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FEATURE: Cooking Local Marilyn Monroe's Secret Stuffing

November 19, 2010

Who knew she could cook? A hand-written recipe suggests the actress had a deft touch in the kitchen. It is likely she cooked this recipe for her then-husband Joe DiMaggio.


Monroe's recipe was published in "Fragments" (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux), a collection of snippets and letters. The original didn't include specific amounts for all ingredients, so her stuffing has been adapted several ways. Here are two versions of her amazing French-style stuffing:


Marilyn Monroe's French Stuffing 1




    * 6 ounces pain au levian (sourdough)
    * 1/4 pound chicken livers
    * 1/4 pound ground sirloin
    * 1 cup mirepoix
    * 2 bay leaves
    * 1 cup chopped, fresh parsley
    * 1 hard-boiled egg, chopped
    * 1/2 cup raisins (substitute any dried fruits)
    * 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
    * 2/3 cup cooked chestnuts, chopped
    * 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    * 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
    * 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
    * 1 teaspoon dried sage
    * 1 teaspoon dried thyme
    * 1/4 teaspoon marjoram
    * 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


How to make 1950's-style French stuffing:

Soak the pain au levian in water for 15 minutes. Drain the bread in a colander for 5 minutes and squeeze it dry. Pull it apart into small pieces.

While the bread is soaking and draining, prepare the livers and ground beef. Boil the livers for 8 to 10 minutes, until they are done. Finely chop the cooked livers. Brown the ground beef in a large skillet, and transfer the meat to a bowl.

Sauté the mirepoix and bay leaves in the remaining beef fat for 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and stir together the shredded bread, cooked livers, browned beef, sautéed mirepoix, parsley, eggs, raisins, cheese, chestnuts, salt, pepper, and dried herbs.

Marilyn's stuffing recipe makes approximately 10 cups.


Marilyn Monroe's French Stuffing 2



Marilyn’s Stuffing

Adapted from “Fragments” by Marilyn Monroe (Farrar, Straus & Giroux; $30)

Time: 2 hours

No garlic

A 10-ounce loaf sourdough bread

1/2 pound chicken or turkey livers or hearts

1/2 pound ground round or other beef

1 tablespoon cooking oil

4 stalks celery, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

2 cups chopped curly parsley

2 eggs, hard boiled, chopped

1 1/2 cups raisins

1 cup grated Parmesan

1 1/4 cups chopped walnuts, pine nuts or roasted chestnuts, or a combination

2 teaspoons dried crushed rosemary

2 teaspoons dried crushed oregano

2 teaspoons dried crushed thyme

3 bay leaves

1 tablespoon salt-free, garlic-free poultry seasoning (or 1 teaspoon dried sage, 1 teaspoon marjoram, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger and 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg)

1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

1 tablespoon pepper.

1. Split the bread loaf in half and soak it in a large bowl of cold water for 15 minutes. Wring out excess water over a colander and shred into pieces.

2. Boil the livers or hearts for 8 minutes in salted water, then chop until no piece is larger than a coffee bean.

3. In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef in the oil, stirring occasionally and breaking up the meat, so no piece is larger than a pistachio.

4. In your largest mixing bowl, combine the sourdough, livers, ground beef, celery, onion, parsley, eggs, raisins, Parmesan and nuts, tossing gently with your hands to combine. Whisk the rosemary, oregano, thyme, bay leaves, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper together in a bowl, scatter over the stuffing and toss again with your hands. Taste and adjust for salt. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use as a stuffing or to bake separately as dressing.

Yield: 20 cups, enough for one large turkey, 2 to 3 geese or 8 chickens.


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