Makes about 5 cups.
1/4 cup butter or olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 cup celery, sliced thinly
1 cup mushrooms, sliced thinly
1 tsp. dried tarragon, basil, thyme or sage
1 tsp. salt
4 cups diced day old bread, preferably French but certainly a sturdy bread
(1 cup nutmeats; brazil, pine, pecan or walnut: optional)
Milk, stock or melted butter to moisten the dressing very lightly (see note)
Melt the butter in a pan large enough to hold all the ingredients. Saute the onion, celery and mushrooms for about two minutes. Add the dried herbs and salt and saute one minute more. Turn the heat very low and add the bread, tossing to coat with the melted butter. Add nutmeats if using. Add sufficient milk, stock or melted butter to moisten the dressing very lightly - you want the bread to soften and stick together just a little bit, but not to be gummy.
As a rule of thumb, figure on 1/2 cup of dressing per pound of turkey.
Never, ever, stuff a turkey in advance.
This stuffing is also good baked in a large squash; add a little more butter or olive oil
This recipe is flexible; add or substitute ingredients at will, keeping about the same proportions.
Note: Milk or soy milk work fine as a moistener, as does canned stock. A traditionalist will cook the giblets in 2 cups cold water until tender, chop and add them to the stuffing, and use the cooking water to moisten the stuffing.