Saturday, November 28, 2009

French-Fried Blog Post: French Fry Stuffing

Turkey image

Thor's Turkey Recipe

"We get the turkey from whole foods. We all get it together. Stuff the turkey with French fries. We cook it in the oven at 100 degrees. We cook for an hour. Then we put mashed potatoes on the side before we serve it. We serve it on plates. We make it look like a turkey leg. It smells like a turkey. My grandma and grandpa, my mom and my dad and me eat it. We serve it with tater tots and mash potatoes. We wil have the party at my house. I will have a Sherly temple for me and martinis for grandma and grandpa."

So goes my son's story as told to a 5th grader and pasted onto a construction paper turkey's fan. While we didn't get to see the tail on the tale until the Friday before Thanksgiving, I had been given some advance warning about it when Thor began quizzing me on turkey prep.

"So we get our turkey from Whole Foods?"

"No Thor, we buy it directly from a local farmer."

"We bake it at 100 . . . "

"Well, not exactly."

"for an hour?"

"Certainly, not at 100 degrees."

[Cue frustration, curling brow] "But we'll have tater tots, right?"

"Uh, no." [Cue curled brow for me as I try to remember the last tater tot he ate with me].

[More frustration exhibited and a slightly mobile lower lip] "But, but, but, we do stuff it with french fries."

Of course, the answer was no, but unlike the other questions, there was no logical reason why this one should be answered in the negative.

And thus, the inspiration for this year's true Thanksgiving innovation in our household: French Fry Stuffing.

Obviously, you have to start with French fries. While the French may not have invented the fry, they seemed to have perfected them or at least had the best PR about their fried potato cylinders. Given that, there was no better place to turn to for a recipe than a bistro cookbook: Balthazar Cookbook being my favorite.

French Fries

3 medium russet or yukon gold potatoes, peeled
1 quart canola oil
fine sea salt

Slice, by hand or on a mandoline, the potatoes into 1/4-inch strips about 4-6 inches long. As you slice the potatoes, add the strips to a container of cold water. Refrigerate for 12 hours.


Drain the potatoes on clean dish towels for about 20 minutes.


Heat the oil in a large heavy pot to 370 degrees. Add half of the potatoes. The oil will bubble up furiously and drop to about 280 degrees. Cook for 3 minutes. You don't want the potatoes to color. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on crumpled paper towels. Repeat with remaining fries. Increase the heat to 380 degrees. Add half the fries and cook for 3 more minutes until browned and crisp. Remove, drain, repeat, salt. Reserve 2/3 of the fries for stuffing.


Of course, there's no need for all this labor above (I'm just silly sometimes). Get an extra order on the side from your favorite hamburger joint, just don't tell me if they're from McDonald's.

French Fry Stuffing

1 tablespoon canola oil
2 Polish sausage links, quartered
2 medium onions, cut into small dice
¾ cup celery, cut into small dice
4 cups peasant style bread, cubed
Leftover fries, slightly smashed
2 teaspoons sage, minced
1 teaspoon celery leaves, minced
1 teaspoon thyme, minced
¼ teaspoon parsley, minced
2 cups turkey stock


Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add the sausage and cook until lightly browned. Stir in the onions and celery and cook until softened and just slightly golden. Combine the onions, celery, and sausage with the bread, leftover fries, and herbs. Salt and pepper to taste. Scrape the mixture into a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Ladle the stock over the stuffing. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.


The accurate parts of Thor's story? We did serve mashed potatoes (not in the shape of a turkey leg) and Grandma and Grandpa drank martinis.

Potatoes from Nichols (IL)
Polish sausage from Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm (IL)
Onions and thyme from Genesis Growers (IL)
Sage from my garden
Celery from Iron Creek (IL)
Turkey stock from turkey from TJ's Poultry (IL)


  1. This is an interesting stuffing recipe! It sounds delicious!

  2. This is awesome.

    I'd never heard of this before. I'm bookmarking this post for future reference.

  3. Cutest Thanksgiving story I've read. I love that you capitulated to him on the french fry stuffing part and made it work. Fantastic.

  4. Jen,

    I think respecting a kid's creativity is so important when trying to raise a healthy eater. I was just looking at some notes for a speech that I gave last year where I talk about healthy eating being a partnership between parent and child. Involving them in the cooking and the decision making and explaining the ethics about what they eat starting from the time that they express an interest goes a long way to building that partnership.

    Thanks so much for visiting and please do stop back!


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