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.
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.