What would Thanksgiving be without potato filling? In Pennsylvania’s Americana Region, this yummy dish graces many a Thanksgiving table, and for that I am grateful. Of course I like the standard fare - turkey, sweet potatoes, assorted vegetables, and pies, but it is this PA Dutch dish that makes my Thanksgiving table complete.
It was only in my freshman year in college that I learned potato filling was not part of everyone’s holiday spread. I described to my friends how bread cubes, parsley, celery, and other ingredients are added to mashed potatoes, then baked until a golden crust forms on top. I could only hope my description of potato filling did it justice.
Now, as a mother, I am happy to say my family enjoys potato filling as much as I do. If you've never tasted the simple but delicious PA Dutch treat, try this recipe from Tonya Clifford, manager of Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking & Living. There are lots of other recipes on the internet too. Give potato filling a try and perhaps someday it will become part of your Thanksgiving feast too.
Potato Filling 4 cups of dried cubed bread of any variety 7 medium potatoes peeled and quartered ½ cup milk 2 eggs beaten ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley 1 tsp salt ½ tsp freshly ground pepper 10 tbsp butter 2 onions finely chopped 3 celery stalks thinly sliced ½ tsp poultry seasoning
Preheat oven to 300°. Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes stirring once or twice until browned. Remove from the oven and set aside. Raise the oven temperature to 350°. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan with enough salted water to cover them by one inch. Bring to a boil and cook, covered, until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain potatoes and mash coarsely. Add the milk, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper and beat until smooth. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot add the onions and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and lightly browned. Using a slotted spoon, remove the vegetable and add them to the mashed potatoes mixture. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in the skillet over medium heat. When hot add bread cubes and toss until well coated. Add the bread cubes to the mashed potatoes and stir gently until well mixed. Turn into a buttered 2 ½ or 3 qt casserole. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over the mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and crusty. (If making ahead to freeze, do not bake or put the melted butter on top! When ready to use, thaw, place melted butter on top, and bake as directed.)