Recipe: Basic Bread Stuffing - #3

You can call it stuffing or dressing, make it of cornbread, croutons or stale French bread, season it with sage, thyme or family secrets, and add anything from oysters to water chestnuts. What you CAN’T do is skimp! Stuffing makes the meal for many people, and there’s a lot of disappointment if there isn’t enough. Feel free to double the recipe below.

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 good baked in a large squash; add a little more butter or olive oil

Stuffing bakes very well in a dish by itself. It’s safer from a food handling perspective, and the vegetarians can eat it. Unstuffed turkey cooks faster.

This recipe is flexible; substitute ingredients at will, keeping the same proportions.

Makes about 6 cups, enough for a 12 lb. turkey.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter or olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1-1/2 cups celery, sliced thinly
1-1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced thinly
1 tsp. dried tarragon, thyme or sage
1 tsp. salt
6 cups diced day old bread
(1 cup nutmeats)
Milk, stock or melted butter to moisten the dressing

Instructions:

Melt the butter in a pan large enough to hold all the ingredients. Sauté the onion, celery and mushrooms for about two minutes. Add the dried herbs and salt and sauté one minute more. Turn the heat very low and add the bread (we like French bread, but any sturdy bread will do), 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. Place in a greased casserole dish, hollowed out vegetables, or turkey.

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.