Sharing My 150-Year-Old Family Recipe
Everyone has their own family traditions, like playing football or gathering around to enjoy classic movies. But my family has a tradition that dates back to when my great-grandmother first immigrated to America. My family’s world- famous turkey stuffing recipe has been in the family for well over 150 years. Everyone loves it, so to show my appreciation this Thanksgiving, I want to share it with you! The recipe originates with Bridget Connelley, who came to this country from Ireland in 1883 and married my great-grandfather William Walsh. He was from County Galway, became a policeman in Chicago, and is in the book “Irish Minstrels and Musicians” as a bagpiper — can’t get more Irish than that! The recipe was handed down to my grandmother, Nora Walsh Firth, then to my mother, Cicely Firth Childers, who then passed it down to me. The primary ingredients are sausage, bread crumbs, onions, and sage. The process starts with a store-bought bag of stuffing, and the key is to moisten it with 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock. If you prefer a substitute for chicken stock, use water with a healthy mix of poultry seasoning instead. Take one medium-large onion, finely chop it up, and mix it with two tablespoons of rubbed sage. Afterward, add it to the stuffing
“But my family has a tradition that dates back to when my great grandmother first immigrated to America. My family’s world-famous turkey stuffing recipe has been in the family for well over 150 years.”
with one pound of raw pork sausage and salt and pepper to taste. If you’re looking for a low-fat brand of sausage, I recommend Jimmy Dean, as it’s lower in fat in comparison to other brands. Remove the giblets from the turkey’s cavity and place the stuffing into the turkey. I suggest a Butterball turkey to avoid having to brine the turkey. It may be a little more expensive, but it’s well worth it. You will need to cook the turkey for 3–4 hours at 325 degrees F per instructions on the cooking label. During the cooking process, the fat soaks into the meat, making it that much more tender. If you want a modern twist, use an inverted “v” rack that sets the turkey upside down in the roasting pan. After an hour and a half, turn it right-side up. This is a trick that I recently learned!
If you don’t want to stuff the turkey, prepare the stuffing, put it in a covered casserole dish, and cook it for 45–60 minutes. It’s important to keep an eye on the dish and use a thermometer to ensure the sausage cooks to 140 degrees F. This family recipe is by far my favorite part of Thanksgiving and is even excellent on cold turkey sandwiches the next day! I will be joined by my two sons this Thanksgiving, and they look forward to the stuffing every year. When they’re ready, I will pass on the recipe to them as my mother did for me, and as I’m doing with you. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, everyone.
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