Ok, so we all know how much I love Elizabeth Barbone’s cookbook Easy Gluten Free Baking. Well, this Thanksgiving (I know, I know…it’s far past Thanksgiving)…I fell in love with it even more.
Every year for as long as I can remember, Ritz Cracker Stuffing was our family’s stuffing of choice. In fact, we love it so much so that we make at least three to four trays of it (one per family member) and freeze the leftovers to eat over the following months. For the last few years I’ve been eating a small portion of it at Thanksgiving so as not to miss out, but this year I didn’t have to!
With the help of Elizabeth’s book, I made my own gluten-free ritz crackers to put in our stuffing. I started by making a test recipe a few days before. Making the dough was simple (like preparing cut-out cookies), but rolling them out proved difficult. The dough was sticky, and the white rice flour I sprinkled didn’t have the same consistency as regular flour, so I had to use a lot of it. I found a small round jar cover to cut the crackers out to look like actual ritz crackers. It was a long process, but the result was absolutely delicious and perfect for our stuffing.
On the second go (also known as “The Three Days of Ritz Cracker Baking”), I made six batches of ritz crackers…with a few tweaks. Since we break up the crackers for the stuffing anyhow, I didn’t bother to cut the crackers into perfect circles. I pricked the flattened dough out with a fork and used a knife to cut lines across the dough to look like a grid. I broke off all the pieces and placed them on a baking sheet. I decided this time use cooking spray instead of butter to decrease the amount of fat and baked them slightly longer for a crispier taste. The end result?
Serves 8 to 10
1/2 cup chicken fat or vegetable oil
5 medium-large yellow onions (not Spanish), cut in 1/4-inch dice (about 7 cups diced onion)
1 1-pound box (4 sleeves) Ritz crackers, crumbled as per directions below
3 outside ribs celery, cut in 1/4-inch dice (about 1 1/2 cups diced celery)
1/4 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
1 14-ounce can chicken broth (about 1 1/3 cups)
4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, warm the chicken fat or oil then fry the onions, stirring frequently, until they are very brown, at least 20 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium after the onions have wilted and become golden.
Meanwhile, crush the Ritz crackers in your hands so the largest pieces are no bigger than a nickel.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the browned onions, the crushed crackers, and the diced celery. Toss well. In a small bowl, beat the eggs to mix well, then beat in the pepper and 1/2 cup of the chicken broth. Pour the mixture over the cracker mixture and mix very well again.
Pack stuffing into a 2-quart casserole or soufflé dish – not too tightly. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 1 1/2 hours.
If baking along with a turkey, baste three times, every 20 minutes, with turkey drippings and juices. If baking without a bird, melt the butter in the remaining chicken broth and baste with that