Stuffing Balls
Yield: 8-10 balls (recipe multiplies easily)
Enjoy this clever, portion-controlled side dish all season long – or form slightly smaller balls and serve as a festive appetizer with cranberry relish or another condiment of choice for dipping.
Ingredients
  • 5 cups (8 ounces) soft white bread, 1/2-inch dice*
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

    Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly greased foil for easy cleanup.

    Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the celery and onion and sauté until soft.

    In a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining ingredients with the celery and onion mixture. Toss to evenly distribute the seasonings and to ensure the bread cubes are evenly coated with the wet ingredients.

    Shape mixture into 8-10 balls. I use a large ice cream scoop, gently packing the bread (yet not mashing too hard) so the balls stick together.  You can also do this with your hands, dampening them with cold water to prevent sticking if necessary.

    Place stuffing balls on the prepared baking sheet. (Prep ahead tip: At this point, the balls may be covered and refrigerated for several hours.)

    Bake for 20 minutes, give or take a few minutes, depending on oven and precise size of the balls, or until set and lightly golden.

Notes

Bread notes:

*I think the crusts enhance the texture of the stuffing balls, so I use them. I often double the recipe, using one (16-ounce) loaf of original Pepperidge Farm white bread. A sturdy, white bread is preferred, as the texture when whole wheat bread is used can be slightly mushy. I have also mixed in odds and ends of leftover hamburger and hot dog rolls.

*My preferred gluten-free bread for this recipe has been Udi’s, but I recently tried Three Bakers with excellent results. As with regular bread, when using gluten-free bread I recommend white over multi-grain varieties.

A few more things:

A delightful accompaniment to a holiday meal, these stuffing balls also complement a variety of poultry and pork dishes quite nicely.

For an appetizer, form smaller stuffing balls, reduce the baking time accordingly, and serve with your favorite cranberry relish or another condiment of choice dipping.

I recently used a scant scoop (of the large ice cream scoop mentioned above) and got a yield of 14 balls that were still a nice portion. In my oven, this size looked nicely golden after about 16 minutes.

Those who enjoy stuffing with a variety of add-ins may wish to incorporate fruits like diced apples, raisins or cranberries or chopped nuts like walnuts or pecans. (Aim for 3/4 cup, adjusting up or down by 1/4 cup according to preference. Note that too many extras could prevent the balls from sticking together.)

I like to keep a 4-pack of 8-ounce chicken broth boxes in my pantry, as they are ideal when recipe calls for a small amount of broth. You could also dissolve a soup base like Better Than Bouillon in warm water.

My husband suggested wrapping a piece of bacon around the sausage balls before baking (or frying or grilling). I think this would taste delicious, but I haven’t tried in order to determine the proper time and temperature to ensure crisp bacon and a properly cooked interior. If anyone is inclined to try, please report back! (Also note that you’d likely need to secure the bacon with a toothpick.)

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