Deep-Fried Stuffing: Our Thanksgiving Tailgate Masterpiece On TV This Week

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Nov 14, 2012

They say that necessity is the mother of invention – and it was necessity that led to the invention of my Thanksgiving masterpiece, deep-fried stuffing.

I host a Thanksgiving tailgate for friends each year before a Patriots game at Gillette Stadium: a complete Thanksgiving dinner, from turkey to homemade cranberry sauce, cooked in the parking lot.

One year we didn’t have enough charcoal to cook the stuffing, wrapped in foil, on the grill.

Didn’t want to ruin the party, so I quietly unwrapped the foil, rolled the stuffing into balls, and tossed them in the deep fryer, as if it were part of the plan all along. 

Ka-bam! It was an instant hit.

In fact, deep-fried stuffing is one of the centerpieces of my TV special, “A Thanksgiving Tailgate,” which was a big hit when it debuted last year, with my pal Kelly Malone as co-host.

You can watch a "A Thanksgiving Tailgate" again this year: it will be on New England Cable News and broadcast across the entire six-state region Saturday, Nov. 17 at 11 a.m. and again on Thanksgiving day, Thursday, Nov. 22 at 10 a.m.

The TV special not only shows you how to cook a complete Thanksgiving dinner in the parking lot, it includes plenty of New England football and holiday history, legend and lore. We wrote about New England's ancient football history here this season.

Thanksgiving Tailgate Deep-Fried Stuffing

1 stick butter

3 10½-oz. cans Campbell’s beef consommé

1 c. onion, finely chopped

1 c. celery, finely chopped

¾ c. marinated green olives, chopped

2 T. Worcestershire sauce

1½  c. beer or white wine

1 T. thyme

1 T. sage

1 T. celery salt

½ T. dried minced onion

Few shakes of Tabasco

2 14-ounce bags of dried stuffing mix

Heat consommé on stove top and melt butter in it. Do not boil. Put onion, celery, olives, Worcestershire sauce, beer or wine, thyme, sage, celery salt, minced onion and Tabasco in a small bowl and mix well. Let sit for about 20 minutes. Crush dried stuffing mixture in the bags by hand to break up all the large pieces into fine pieces, being careful not to blow open the bag.

Pour dried stuffing into a large mixing bowl. Add the onion-beer-and-herb mixture and blend by hand. Pour hot beef consommé into a large, deep sauce pan. Add the moistened stuffing mixture to the beef consommé and mix until well incorporated. Mixture should be very moist, but not so wet that it can’t be formed into balls. Add hot water or some more hot beef consommé if the mixture is not moist enough. Roll mixture into balls of about 2-inches in diameter. Fry in 350-degree oil, about 3 minutes, until nice and brown on the outside. Makes about 20 deep-fried stuffing balls.

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