Anne Croy's Stuffing Recipe — and a Story About Growing Up in Oklahoma


  • Photo by Mark Fetty
  • Anne Croy

Our special Winter Flavor issue, which hit the streets last week, contains a plethora of recipes from St. Louis chefs, bakers and bartenders, each of which shared a special holiday recipe inspired by their memories of the day. From Rick Lewis' green bean casserole to Simone Faure's beignets, there's a lot to inspire your holiday cooking. 

But of all the reminiscences we received, we found ourselves most touched by the story below from Anne Croy. The pastry chef at Pastaria and founder of Banner Road Baking Co. isn't just a great baker —- we suspect she'd also be a hell of a memoirist! Below is her recipe for stuffing, as well as the story that inspired it in her own words.

Anne Croy's Stuffing

In the summer of my eleventh year, the local library held a hula hoop contest. For every minute the winner hooped, he or she was allowed that many tattered or torn library books.  I had already secretly made my selections in hopes of winning the contest.  We were rarely allowed to buy books, so I was determined to win. Twenty-one minutes later, I was the last hula girl standing.  The rest is history.

Within those books was Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. To a young girl from a conservative farm family in Oklahoma, the foreword alone set my head spinning.  Not only was the glossary of terms foreign to me, I had few of the chef’s tools.  Then I came upon a short paragraph that has stuck with me over time. “Train yourself to use your hands and fingers; they are wonderful instruments. Train yourself also to handle hot foods; this will save time. Keep your knives sharp. Above all, have a good time.”

And so I set forth on a journey that, in hindsight, was one of the best of my youth. I quickly learned that because we had access to my father’s family farm, we had most of Julia’s ingredients readily available to us, save wine and spirits, truffles and foie gras.  At least my naive mind assumed we had no foie gras. My grandfather had a flock of geese that followed him around the family farm. When I got to the poultry chapter, namely the “Goose” section, I began scheming my Thanksgiving masterpiece.

Fast forward to the holy event.  Papa agreed to butcher two geese (reserving the liver) and dad slipped me a bottle of white wine and port for the preparations. I hadn’t a clue what I was doing, but followed Julia’s recipe implicitly. 

My dad played peacemaker as family anxiety over the absence of a turkey crept skyward. I could hear the doubtful chatter and feared disappointing everyone, so I began repeating to myself, “Above all, have a good time, above all have a good time...”

In the end, the results were good, albeit imperfect. My mom declared the goose “greasy” and my older brothers demanded real StoveTop stuffing next year. When I explained that this is how a great French chef does it, my little brother leaned over to me affectionately and said, “Anne, this is Oklahoma.”   — Anne Croy

2 tart Winesap apples, cut in small chunks
2/3 cup minced prunes
1/4 cup Calvados
12 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 cups finely chopped onion
1/2 cup minced shallot
2 cups finely chopped celery
1 lb. pork sausage
3 cups dry cubed cornbread
3 cups dry cubed light wheat bread
3 cups dry cubed French bread
1 tbsp. fresh thyme
1 tbsp. fresh sage
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
1 1/2 cups turkey stock
1-2 eggs

Place chopped apple and minced prunes in a bowl and toss with Calvados.  Set aside for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.

In large skillet, melt butter and sauté onions, shallot and celery until just tender. Scoop into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

In the same skillet, lightly brown sausage and drain off most of the fat. Place sausage, along with the rest of the ingredients, in the bowl with veggies. Toss to combine.

If you're stuffing the turkey, this can be done now. If you're cooking stuffing outside of bird, moisten mixture with enough stock and egg to coat but not drown. Place in buttered casserole dish and bake in water bath at 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until just golden.

This is enough stuffing for a 20 lb. turkey or 12-14 portions. Good in all 50 states!

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