As cookbook author Melissa Clark says, “Thanksgiving is just one big excuse to eat lots of stuffing.” For me, stuffing is simply a better way to experience the practice of dunking a piece of bread into a bowl of chicken soup. You get more doughy bready goodness, less of a mess, and in my experience, tons more flavor.
Such is the principal behind the following recipe.
This challah and pastrami stuffing is slightly inspired by one memorable midnight trip to Katz’s Deli where I sat happy as a clam and drunk as a sorority girl, dunking my pastrami sandwich into my friend’s matzo ball soup and making a massive and delicious mess. If only I just had a bowl of this stuffing, there might have been one less sloppy drunk girl on the Lower East Side that night.
The pastrami in this recipe is balanced by the sweetness of honey and dried currants. It is truly a delicious mix of flavors, and I hope it will give you something to be thankful for.
Challah and Pastrami Stuffing
1 loaf of plain challah, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (since it will be toasted, it does not need to be stale, however it’s best to stay away from the super moist brands of challah, like Zomick’s.)
1 medium onion, chopped
4 stalks of celery, chopped
1/2 cup margarine, divided
2 pinches of salt
1 pound pastrami (thickly sliced and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces)
1/2 cup dried currants
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
a pinch of ground cloves
a pinch of ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1) Spread out challah cubes on a baking sheet and bake in an oven set to 200 degrees for 45 minutes, so that bread dries out, flipping once halfway through. Once they’re finished, remove the baking tray or trays and turn up the temperature of the oven to 375.
2) In a large pan set over medium heat, cook the onions and celery in 1/4 cup of margarine and 2 pinches of salt for about 5 minutes, until soft. Stir in the pastrami and dried currants and let cook for 5 minutes, while you prepare the broth mixture.
3) To prepare the broth mixture, whisk together the chicken broth (room temperature), eggs, honey, and spices in a medium-sized bowl.
4) In a greased 9 x 13 casserole dish, gently combine the bread cubes and onion/pastrami mix. Fold in the broth mixture and parsley to coat the cubes evenly. Melt the remaining 1/4 cup margarine and pour evenly over the top.
5) Bake for 40 minutes.