Gluten-free Stuffing with Green Onions, Celery and Bacon

This savory, gluten-free stuffing is seasoned with thick-cut bacon, fresh sage, thyme, green onions and celery, then moistened with turkey or chicken broth. You can also make it with mushrooms if you tolerate them, but it’s equally delicious either way. It’s the perfect side for a holiday dinner, or make a pan and freeze portions to serve with a weeknight chicken dinner. The original recipe used leeks, but the tops of green onions substitute perfectly, making it suitable for a low FODMAP diet. This recipe works well with a big dinner because you can make it the day before and assemble it just before baking.

I started making this stuffing 14 years ago, but stopped when I went gluten-free because it needs a sturdy loaf of bread that doesn’t crumble or turn to mush. I had a lot of bread left over from developing my new gluten-free rustic artisan bread so I cut it up and experimented with my old stuffing recipe. It works like a charm and tastes just as good as the original, so homemade stuffing is happening at my house again! If you don’t want to make a fresh loaf just for this recipe, cube and freeze any bread that doesn’t get eaten within 2 days of baking. Each loaf is equal to 12 cups of 1/2 inch (13 mm) cubed bread.

Gluten-free Stuffing with Green Onions, Celery and Bacon

Serves 12

1 loaf Gluten-free Rustic Artisan Bread, cut into 1/2 inch (13 mm) cubes
12 slices thick cut bacon
5 cups (1200 ml) chopped green onions, green part only, about 6 bunches
4 cups (960 ml) chopped celery
1 1/2  to 2 tablespoons (22.5 to 30 ml) finely minced fresh sage, to taste
3/4  to 1 teaspoon (3.75 to 5 ml) dried thyme, to taste
3/4 teaspoon (3.75 ml) salt
1/4  teaspoon, rounded, (2 ml) black pepper
3 large eggs
2 1/2 cups (600 ml) turkey or chicken broth, may use part turkey pan drippings
2 1/4 teaspoons (11.25 ml) baking soda

If you are not sensitive to polyols you can substitute this vegetable combination:

3/4 pound (340 grams) of sliced mushrooms
4 cups (950 ml) chopped green onions, green part only
3 cups (700 ml) chopped celery

Heat oven to 325° F (160° C) and divide the bread between 2 rimmed cookie sheets, spreading it evenly. Bake until dry, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Watch carefully, as the amount of time will depend on how dry the bread was to begin with. Don’t let the bread get brown. Transfer to a large bowl. This can be done ahead of time and the bread cubes frozen until needed.

Use kitchen shears to cut the bacon into 1/4 inch (6 mm) pieces and put them into a large pan. Sauté the bacon until crisp, stir frequently. Drain the bacon on paper towels. Pour off the bacon drippings and return 1/4 cup (60 ml) to the pan. Add the green onions, celery, sage, thyme, salt and pepper. Turn the heat to medium-high and sauté until the celery is tender, about 10 minutes. Add the vegetables to the bread cubes and stir until evenly mixed. Transfer to a large zip lock bag and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.

Heat the oven to 350° F (175° C). Butter a 13 x 10 x 2 1/2 inch (33 x 280 x 6.4 cm) casserole dish. If you don’t have one this size, use a 13 x 9 x 2 inch (33 x 22 x 5 cm) glass baking pan and put the extra stuffing in a smaller dish. Beat the broth, eggs and baking powder together and mix into the stuffing. If you prefer a very soft stuffing, let it sit for 20 minutes to soak up the broth, occasionally stirring. If you skip this step the bread will have a firmer texture, closer to what it was on the day it was baked, but the bread cubes on top may be on the dry side. Transfer to the baking dish, cover tightly with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake another 10 to 15 minutes. If the bread cubes in the top layer are dry, drizzle some pan drippings over the top to moisten them. Don’t add too much or the rest of the stuffing will be too wet. Or, stir the top layer into the stuffing and let it sit until time to serve so that the crunchy bread softens.