Saturday, November 17, 2012

Herbed Grain Free Stuffing..."Voila!"

Today I continued to work on my "Operation Grain Free Stuffing" recipe.  :-)  The grain free bread cubes I made a few days ago were good, but the bread was still a little too dense for my liking to use for stuffing.  I revisited my recipe again this morning to see how I could lighten it up just a bit.  The recipe I made for the lightly herbed "Grain Free Stuffing Bread Cubes" makes about 7 cups of oven dried bread cubes which is the equivalent to approximately 1 bag of commercial stuffing mix which typically contain about 6 cups.  You will need to measure the bread cubes AFTER drying them out because I measured them both before and after oven drying.  Before drying they made 10 cups of fresh bread cubes; after oven drying they measured a tad over 7 cups (the dried measurement is the one you need to use).  I made an Herbed Grain Free Stuffing recipe that I posted below, but you could easily just use the Grain Free Stuffing Bread Cube recipe to make your favorite stuffing recipe.  Stuffing (or dressing) is such a personal kind of dish -- people have all kinds of preferences as to what they like to put in their stuffing...or more what they don't like in it.  My Grain Free Stuffing Bread Cubes recipe below is a great substitute for the more traditional wheat bread stuffing that many of us are accustomed to.  The recipe for my grain free bread cubes is posted below my Herbed Grain Free Stuffing recipe, so if you are using them in your own stuffing recipe, just scroll past mine directly to the recipe for the "stuffing bread cubes".   

For dinner tonight, I am making Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken.  I'm roasting a 7-lb chicken in my dutch oven.  I placed a couple of celery stalks along with their leaves and a couple of carrots in the bottom of my dutch oven to place the chicken on.   I squeezed the juice of 1 fresh lemon over the top of my chicken and placed the cut lemon halves into the chicken's cavity along with 1/2 of an onion, a sprig of fresh rosemary, a handful of fresh sage leaves and a few sprigs of fresh thyme to help flavor the bird from the inside out. In a small bowl, I mixed a few tablespoons of olive oil, and a tablespoon each of fresh rosemary, thyme and sage along with some salt and pepper and brushed it over the chicken, covered it and popped it into a 400 degree F oven for 30 minutes -- and then uncovered it and reduced the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and roasted it for another 1-1/2 hours until it was done.  The smell in my kitchen this afternoon from the fresh lemon herb chicken roasting for a couple of hours along with the Herbed Grain Free Stuffing was amazing!  In tonight's stuffing test I did not add the sausage or mushrooms because I wanted to get a clear feel of the texture of the fresh herb flavored stuffing itself.  I've snapped a few photos below for you to see as well as 2 recipes (one for the Grain Free Stuffing Bread Cubes to use in your own recipe and the other for my Herbed Grain Free Stuffing).  Enjoy!

This is what the dough looks like for the Grain Free Stuffing Bread Cubes
The dough pressed out into the pan, ready to be baked
Bread is baked and fresh out of the oven
Bread has been cut into bread cubes and ready to be oven dried

Here's a close-up shot before going into the oven
Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken ready to be popped in the oven
Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken fresh out of the oven
Herbed Grain Free Stuffing fresh out of the oven

Herbed Grain Free Stuffing


6 cups of grain free stuffing bread cubes (*recipe below)
2 cups turkey or chicken broth (more or less to moisten, depending on preference)
1/2 pound Italian sausage, (or preferred type/flavor of bulk sausage), optional
2 tablespoons fresh sage, finely chopped (or 1 tablespoon dried)
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
1 cup celery, chopped or thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and diced, optional
1/2 cup fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped, optional
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms, cooked, optional
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Please grain free bread cubes in a large bowl and set aside.  In a medium to large skillet, brown optional bulk sausage well, breaking and crumbling into pieces as it cooks; remove cooked sausage and add to the bowl of bread cubes.  Place butter in a large saucepan or stockpot; add onion and celery and cook for about 4-5 minutes until celery and onion is crisp-tender.  Add chopped apple and cranberries (if using) to the celery and onion mixture and cook a few more minutes just to soften slightly.  Add herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme, parsley), the bowl of bread cubes with optional cooked sausage and mushrooms to the pot; stir until mixed.  Pour broth over the stuffing mixture and toss lightly (add enough to moisten, but do not over saturate).  Spoon mixture into a well greased 9 x 13 baking dish or casserole dish; cover and bake at 350 degrees F for about 35-40 minutes.  If desired, uncover and bake an additional 10-15 minutes to give it a drier "crusty topping" or until stuffing is the desired moistness and consistency (you can add additional broth, if needed while it is cooking).  

***Note:  The fresh cranberries are tart and not sweet like adding dried sweetened "Craisin" type cranberries. If you want to add a bit of sweetness, you can add a sweeter type of apple than Granny Smith.

