I don’t usually stuff my birds (that’s what she said…wait…what?) but when I do I’ve come up with a super simple, yet tasty stuffing that adds quite a bit to the flavor but doesn’t take forever to make. This takes just seconds and is good for turkey, chicken, or even pheasant or a duck. (Watch out with the duck though because as the fat in the duck renders it creates a stuffing texture like that of the type of food people eat when they have their jaw wired shut)
1 package New York Style Bagel Crisps (Sea Salt flavor)
1/4 cup dry white cooking wine
1 table spoon Italian seasoning
1 garlic clove, crushed or minced fine
1/4 cup water (optional)
You can substitute Melba toast for bagel crisps but I find the bagel crisps have an absolutely outstanding texture once they soak up the fat of the bird. Much better than just regular bread crumbs.
Depending on the bird or how many leftovers you want really guides the volume of the liquids you want to add. When I cook chicken it’s almost exclusively Rock Cornish Game Hen because its cheap, easy to cook, and yields an incredibly juicy breast (that’s what she said…wait…what?) So these instructions are for stuffing a pheasant or game hen.
For a turkey or duck you want to use substantially more so I would say triple the ingredients, but again watch out with the duck.
Take 10-12 bagel crisps from the package and crush them in a bowl with your hands. Add in the white cooking wine and knead the mixture with your hands until you have a moist mixture that still has "chunks" about it. Drop in the Italian seasoning and garlic and mix into the stuffing. If you find things are getting too dry (meaning there still is too much "crunch"), you can add water a bit at a time, but not too much! Stuffing that is too wet going into the bird tends to be too mushy once the roasting is done. Ideally you want something to soak up the tasty bird stock and fat. So ideally we want something very spongy and a little springy to the touch, not pasty and sticky like dough. So you have to walk a fine line with adding moisture and mixing the ingredients. If its too wet, add more bagel crisps.
Now take the cornish hen or pheasant and lay it out on some foil. Next, you gotta stuff that bird! (That’s what she said. yeah I think I got it that time) Just pack the fluffy stuffing into the bird. Don’t worry about tying the legs, the trick with putting it on foil is to wrap it all around the bird such that the legs come together and are bound by the foil to keep the chest cavity closed)
Now roast the bird as normal.
Cornish hens and most Pheasants serve two or so, so the stuffing is just a nice compliment to go with rice or another side dish.
This recipe is designed for times when you want stuffing but want to make it yourself and not go with some over the top spice rich thing like stove top. Nothing against Stove Top or other brand stuffings, but they are a side unto themselves. Real stuffing takes its flavor and character from the juice of the bird.