This is the stuffing I grew up eating. It is the only thing that I knew to be stuffing until I was a teenager and my friend’s mother would get Bell seasoned croutons to make what I now identify as a “stove top” type stuffing. The two types of stuffing can not even be compared. So I won’t even try. What I will do is tell you that to date, I have never tried a stuffing I have liked better or one that is nearly as flavorful and savory. My family’s Portuguese Stuffing recipe is a treasure on our Thanksgiving table each and every year.
My family’s stuffing recipe does not start with croutons at all, but with day old bread. The flavor comes from a combination of very traditional Portuguese seasonings… Portuguese Hot Chouriço is a main component along with pimenta moida, Portuguese All Spice, onions and garlic. The method is really what turns it into a stuffing. I’ll take you through that in the tutorial below.
The recipe has changed slightly over the years. When my grandmother was alive, in addition to the chouriço meat that we add in to this delicious recipe, we would also add in the giblets. That stopped when I got old enough to understand what giblets were… Well, I say that stopped, but I am quite sure my mother continued to sneak them in until I started really helping her prepare Thanksgiving dinner. And although this stuffing was delicious with the giblets, in my opinion, it is just as delicious without. That being said, I do mention in the tutorial where you can add them in if you so choose. Another change that we have made is that traditionally we would always stuff the turkey with the stuffing as it is “stuffing”. And my mother really liked the addition of the turkey juices into the stuffing as it cooked, but with the national recommendations not to do that, we have stopped filling the turkey with the entire batch of stuffing. Now what I do, is usually add about a cup or two just to the outer portion of the turkey cavity so that it can both gather juices and get crispy on the outside while still able to cook thoroughly. Then the rest is still prepared in a casserole dish.
A good Portuguese stuffing starts with a good day old Portuguese bread. These are pop-secos.
Tare the bread up.
Place bread in a large bowl of water.
Press bread down so it can soak in all the water.
Saute onions in some olive oil over medium heat in the largest skillet you have.
Add in some garlic and continue to saute over medium heat.
This is a bag of ground chouriço I got from my local butcher. If you don’t have this available to you, just get some chouriço, peel the skin off the sausage and run it through a food processor for a minute or so.
Here is what it will look like.
Add chouriço in with your sautéed onions and garlic.
You will want to cook it down until some of the fat is rendered from the chouriço and it stats to get a bit crispy. If you like to use giblets in your stuffing, this is where you would add in the chopped giblets. We do not use them anymore as they are not a family favorite.
When the color of the chouriço is bright and you have rendered some of the fat, add in a couple of table spoons of crushed red pepper (pimenta moida).
Next, squeeze out most of the water from your bread by hand.
Add it into your skillet.
Cook the wet bread in with the chouriço mixture.
Keep working the chouriço, onions and garlic in through the bread after about 10 minutes of this, remove from heat and allow to cool for about 10 more minutes. Transfer to a large casserole dish. At this point, taste for salt and add if needed.
Place two eggs in a bowl.
Beat the eggs well and add in to your bread mixture.
Mix eggs into the bread mixture as thoroughly as you can.
Next, add in about a teaspoon of Portuguese All Spice. (There is a quick recipe for Portuguese All Spice at the bottom of my Beef Stew recipe)
Add in and mix well… then bake in a 350°F degree oven for about 45 minutes to an hour… the goal is for it to get crispy on top, heated all the way through and not wet in the middle.
Portuguese Stuffing (Recheio)
1 1/2 dozen Portuguese Pop-Secos (rolls)
1/2 lb. ground chouriço
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
3-4 Tbls. crushed red pepper (Pimenta Moida)
1 tsp. Portuguese All Spice
2 eggs, beaten
turkey giblets, chopped (optional)
kosher salt to taste
6-8 quarts of water for soaking
Pre-heat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl filled 3/4 with luke warm water, tare bread and soak.
In a large skillet, saute onions in olive oil over medium heat. When onions are starting to cook through, add in garlic and saute another minute. Add in chouriço and continue to saute. The next step will take place once the chouriço is starting to render its fat and become crispy. At this point, add in giblets if desired.
Hold soaked bread between both hands and squeeze out most of the water. Add each piece into your hot skillet. Incorporate the wet bread in with the chouiço mixture and continue to saute the bread in the skillet for about 10 minutes. At this point taste for salt and add if needed. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Place in a large casserole dish.
Add in beaten eggs and Portuguese All Spice. Mix in well. Place casserole uncovered in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour until cooked through and top is crispy.