This traditional Greek turkey stuffing with sausage, chestnuts, dates, prunes, and pine nuts has a wholesome, delicious flavor you can't have enough of.
This Greek turkey stuffing is probably the only reason for me to make a turkey for Thanksgiving. When I was growing up and the holidays were around the corner, I would make sure we would roast a turkey for Christmas, and it would be stuffed with this heavenly recipe. (Greeks don't celebrate Thanksgiving.)
It is the first leftover to quickly run out in our house, probably by noon the day after. 🙂
How to make this turkey stuffing
This traditional Greek turkey stuffing has a filling of 2 different kinds of ground meat. Usually, an equal amount of ground beef and pork are used. I chose to substitute the pork with ground sausage for its robust flavor. Chestnuts, dates, prunes, and pine nuts are added, and a small amount of rice. There is a turkey baste that I like to use on the turkey with this stuffing. It is made with orange and lemon juice, butter, and broth. It is infused with fresh herbs such as rosemary, sage, and thyme.
Greek turkey stuffing ingredients
- Ground sausage
- Ground beef
- Pine nuts
- Broth (chicken or vegetable)
- Fresh sage leaves
- Sea salt & freshly ground pepper
Turkey baste ingredients
- Broth (chicken or vegetable)
- Orange juice
- Lemon juice
- Fresh herb sprigs like rosemary thyme & sage
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Tips & substitutions
- Stuff the turkey just after you’ve cooked the stuffing, and it’s still hot. It will take less time for the stuffing to reach a high temperature. Please don’t make the stuffing ahead of time and refrigerate it.
- Don’t overstuff. A loosely stuffed bird will heat more quickly. Cook the leftover stuffing and mix the two in the serving dish. Add a couple of tablespoons of the turkey baste as well as some extra broth as it cooks.
- Baste the turkey often. It is labor-intensive, but this way, you will make sure that there is enough moisture to cook the rice in the stuffing fully. I have had instances where the rice comes out uncooked, although everything else is perfect. My conclusion was that there was not enough moisture while cooking. Now I baste with plenty of liquid every 15 minutes.
- I prefer using white rice for this stuffing. I don't recommend using brown rice, wild rice, or any similar kind that has a long cooking time. But if you are making your stuffing on the stovetop, feel free to use the rice you like the most. Cooking on the stovetop gives you control over when the rice is fully cooked.
Stuffing cooked inside the turkey is really delicious, but it does slow down the cooking time. I can also be a potential health hazard if done incorrectly. If you are worried you won't get it right, cook your stuffing on the stovetop. Instead of stuffing the turkey, sauté everything, then cover and let it simmer. Add a little stock every once in a while; you need to have enough liquid for the rice to cook.
Yes, absolutely, you should. This recipe is only for the stuffing. Prepare your turkey as you prefer with a dry rub or brine and cook it according to your favorite settings and method. Use the suggested turkey baste while the bird is in the oven or the baste recipe of your preference.
No. All ground meat should be browned before placed inside the turkey.
No! Leaving the stuffing inside the turkey overnight can make bacteria grow. You definitely don't want that! Place your stuffing inside the turkey right before roasting.
You can also try
- This sweet potato gratin will be a real hit at your Thanksgiving table.
- The cinnamon roasted chicken fills the house with a thanksgiving scent.
- This squash galette with goat cheese & prosciutto is a perfect appetizer.
Check all the pantry items a Greek kitchen wouldn’t go without.
If you’ve tried this recipe or any other on The Greek Foodie, then don’t forget to rate it and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it.
Greek Turkey Stuffing
- A large saute pan.
This stuffing is good for a 15-20 lbs turkey.
- 1 lb ground sausage
- 1 lb ground beef
- 6 tbsp butter
- 1 red onion diced
- ½ cup rice
- 1 cup boiled chestnuts halved
- ½ cup raisins
- 5-6 dates diced
- 5-6 prunes diced
- ½ cup pine nuts
- 2-3 cloves
- ½ cup broth chicken or veg
for the turkey baste
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 6 tbsp butter melted
- 3 oranges juiced
- 3 lemons juiced
- 1 rosemary sprig
- 1 thyme sprig
- 1 sage sprig
- sea salt
- freshly ground pepper
- In a large pot add the butter. In medium heat, sauté the onion until soft and fragrant. Add the ground beef and sausage. Break with a spoon any large pieces. Brown ground meat all over, 3-4 min.
- Add the rice. Stir well. Sauté mixture for 1-2 min. Add ½ cup broth, the raisins, chestnuts, dates, prunes, cloves and the pine nuts. Stir mixture well gently. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper. Remove from heat.
Prepare the turkey baste.
- Mix orange and lemon juice with the chicken broth. Add the melted butter. Season with a pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper. Stick the rosemary, thyme and sage sprigs in the baste to infuse it while you cook the turkey. Keep it in a warm surface.
Stuff the turkey and roast
- Spoon your stuffing into the neck cavity, very loosely. Fold neck skin over opening.
- Stuff the large cavity of the turkey loosely, stuffing will expand as it cooks.
- Lightly baste the turkey every 15 minutes after the first hour of cooking. Apply the baste warm to the turkey. Stop basting during the last 30 minutes of cook time.
- When turkey is ready, empty the stuffing in a serving bowl and serve. Enjoy!