What's better than really good stuffing? Not much, really. So, in an effort to help out last-minute cooking, SFist asked two of the Bay Area's most esteemed chefs, Thomas Keller of the French Laundry and Sarah Rich of Rich Table, to share with us Thanksgiving dressing recipes. The two (very busy) chefs were kind enough divulge a couple of gems.

First, Rich's stuffing comes her great aunt (who quite possibly has the coolest nickname). "This is my Great Aunt Mary's (we called her AA) recipe that we have made and continue to make every Thanksgiving for as long as anyone can remember,' Rich tells SFist. "It's pretty basic, nothing particularly special about it, but we all love it. It is copied from our family cookbook (yes we have one) that my father put together."

Rich's dressing comes with notes from her father, who has kept a cookbook of family recipes from over the years: "This has been a family tradition for as long as I can remember. Over the years we have tried many different recipes for Thanksgiving dressing including ones with oysters, chestnuts, and other special ingredients, but we keep coming back to this excellent recipe. In part that is because everyone requests it. You may want to double or even triple this recipe so that you will have plenty of dressing for the Friday after Thanksgiving. You may even want to freeze some as it freezes beautifully. My hunch is that there won't be any left to freeze."

Here it is:


5 cups cubed French bread
5 cups crumbled cornbread
½ cup butter
¾ cup minced onion
½ cup minced green pepper
½ cup minced celery
1 cup chicken or turkey stock
½ pound sausage
½ tsp salt (or to taste)
black pepper
½ tsp poultry seasoning (or to taste)
2 eggs, beaten
¾ cup chopped pecans

The day before:
1. Cut the French bread into ½ inch cubes and spread them out to dry overnight. On the day of preparation, place the bread cubes in a 325° oven for 10-15 minutes until they are
thoroughly dry and set aside.2. Crumble the cornbread and spread it out to dry overnight. On the day of preparation, make sure that it is dry or dry in the oven if needed. Set aside.

Day of:
1. In a large skillet, sauté the onion, green pepper, and celery in the butter until tender.
2. Place the bread cubes and crumbled cornbread in a large container. Sprinkle the chicken/turkey stock over the bread mixture and add the sautéed vegetables
3. Using the same skillet, sauté the sausage until brown and finely divided. Set aside.
4. Add the salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, eggs, and chopped pecans to the bread mixture. Then add the sausage and the pan drippings and mix well. Check for and adjust seasoning.
5. Bake in a large greased pan, covered, at 325° for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10-15 minutes until the top is lightly browned.

(A few notes: this recipe says it yields 6-8 servings, also "poultry seasoning” can be substituted by fresh sage and probably a little more salt, also it’s important that the mix not be dry before baking or the dressing will be dry after baking.)


Now for Keller's take. So, if you have to go the gluten-free route, you might as well go with a recipe via Mr. Thomas Keller. The French Laundry chef shared with us a cornbread stuffing that's sans gluten and uses his Cup4Cup flour. (You could possibly use regular flour, too, if you don't want to be all Jenny McCarthy about it.) Behold:

Thomas Keller's Gluten-free Cornbread Stuffing


Yield: 10-12 servings


1 cup cornmeal
1 cup of Cup4Cup flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
½ cup butter, melted and cooled
2/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk

Method of Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Butter a 8"x8" inch pan.

Combine together melted butter and sugar. Add in eggs and whisk. Then mix in buttermilk

In a separate bowl combine flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking soda. Add wet to dry until well blended. Do not over mix. Bake in oven for 30 to 40 min

For Stuffing:

Allow cornbread to cool and cut into 1-2 inch cubes. Lay out on sheet pan and bake at 350 until cubes dry out/toast lightly (*this is so the bread can soak up some of the mixture of the other stuffing additives.)

Sausage + Vegetable Mixture

5-6 TB of unsalted butter, cubed/room temperature
2 large stalks of celery, small dice
1 medium onion, small dice
2 sausages, uncooked
2 large, carrots, small dice
1 ½ TB favorite herbs, finely chopped
(*Our favorites are sage, chives, parsley)
Salt + Pepper to taste
1 cup chicken stock
1 large egg

Method of Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Take sausage out of casing and brown in a large skillet over high heat, (*No added oil)
3. Lower heat to medium, add butter and melt. Add diced carrots, celery and onion to heated skillet until tender and cooked through.
4. Add the chicken stock and make sure to get all the fond from the bottom of the skillet. Heat to boil for 1-2 minutes.
5. In a large bowl, mix together the dried cornbread cubes with the sausage & vegetable mixture and egg.
6. Spoon mixture into a 13” by 9” baking pan, bake for 30-40 minutes until top gets golden brown.


And, finally, because we cannot resist, here is the Bread Pudding with Cambazola the from Tante Marie Cooking School. We make this almost every year for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas. We would be remiss not to share it with you. Christ, it is so good.


3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons butter
2 cups finely chopped onion
1 1/2 pounds mushrooms, sliced (chanterelle, crimini, shitake, oyster, etc.)
2 teaspoons minced fresh marjoram
1/2 cup Madeira wine (fortified red wine; red wine substitution acceptable)
1 1/4 cups beef stock (beef broth substitution acceptable)
1 cup heavy cream or crème fraîche
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
9 ounces Italian country bread (e.g., pugliese) cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 6 cups), dried
9 ounces cambozola cheese (rind trimmed), cut into 1/2-inch pieces


Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, season with salt and pepper and cook until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Remove onions and set aside. In the same pan, heat another tablespoon of butter and add half of the mushroom along with 1/2 teaspoon of the marjoram and a sprinkle of salt. Cook over medium heat until mushrooms are browned and all liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Set aside with onions. Repeat with remaining mushrooms. When the second batch of mushrooms are cooked, combine all mushrooms and onions in skillet. Add Madeira. Cook over, stirring frequently, over medium-high heat until liquid evaporates and mixture is a rich brown, about 5 minutes; cool.

In large bowl, whisk together beef stock, cream, eggs, egg yolks, thyme, and remaining teaspoon of marjoram and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Add bread and mushroom mixture; toss. Let stand for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, to saturate bread. Gently stir in cheese. Pour bread mixture into a baking dish. Bake in 350°F. oven until lightly browned and firm, about 40 to 45 minutes.

Makes 8-10 servings