Dressing up Thanksgiving with savoury stuffing dish

Chef Tim Palmer supplies a DIY stuffing recipe as a welcome addition to any Thanksgiving table.

Chef Tim Palmer serves a DIY stuffing recipe to ‘wow’ dinner table guests

Tim Palmer, head chef at VG Restaurant in the Fairmont prepares a stuffing recipe filled with local ingredients like butter from Notre Dame Creamery produced in Notre Dame de Lourdes, Manitoba. (Lindsay MacKenzie/CBC)

It's a dreary morning in Winnipeg and it seems like fall might actually skip over Manitoba to make way for a rapidly approaching winter.

So to combat this drab weather, we're skipping over to meet with chef Tim Palmer to prepare a delectable DIY stuffing recipe in his kitchen at VG Restaurant located in the heart of downtown Winnipeg. 

Let's get stuffed! The best stuffing recipe you'll ever make

Stuffing can be one of those dishes that unites or divides family dinner tables. But this recipe is one tasty contender to pair with your delicious Thanksgiving bird.

Try it for yourself at home with chef Palmer's DIY signature turkey stuffing recipe.

Et voilà! Once all of the ingredients are mixed, place into an oven-safe dish and bake at 400F for 35 minutes. (Lindsay MacKenzie/CBC)

Chef Palmer's Signature Turkey Stuffing

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Recipe serves twelve.

Clockwise, starting at the top left: celery, bacon, butter, onion, broth, herbs. (Lindsay MacKenzie/CBC)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces.
  • ½ cup butter.
  • 1 cup onion, chopped finely.
  • 1 cup celery, chopped.
  • 5 sprigs of fresh thyme, sage and parsley, chopped roughly.
  • 2 loaves of day-old white bread, torn into small pieces.
  • 1 cup fresh turkey stock (chicken stock substitute allowed).

Directions

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 35 minutes

  1. Place bacon in a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat for five to ten minutes until cooked through but still slightly soft.
  2. Melt butter in the same skillet that the bacon was cooked over medium-high heat and then saute the chopped onion and celery until softened or for about five minutes.
  3. Sprinkle chopped fresh herbs into the mixture and toss.
  4. Add bread pieces to the sauté and make sure it's mixed well so that the fat has covered all the bread
  5. Pour the turkey (or chicken) stock over the bread and toss again.
  6. Place stuffing into a baking dish and bake in the preheated oven until top is crispy or about 25 minutes.

A conversation with Chef Palmer

We just had to ask Chef Palmer to give us all the details about his stuffing recipe.  

So what makes your stuffing DIY?

"Well, it's not Stovetop," says chef Palmer with a chuckle. "Seriously though what makes this recipe great is that you keep things simple and use fresh, local ingredients."

"Some of the best things that mom used to make were perfect because they were simple. Food is all about memories that got instilled when we were young and favourite recipes are about bringing those moments back."

It's just like Grandma Palmer's pot roast,- Chef Tim Palmer, VG Restaurant

"It's just like Grandma Palmer's pot roast," recalled chef Palmer who said that its distinctive smell brings him back to spending time at her house as a young kid.

Chef Tim Palmer from VG Restaurant fries housemade bacon in an iron skillet as step one in preparing stuffing recipe. (Lindsay MacKenzie/CBC)

Now, the bacon in this recipe may not be like mom used to make and that's ok.

VG Restaurant kicks things up a notch from everyday bacon because their's is house made and affectionately prepared with a rub made of brown sugar and honey harvested from the Fairmont's own rooftop apiary.

Grocery store bought bacon will also do the trick.

Fresh herbs are generously sprinkled on the fried stuffing mixture by chef Tim Palmer. (Lindsay MacKenzie/CBC)

Delicious is in the details

Chef Palmer took out a large skillet and fried up his homemade, chopped bacon and then added finely diced celery and onion.

Even the butter is churned out locally by Notre Dame Creamery in Notre Dame de Lourdes, Manitoba where the creamery operates out of its original location, built in 1921.

But what really separates quality stuffing is fresh herbs. Chef Palmer prefers a blend of thyme, parsley and sage. "Other stuffing recipes will call for rosemary, but I think the aroma is a little too strong for stuffing."Once cubed bread is added to the vegetable, bacon and butter medley a good measure of chicken stock is poured over the mixture. The ingredients are expertly tossed in a skillet by a flick of chef's wrists.

All of the stuffing seasoning sizzles in the skillet. Butter added to bacon. Yes! (Lindsay MacKenzie)
Next chef Tim Palmer adds torn up pieces of white bread to the stuffing mixture. (Lindsay MacKenzie/CBC)
Sprinkle a little bit more of the fresh herb mixture on top of the stuffing and serve. (Lindsay MacKenzie/CBC)

Finally, the fried stuffing is spooned into a copper baking dish and delivered to the oven to brown at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 35 minutes.

To stuff or not to stuff

Before breaking out the sample fork, Chef Palmer weighs in on the debate about cooking stuffing in the bird or out.

"Definitely out. You run the risk of overcooking the chicken or turkey because of trying to brown the stuffing."

About the Author

Lindsay MacKenzie

senior communications officer

Lindsay MacKenzie is a marketer, brand loyalty builder, fashion enthusiast and, albeit these days a little more pro than closet, opera singer. At CBC Manitoba, she works hard to connect communities to their public broadcaster with projects such as #CBCTweetUpMB, #CBCatSix, #CBCMBFuture40 and innovative outreaches. All while chasing the ever illusive runner's high.