For the Grain Free "Stuffing" Bread Cubes


1/4 cup organic coconut flour
3/4 cup almond flour
2 cups organic golden flax meal
4 teaspoons baking powder (aluminum free)
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
6 eggs (I used organic cage free)
1 cup water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  In a medium sized bowl, mix all dry ingredients together; add eggs, water, vinegar and oil and mix well.  Dough will be thick and a bit sticky and slightly springy feeling.  Let the dough sit for about 5 minutes while you prepare the baking pan.  Line a baking pan or cookie sheet with non-stick foil lightly brushed with olive or coconut oil or parchment paper sprayed or brushed with oil.  Place ball of dough in the center of the pan and begin pressing the dough outward with a lightly oiled rubber spatula (so it doesn't stick) to between 1/4 - 1/2-inches thick.  Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the bread is lightly golden and feels done when pressed near the center.  This will make a 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick "bread".  

When bread is done, remove from oven and let cool for about 10-15 minutes.  Lower oven temperature to 300 degrees F.  Move cooled bread to a cutting board and cut into approximate 1/2-inch cubes; place cubes back on baking sheet and return to a 300 degree oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes or until cubes are dried and crisp.  When bread cubes are thoroughly dry and toasty, remove from oven and let cool completely.  Store in a tightly covered container or Ziploc bag to keep moisture out until ready to use in your favorite stuffing recipe.  Makes approximately 6-7 cups of toasted bread cubes.  Use in your favorite stuffing recipe. 



Unknown said...

This looks great - I can almost smell it - when I make stuffing though I like the consistency of almost being able to "cut it" by adding more liquid/eggs - will these cubes disintegrate if I do? Thanks again for your hard work in the kitchen - saves those of us who are WFGF from experimenting..when we don't have time.....Terry Duncan

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Terry! I think that it would do fine with the addition of eggs and more liquid. I would be careful tossing it around a lot so you don't break it down much. I actually added a little extra broth (maybe 1/4 cup) after 30 minutes. Some like their stuffing drier and crispy -- I bet it would be delicious with eggs and a bit more liquid. Make sure your cubes are dried well -- but since there is almond flour in them...go for the low heat, longer dry method rather than turning the heat up higher so you don't burn them. I think your additions would be great -- let me know how it turns out if you make it! :-)

Lisa said...

I am going to use this recipe for our Thanksgiving stuffing this year--thanks for all of your hard work. Do you think the stuffing would work if I stuffed it inside the turkey to cook?

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

I'm sure it would work in there Lisa -- don't know if you plan to add the cranberries or not, but they are tart (not like the craisins I used to use). I like it -- but if you want to add a little natural sweetness with red color, try using a diced red apple with the skin on instead. I would use these bread cubes the same way you used the traditional ones before. Hope you enjoy it! Thanks! :-)

Lisa said...

Hey GG, I made your stuffing "bread" and then I used the traditional Betty Crocker recipe for our stuffing. I stuffed it into the turkey, and baked it for 4+ hours. It was amazing. Even a grain eater admitted that he couldn't tell that it was not bread. My "Paleo Only, Mom" son, thought it was great (but filling), which I think is a good thing. I used the left over part of the loaf (ended up being three sandwich size pieces) to make left over turkey sandwiches. I dried them out slightly in the oven, and then used them as I would focaccia. It was amazing. Much better than Julian's coconut or almond paleo bread. Thanks again!!! Really, you made my Thanksgiving!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Thanks so much Lisa -- I am so glad you enjoyed it! Thanks again for the kind words -- that just made my day! :-)

Anonymous said...

Can I use something else in place of the 2 cups flax? Is that ground flax or not? Thank you

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Well...first of all, it is ground flax (organic golden which is milder than the brown flax). I have never used a substitute -- but you could try shifting the flax and almond meal amounts a bit -- you could try 1 cup ground golden flax meal and increase the almond flour to a total of 1-3/4 cups instead -- not sure how it would turn out but that is what I would do. Do you not like flax or just not have any? It just seems to give a more "bread-like" texture to baked goods that I have made. If you try making it with less flax, let me know how it turns out. I know some people don't like flax.

CameronShue said...

I would really like to know how to substitute almond flour for flaxseed meal. I was just reading something about the problem with flaxseed elevating estrogen levels. I made the bagel squagels today and I had to add a half cup of almond flour when mixing it all up, since it was too liquid-y. I had reduced the flaxseed to a half cup and increased the almond. Not by enough, I guess. But the end product tasted great!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Cameron -- it is hard to determine the exact amount of almond flour to substitute in place of the flax -- because they are so different. You definitely need more almond flour to compensate for the same amount of flax. Flax thickens with less. You may have to just play around with it to get it the way you like it. Flax makes these more "bread-like". I too have read different reports about flax so I try not to overdo it. Some people don't like using as much almond flour because it is so much higher in calorie as well as the phytic acid they worry about. So, basically I try to balance and not use too much of one or the other. Many people really like coconut flour, but thus far it is not one of my favorite alternative flours. I use it in combination with other flours but so far haven't found or developed a recipe that just uses it exclusively -- and you have to use lots of eggs too when using that flour. Do you use the golden flax when you do use it? I con't care much for the brown flax.