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Use a cast-iron skillet to create crispy Thanksgiving stuffing

Ibis Bakery’s Cast-Iron Skillet Dressing by Chris Matsch.
Ibis Bakery’s Cast-Iron Skillet Dressing by Chris Matsch. Kansas City Star

This recipe comes from Chris Matsch, co-owner of Ibis Bakery in Lenexa, Kan., knows artisan bread, but the owner/baker had never tried his hand at stuffing.

“I don’t even eat it, so I was a little out of my element,” he says. “My big thing is mashed potatoes and gravy. But I like the concept of building layers when I’m cooking. And I really like my cast-iron skillet, so I just started with a mirepoix (roughly chopped vegetables) and built it from there.”

Ibis Bakery’s cast-iron skillet stuffing

Makes 12 to 16 servings

1 large loaf bread

2/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, plus more to garnish

3 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup unsalted butter, divided

2 medium yellow onions, roughly chopped

1 medium carrot, roughly chopped

4 large celery stalks, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons sage, roughly chopped

3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1 pound ground pork sausage

3/4 cup chardonnay or other dry white wine, divided

2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

1 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste

4 large egg yolks

2 cups turkey stock or unsalted chicken stock, plus more if needed (up to 1/2 cup)

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (optional)

The day before: Tear apart bread into approximately 1/2-inch pieces and let dry overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown.

Day of: Place bread, walnuts and thyme in a very large mixing bowl; stir ingredients to combine and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a seasoned 13-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Once butter is melted, add onion, carrot, celery, sage and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent, 8 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid burning.

Add pork sausage to skillet and cook until browned, 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. It is OK for brown pieces to stick to bottom of skillet. Pour 1/4 cup wine into skillet and scrape bottom of skillet to deglaze. Cook until wine has completely evaporated. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Scrape skillet mixture into mixing bowl with bread and nuts and mix well. Immediately place skillet back on medium heat. Pour in remaining 1/2 cup wine and scrape bottom of skillet to deglaze. Cook until wine is nearly evaporated, stirring frequently to avoid any sticking.

Turn heat down to medium-low and place remaining 1/2 cup butter in skillet until completely melted, stirring frequently. Once butter is melted, pour skillet liquid over bread mixture, tossing bread mixture well to ensure even coating. Let mixture cool for a few minutes.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks together with 2 cups stock. Pour over bread mixture and toss well to ensure even coating, adding more stock if needed as bread soaks up liquid. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.

Lightly coat skillet with butter and place dressing mix back in it. Lightly coat a piece of aluminum foil with butter or oil and tightly seal top of skillet. Place skillet into oven and bake 28 to 35 minutes, until hot in center of dressing (thermometer should read 150 degrees).

Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees and remove foil from top of skillet. Grate fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese over the top of dressing and continue to bake until top is thoroughly browned, 20 to 30 minutes.

Garnish with fresh thyme and serve once slightly cooled, 15 to 20 minutes.

Per serving, based on 12: 409 calories (72 percent from fat), 33 g total fat (13 g saturated), 125 mg cholesterol, 17 g carbohydrates, 12 g protein, 768 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber.

Ibis Bakery’s cast-iron skillet stuffing

Makes 12 to 16 servings

1 large loaf bread

2/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, plus more to garnish

3 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup unsalted butter, divided

2 medium yellow onions, roughly chopped

1 medium carrot, roughly chopped

4 large celery stalks, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons sage, roughly chopped

3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1 pound ground pork sausage

3/4 cup chardonnay or other dry white wine, divided

2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

1 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste

4 large egg yolks

2 cups turkey stock or unsalted chicken stock, plus more if needed (up to 1/2 cup)

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (optional)

The day before: Tear apart bread into approximately 1/2-inch pieces and let dry overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown.

Day of: Place bread, walnuts and thyme in a very large mixing bowl; stir ingredients to combine and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a seasoned 13-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Once butter is melted, add onion, carrot, celery, sage and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent, 8 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid burning.

Add pork sausage to skillet and cook until browned, 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. It is OK for brown pieces to stick to bottom of skillet. Pour 1/4 cup wine into skillet and scrape bottom of skillet to deglaze. Cook until wine has completely evaporated. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Scrape skillet mixture into mixing bowl with bread and nuts and mix well. Immediately place skillet back on medium heat. Pour in remaining 1/2 cup wine and scrape bottom of skillet to deglaze. Cook until wine is nearly evaporated, stirring frequently to avoid any sticking.

Turn heat down to medium-low and place remaining 1/2 cup butter in skillet until completely melted, stirring frequently. Once butter is melted, pour skillet liquid over bread mixture, tossing bread mixture well to ensure even coating. Let mixture cool for a few minutes.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks together with 2 cups stock. Pour over bread mixture and toss well to ensure even coating, adding more stock if needed as bread soaks up liquid. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.

Lightly coat skillet with butter and place dressing mix back in it. Lightly coat a piece of aluminum foil with butter or oil and tightly seal top of skillet. Place skillet into oven and bake 28 to 35 minutes, until hot in center of dressing (thermometer should read 150 degrees).

Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees and remove foil from top of skillet. Grate fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese over the top of dressing and continue to bake until top is thoroughly browned, 20 to 30 minutes.

Garnish with fresh thyme and serve once slightly cooled, 15 to 20 minutes.

Per serving, based on 12: 409 calories (72 percent from fat), 33 g total fat (13 g saturated), 125 mg cholesterol, 17 g carbohydrates, 12 g protein, 768 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber.

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