Despite its name, ground beef stuffing doesn’t usually go inside a turkey or chicken. Instead, this hearty, beef-based dish is usually served as a casserole. Bread stuffing takes the place of traditional pasta or rice, while ground beef generally gives the stuffing a meaty protein boost. The stuffing is baked in a ceramic or glass baking dish, rather than inside some kind of poultry, and may be served as a traditional holiday dish or as a simple weeknight meal.
Many recipes for ground beef stuffing call for boxed stuffing mix. These mixes are usually pre-seasoned and require very little time to prepare, making them convenient for whipping up fast meals. The store-bought stuffing is usually prepared as the package recommends, then set aside until the other ingredients are ready. In addition to the browned ground beef, these almost always include a variety of vegetables.
The vegetables that go into ground beef stuffing can be as varied as the cooks creating this dish. Some may enjoy only onions and potatoes in their stuffing, while others may want to include carrots, peas, green beans, celery, garlic, or even pickles. Any cook's favorite combination of vegetables is acceptable for this dish, since it is generally very adaptable. Home cooks may even substitute ground turkey, chicken, or pork for the ground beef. This may change the flavor slightly, but could be healthier for those seeking a low-fat diet.
The beef and veggies must simmer in a shallow skillet until the meat is fully browned and the veggies are slightly tender. After that, the cook usually adds the stuffing to the pan, mixes everything together, and scoops it into a baking dish. Most ground beef stuffing casseroles are topped with cheese. Cheddar, Gruyere, mozzarella, grated provolone, and Parmesan are all generally tasty choices. Cooks may pick just one cheese, mix a few different kinds together, or leave the cheese off of the casserole entirely.
Ground beef stuffing doesn’t usually need to heat for long in the oven because all of the ingredients are typically already cooked when the dish is compiled. Casseroles with cheese on top are ready when the cheese is melted and a little brown around the edges. Those without cheese typically need about 15 minutes of heating to allow the flavors to marry properly.
Homemade stuffing can often be a tasty, healthful substitute for boxed stuffing in this recipe. Those with stuffing leftover from another meal, or those that simply don’t like boxed mixes, may prefer to use their own recipes instead. Cooks that love to experiment may also combine different kinds of breads and either beef, chicken, or vegetable stock, as well as different spice blends, to find the perfect stuffing base for their ground beef stuffing casserole.