubed bread, peeled and sliced onions, apples and garlic and when we put it all together it was delicious. I added a few sage branches to the caramelizing onion/ garlic/ apple mix.
Thanks for all of the inspiring recipes!
So, I made this, and it was really good. And then I took your advice and ate some of the left overs with a fried egg on top and it went from really good to absolutely amazing. Thanks again for filling my kitchen with awesome food.
I made this last night to test drive the recipe for Thanksgiving. It was a stunner! This will grace our Thanksgiving table this year. My search for the perfect stuffing recipe is officially over! I scaled down on the portions but kinda wish I hadn’t so that we had leftovers *may make this again before Thanksgiving – yes it was that good*. Thank you Deb!
I made this a few nights ago just for me because it sounded delicious. I halved the recipe but kept the kale amount the same (so virtuous! ;) ). Planning on making this again for Thanksgiving! Thanks for the yums.
Yum! I want to try this dish with Swiss chard.
Hello ~ any suggestions on substitutes for the sherry vinegar?
What do you think of adding some mushrooms?
Deb, what can I sub for the sherry? Thank you!
AMAZING! Made it tonight to go with your escarole and orzo soup with meatballs. Yum, yum, YUM! I can’t wait to make it again for Thanksgiving!
I made this with spinach. Worked perfectly fine, delicious flavor. Thank you for the recipe.
Also I used red wine vinegar and the taste was good!
Thanks for the post. Would cooking this in the bird (stuffing) make it soggy? (i.e. is it intended strictly as a dressing?)
Made this last night. I really feel like it needs an egg or something to bind it in order for it to be named stuffing. This is more like a “Winter Panzanella” to me. I loved the flavor and texture, but not stuffing like at all to me.
Wondering if the entire casserole can be baked ahead and re-heated?
Looking forward to this on Thanksgiving day!
Can you list instruction for the breadcrumbs? Are they used for the dressing? Do you just put the bread crust in a food processor?
I made this for Friendsgiving over the weekend and several people pulled me aside to tell me it was the best dish there. This was in a sea of wonderful dishes! Thanks for a great one, Deb.
Specifics: I doubled the recipe, cooked the kale and onion three days ahead (very convenient!), used a dry white wine instead of sherry (thought I had sherry but didn’t), used rice wine vinegar instead of sherry vinegar (couldn’t find it in my ‘hood), used levain bread from Balthazar, and it came out divine. My tip for anyone doubling: use a large saucepot to cook the kale, you will need the room!
Kim — Not sure I follow — the bread instructions are in the first step. Not crumbs, torn into chunks and toasted.
Kim–I think she just meant you could save the bread crusts to use as breadcrumbs at a different time.
Deb, I’m prepping this a day ahead. Should the croutons be toasted and then stored at room temp? Or just tossed in the olive oil for storage? Looking forward to this addition for dinner :)
Novia — I’d make them as written and store them at room temperature. Make sure they’re totally cool, or they’ll steam up the container and soften.
Elizabeth — I haven’t made it inside a bird yet, but don’t see why it couldn’t work as well as any other if “stuffed”.
Amazing dressing! By far my favorite savory dish we made this Thanksgiving. Perfect as is.
Ick. Tried it, just can’t get past the kale. will not be doing this again.
I made this for Thanksgiving dinner yesterday — it was wonderful. And even better this morning crisped up in the oven and topped with a poached egg. The kale turned into kale chips.
I used red wine vinegar but wonder if white balsamic would have worked better. I didn’t use the sherry because we have a few non-drinkers in the family.
Any other vinegar suggestions would be helpful.
Loved this stuffing, it was my mother’s favorite and she’s not even a stuffing fan! Can’t wait to have it for brunch with an egg. Janet, I don’t use alcohol (for religious dietary restrictions) so I used balsamic vinegar instead of sherry. I don’t know what sherry tastes like but it worked in my stuffing lol.
I made this for Thanksgiving, since we were having a few vegetarians to the meal. It turned out really wonderful! I agree the vinegary onions are basically just magic.
Easily made vegan (more olive oil substituting for the butter). A huge hit at the big feast. I will make this again and again.
Made this for a joint-effort Thanksgiving dinner for eight. Said it served eight, figured I’d better make a double batch. “Leftovers” are part of Thanksgiving, right?
Well there were leftovers — about one cup. I know one person had four helpings … Need I saw that it’s good?
I didn’t get to take home any leftovers from Thanksgiving, so I decided to make this. It took longer than expected (I did make the bread from scratch, and did everything in one day, so that was totally my fault) but this is amazing. I knew it would be good, but it’s like awesome x10. This is going to be a go-to from now on, especially when I need to use up some kale. Will probably bake my bread in advance next time, or buy from the store like a sane person.
