I make the same stuffing every year and it's become a crowd favorite even among the haters in my family

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I am obsessed with this stuffing recipe, and you could be, too.Rachel Askinasi/Insider
  • I never used to love stuffing. Then I started using this recipe and it changed everything.

  • Now, this buttery, custardy dish with celery and leeks is my favorite dish of the holiday.

  • I make it every year and it's always a hit.

I was never a big stuffing fan, but thanks to this one recipe, it's now my absolute favorite thing on my Thanksgiving table.

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This stuffing is the highlight of my Thanksgiving meal.Rachel Askinasi/Insider

Thanksgiving food is 50/50 for me in terms of dishes I love. I'm always team mashed potatoes and I'm big on cranberry sauce, but I'm not a huge fan of turkey and I rarely take part in creamy vegetables.

Stuffing was never in my top picks for food on this holiday, but then I watched a video from The New York Times Cooking featuring recipes from then-columnist Alison Roman, tried her recipe out for myself, and immediately fell in love.

I love it on its own, topped with tangy cranberry sauce or another citrusy condiment, or even baked as leftovers with a runny egg and hot sauce on top.

This dish is a bit laborious, but in my opinion, it's worth it every time.

The recipe calls for 15 ingredients including salt and pepper.

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Ingredients for my favorite Thanksgiving stuffing.Rachel Askinasi/Insider

The New York Times recipe lists a large loaf of bread, olive oil, unsalted butter, garlic, leeks, celery, dry white wine, low-sodium broth, eggs, parsley, chives, and either marjoram, oregano, or thyme. There's also kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper involved, as well as optional red-pepper flakes (which I personally leave out).

My annual stuffing venture starts with a fresh, crusty loaf of sourdough bread that I tear up a day before I'm ready to cook.

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I tear the bread and let it get stale overnight.Rachel Askinasi/Insider

The idea here is to leave the bread pieces out for 12-24 hours (I usually leave it overnight closer to the 24-hour mark), letting the bread get stale so that it holds some of its texture when combined with the wet ingredients.

However, if you wait for the bread to get stale before you tear it, it's going to require a lot more muscle, and you'll probably hurt your hands trying to rip the loaf apart.

I follow the recipe and create uneven pieces ranging from bite-sized to slightly larger (or 1 ½ to 2 inches as per the instructions).

I don't do any of the other steps until the next day when it's time to start cooking.

When I'm ready to make the stuffing, I start on the veggie mixture.

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Cooking the leeks and celery is an important step.Rachel Askinasi/Insider

First, I combine ¼ cup of olive oil with 4 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the butter melts completely, I add the two chopped leeks and six cloves of garlic sliced, and season with salt and pepper.

Cook time will depend on your pan and stove (I've made this using both gas and electric cooktops and it's affected the timing a bit), but I take my cues from the food and let it go until the leeks are bright green and completely soft. That's when it's time to add the six thinly sliced celery stalks and season again.

Once the celery is bright green and tender, I add the ½ cup of dry white wine and continue to cook until that liquid is mostly reduced — then it's time to cut off the heat. The aroma of the wine and the garlic will surely fill your kitchen in a soul-warming way.

Then, it's time to start combining.

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Everything goes into a bowl and gets tossed together.Rachel Askinasi/Insider

I top the stale bread pieces with the leek and celery concoction in a very large bowl and toss it all together gently with ½ cup of finely chopped parsley, ¼ cup of finely chopped chives, and 2 tablespoons of finely chopped thyme.

Once everything is evenly distributed, I add the liquid ingredients.

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The egg and broth mixture gives the stuffing a custardy texture.Rachel Askinasi/Insider

After whisking the three large eggs and 2 ½ cups of broth together in a smaller bowl, I pour it over the bread and toss again to combine. You'll probably have to repeat this a few times until all of the liquid is absorbed.

If you're not used to getting dirty in the kitchen, you might be inclined to use a spoon here. But I recommend showing this dish some love and gently using your hands for this.

Use a baking dish of your choosing to finish up this recipe.

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Make sure to liberally apply butter chunks to the top of the stuffing before baking.Rachel Askinasi/Insider

The recipe suggests a 2 ½ to 3-quart baking dish or a 9-by-13-inch pan.

If you want your finished product to have more crunchy bits than soft bits, go with a more shallow baking vessel. But if you like the custardy goodness and want more of that, choose something with more depth and less surface area. If you ask me, this is really up to you and your preferences.

Then, scatter the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter around the top of the dish. The recipe says to make sure you "pay extra attention to the corners, where the stuffing will get the crispiest." I definitely heed that advice.

After two trips to the oven, the stuffing is done and ready to be the star of your table.

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I would eat this any day of the year.Rachel Askinasi/Insider

The first bake takes between 25 and 30 minutes in a 375-degree Fahrenheit oven. Following the recipe, you'll cover the stuffing with foil for this first part. If you take it out when your timer goes off and the top is sizzling, you're doing it right.

Sometimes I'll make this on Thanksgiving day in the kitchen where my family is gathering. If that's the case, and we're almost ready to eat, I'll remove the foil, increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees, and put it right back in for another 20 to 25 minutes.

Other times, I'll prep this dish at home and bring it with me to wherever my family is gathering. In that case, I'll pause after the first bake and save the second one for right before we're ready to eat.

Either way, once that top becomes golden brown and crunchy, I know I have a crowd-pleaser on my hands. I've never loved stuffing, and my brother is similarly not a fan, but this recipe has us both getting up for seconds, stashing leftovers, and, best of all, has him requesting it year after year.

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