Thanks for sharing…
If sherry isn’t your thing — Just skip it. If you don’t have sherry but don’t mind using alcohol, you can use a splash of white wine or vermouth instead.
Instead of sherry vinegar — You can use another vinegar.
Adding mushrooms — Could be delicious. I’d slice them very thin.
Fantastic! I added sliced sauteed mushrooms cause I love them in stuffing, and thyme and rosemary in the simmering kale step because I knew there would be some fairly bland dishes at this thanksgiving. Apple cider vinegar because I can never find sherry vinegar. Ate it for days with pan roasted chicken thighs and seared duck breast… Everyone loved it!
My assignment this Thanksgiving was to make the stuffing. I had never made stuffing before so I was a bit nervous. I decided to make this recipe because the kale intrigued me. Luckily for me, it was fantastic and everyone loved it. (I say luckily because my nephews told me I would not be invited back if it wasn’t.) The only change I made was that I used more broth than called for because I like it extra moist. :-)
Quick question Deb – I’m planning to make this at home and bring over to my mother-in-law’s for Christmas lunch. Think it will be ok to cook at home, cover with foil, transport 20 minutes, and reheat in over before serving? Thanks for any advice! (ps – also planning on doing your balsamic sprouts and dobos torte – yippee!)
Looks so good! I’m always looking for kale recipes. Thank you :)
Since I’ve found SK and been making lots of your recipes, this one, made for the first time tonight, goes in my list of TOP RECIPES. Mmmm. I love how you can taste the sherry, even though it’s only 2 tbspns! That flavor with the caramelized onions with the crunch of the bread was AMAZING. We ate it for dinner with 2 poached eggs served on top. We ate our first bites without the poached eggs so we could taste it and, this dish by itself – with no egg, was amazing. Just to add the protein to make a complete meal, we added the eggs and it only enhanced the dish. I’m going to tell everyone to make this! You say this serves 8… but my husband and I ate half the dish, making this a 4-serving dish for us – haha!
It looks so good ! I want my girlfriend to know to cook as great as you do, yum !
Mike – No reason you can’t teach yourself to whip up all of Deb’s delicious recipes!
Made this for a practice Thanksgiving meal with friends. Didn’t have any stock on hand so I just used water and it still turned out great!
I never make dressing or stuffing so I’m wondering if I can stuff the turkey with this yummy sound dressing?
No reason why not.
What if I leave the crusts on the bread? Seems like a lot of work to cut it off.
You can. I was using a rustic sourdough loaf and the crusts were very tough; they’d have been distracting.
Any chance I can substitute apple cider vinegar for sherry vinegar? Also, ideas for sherry substitute for the kale section? Thanks Deb!
Yes you can. You can skip the sherry in the greens if you wish.
Excellent! Thanks for responding so soon. I found a bottle of plum sake in the fridge (?!) and used it in place of the sherry and it was strangely perfect. Happy thanksgiving!
It might be helpful to have a “do ahead” note at the beginning of the recipe for those of us too loopy to read the recipe to the end. I gathered my ingredients read step-by step and then oops! this is the night before. Just a thought-I’ll do better next time.
It’s delicious! Made it exactly as written. The sherry vinegar is essential for a little bit of tang to balance out the rich onions and bread. Bringing it to Thanksgiving tomorrow and will make sure to keep it right in front of my place at the table!
Mmmm I just followed your advice for breakfast this morning :). I put leftover stuffing in a ramekin and baked an egg on top. This recipe has incredible flavor and mix of textures without being too heavy.
Wow. This was delicious. I didn’t have sherry vinegar on hand so subbed rice vinegar and some white wine and it came out great. Next time I’ll make sure to use the sherry vinegar. As usual, another win for Deb!!
Have you tried with with spinach? Just wanted to make sure it will hold up.
I made this with an herb bread and it came out great! I made the croutons the day before ( I wish I had torn them up more) and made the kale and onions and stored them together with the broth. The only thing I’d do differently is tear the bread up smaller so that it mixed better with the onion kale mixture, and I’d bake it the day before and reheat, because it tasted even better the next day. We just reheated the leftovers in a pan with a couple over easy eggs. Delicious.
I have sherry vinegar, but not sherry. Would vermouth be a good substitute for the sherry?
I over toasted the bread and bow they are more like darker brown croutons….not soft in the middle.
Can this be used or do you think I need to start again?
Just wanted to confirm – the stuffing is baked at 400F? (i.e., same temp the croutons are toasted at?)
My go-to recipe for the past three years, and it’s converted every stuffing-doubter at the table. You can sub apple cider vinegar (but probably keep it to one tbsp) just fine, and even apple cider for sherry with the kale.
I’ve cooked it in different kitchens and different altitudes and never had to adjust—and I’ve put it all together a few hours beforehand without it getting mushy. If you prefer a softer stuffing, add a half cup more broth. Great with green apple roasted in but I don’t think it needs it.
I made this for today’s Thanksgiving. I substituted balsamic vinegar for the sherry vinegat and the sherry and used more garlic. It was delicious
I’ve made this a couple thanksgivings in a row – always a huge hit!
Another home run, Deb! Stuffing was packed with flavor, crunch and texture, totally different from “traditional” versions (which don’t get me wrong are also scrumptious). Tastes great by itself, with turkey, relish and gravy, and most recently, fried up with a crispy egg on top for a decadent post holiday breakfast splurge. Deb, you are a freakin’ food genius. Loved meeting you last weekend in Pasadena on your book tour…you were so gracious and funny, sweet and patient with all your fans. I’m your fan for life!
My mom made this for Thanksgiving and I could not get enough of it. Best. Stuffing. Ever!! Thank you!!
I made this meal for breakfast.
2 questions: If you don’t like kale, can you substitute something like mushrooms? Also, what non-alcoholic beverage can you substitute for sherry?
Thank you for this recipe! For the past 3 years, it has been the one thing I look forward to making other than eating everything else that’s been made by others. I believe I have once used rice wine instead of sherry wine, simply from not having it at the time.
However, this year, I’m considering preparing this dish ahead of time for a friendsgiving meal, held in the great outdoors. So, I’m very grateful for the “Do ahead” bit. It’ll be made in 3 days time – the max time you recommend.. I was curious, do you recommend heating everything back up before combining it all and throwing it into the casserole dish? I’m probably going to use a cast iron dutch oven. Thank you again!
No need to heat it all before combining; do it after. Enjoy!
Best ever dressing. I’ll never make another – one of the few things all the kids and adults agree on. Thanks Deb~!
Excited to try this for this Thanksgiving (my first time hosting!)
Do you have any thoughts on adding sausage into the mix? Would crumbled Italian sausage be weird? Should I stick with regular pork sausage?
Has anyone ever tried freezing this whole thing?
Wowee – made this for Thanksgiving and it was just phenomenal. I doubled the recipe, premade each part the day before and kept them separate as Deb instructs, then cooked on the day it in two 9×13 pans. Super delish, and people gobbled it down. Thank you!
Can you freeze this?
Otherwise I’ll have to eat the entire pan!
I think it would freeze well.
Made this with leftover slider buns from the Superbowl (I got too many), used a local vermouth instead of sherry vinegar, and added in smoked gouda chicken sausage. Bet it would be incredible with a country loaf, but it still turned out wonderfully! Great winter meal.
I didn’t see where you add in the red pepper flakes? Thanks.
This was really good but too much sherry vinegar (for my family’s taste). We did the full 2 T with the onions and then the full 2 T with the kale (so 4 T total). I would decrease it to 1 T with the onions and 1 T for the kale.
I think the kale mixture calls for sherry, not sherry vinegar.
Since I don’t have to make this vegan, do you have any suggestion on a cheese to add on top? I made this vegan last year, and it was really yummy.
Sooo… do you prefer this one or the challah one?
The challah is the classic, to me. It’s still the one I make most years because it’s a crowd-pleaser. But if you like these flavors and have people at your table that don’t mind an untraditional stuffing, I’d make this.
I’m not a kale fan. Could I substitute spinach?
Yes, or chard or another green
The recipe calls for red pepper flakes (optional), but it does not say when to add them. Maybe at the end?
We like the added spice of red pepper flakes and probably would add them. But when?
I can’t wait to make this for our mini thanksgiving with my husband and kids this year. Can I use challah instead of sourdough or does the sourdough really standout and make the dish?
I really like the sourdough here but work with what you have, especially for a small (and I hope, non-judgy!) crew.
I’ve made this several times, and I feel like you could use whichever bread you wanted, because the onions really make this dish. Those are fantastic, and the kale is fantastic, too. I could eat it all the time, it’s so good.
I saw this recipe and thought it didn’t need anything else on the menu (well, maybe a pot of gravy). Technically that will make it dressing, since it won’t be stuffed in a turkey, but, then again, I will be stuffing it in my mouth.
I did add one beaten egg for richness, since I thought I’d have this standalone (I dismembered my turkey and cooked/froze most of it so I won’t be eating more than three continuous days of turkey). I’d make it again with sausage or bacon as a meal.
This is absolutely amazing. Make it now.
This was so good. I left the crust of the bread on, because I like all the texture variance I can get, and mixed one egg into the half of the broth, just to bind everything a little better. It was a Thanksgiving hit! Thank you!
BEST Thanksgiving Dressing EVER! I went absolutely NUTS over this! Glad I found oven temp for dressing itself in the comments, so left the oven at 400° F. Next time I will add 1/2 cup more broth; I used 9×13 lasagna dish, so it dried out a little. Since my husband and I were alone (due to covid lockdown), we’ve stretched our Thanksgiving over three days. I made three of your recipes mentioned in your weekly email and a 4th I just had try: Garlic Butter Roasted Mushrooms and Cranberry Pie with Thick Pecan Crumble on Thanksgiving Day, Kale and Caramelized Onion Stuffing on Friday and Saturday is Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette. So easy to make everything vegan by swapping out the butter for a vegan substitute. I will never make mushrooms any other way! Thank You for tempting me with your recipes, cajoling me with your mouthwatering prose into a renewed love of cooking! I feel like you are in my kitchen with me – what a delight.
If you had any doubts, this dressing stole the show at a dinner with quite a few other contenders.
This recipe is perfect. Wouldn’t change a thing.
Started with a sourdough loaf. Added that extra tablespoon of sherry vinegar (recommend). Didn’t have sherry so I skipped it (didn’t miss it).
Who knew squishy soggy crispy bread could be SO! GOOD!
Will be making this again and again. Thanks SK, as always.
Yum, easy and delicious. I left the crusts on my bread, cut back on the oil by about half in most places and didn’t have any sherry on hand so just used more sherry vinegar. I trimmed and tore the kale the day before, and caramelized the onions which was key since they took at least an hour. Will definitely make this again, mushrooms would be a good add next time.
Deb, I wish your recipes had a “print” button.
You’re amazing, it would just be easier if there were an option to print. Thank you!
There is a print icon that leads to a print template at the bottom of each recipe, where it says “DO MORE:” However, there was an error on the site for a few days that blocked the Print icon, but it’s been fixed. If it’s not appearing, try restarting your browser. If that doesn’t work, can you clear your browser cache? That will do the trick and definitely let me know if it does not. Finally, even without using a print button, every recipe is printable with a clean template is from:
* CTRL or ⌘ + P [on desktop]
* File > Print on a Mac, or
* From the share button (the one that looks like an up-arrow coming out of a box) at the bottom of the Safari browser on an iPhone.
Just wanted to come and say that I love this recipe so much. I think I’ve made it every Thanksgiving since 2015, and I cannot wait to make it again this year. Thank you, Deb, for such a wonderful, reliable and delicious recipe!
Deb, I’m making this for a friends giving tomorrow. Can I bake the entire thing tomorrow morning and then heat it up quickly once I get to my friends house? Any suggestions?
Really a very informative blog I have read since long Thanks for taking the time to write the blog.. and really this is useful for everyone and a thumps up by my side to subscribing to your blogs to get the same forever and enjoy the reading.
Absolutely delicious. Sauteed some chopped mushrooms in butter-EVOO and finished with sherry vinegar, as other veg. and added to the mix when chewy/crunchy. As mentioned by others, would up broth by 1/2-1 cup next time to get moist on the bottom, crunchy on the top combo. Looking forward to these leftovers.
I’m Canadian so our thanksgiving was in October but I started craving thanksgiving dinner, so we roasted a chicken, I made this stuffing and it was to die for! I cut the recipe in half. This is my kind of stuffing!! I’ve never loved the classic version, this I will make every year!
I made this stuffing this weekend and it was divine! My whole house smelled amazing. This weekend I was trying out recipes for Thanksgiving, and this is definitely making the list. The carmelized onions were sooooo good!
Hi there! I just noticed I’m not sure when to add the red pepper flakes. This is the fourth year I’ve made this and I’m not sure I ever noticed until now. I’ll probably assume you mean to add it in with the kale but I wanted to ask since I’m making it again.
No one in my family except me likes stuffing, so I decided to make this to see if it would be of more interest to everyone than our traditional bread stuffing and it was a hit! Told I should plan to make it again next year!!
Made this yesterday to have with turkey. Yummy, but next time I would definitely make it the day before and re-heat, as it’s MUCH more delicious today. I would also suggest dicing the onions rather than slicing; the strips of carmelized onion were messy to eat and didn’t want to cling to the other ingredients. And I might add sage, as I missed that flavor.
Mmmhmm. Amazing. Onions were phenomenal. I couldn’t stop eating this. Made exactly as is with fresh kale even though I have a group if kale-haters. They ate it all too happily.
Thank you, Deb!