Basic Bread Stuffing 101
A good, basic recipe for making traditional bread stuffing that includes three flavor variations.
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 large onion, chopped
3 medium celery ribs with leaves, chopped
1 (15-ounce) bag cubed seasoned stuffing*
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 cups homemade turkey stock or chicken broth, as needed
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning**
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and celery. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is golden, about 10 minutes.
- Scrape the vegetables and butter into a large bowl. Add the stuffing and parsley. Stir in enough of the stock to moisten the stuffing, about 2 1/2 cups. Season with the poultry seasoning, if desired, add salt and pepper to taste. Use to stuff the turkey, or place in a buttered baking dish, drizzle with an additional 1/2 cup stock, cover*** and bake for 30 minutes at 350°F (175°C) for a side dish.
Makes 10 cups stuffing.
*Or 1 pound firm white sandwich bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (10 cups) and dried over-night in the oven
**To create your own poultry seasoning mixture combine 1 teaspoon each: crumbled dried rosemary, crumbled dried sage, dried thyme, dried marjoram, and celery salt with 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper. Crush together using a mortar and pestle, mini food processor, or spice grinder.
***For a crispier top, remove cover the last 10 minutes or so.
Sausage and Apple Stuffing: In a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, cook 1 pound bulk pork sausage, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Add to bread stuffing along with 1 cup dried apples (about 3 ounces).
Oyster Stuffing: Drain two 8-ounce containers of shucked oysters and reserve the juices. (Or shuck 24 oysters, opening them over a fine wire sieve placed over a bowl to catch the juices.) If the oysters are large, cut them into 2 to 3 pieces. Add to stuffing along with the bread cubes. Add enough turkey broth to the reserved oyster juices to make 2 1/2 cups and use to moisten the stuffing.
Chestnut Stuffing: Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C). Using a small sharp knife, cut a deep "X" in the flat side of each chestnut. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until the outer skin is split and crisp, about 30 minutes. They never seem to be done at the same time, so work with the ones that are ready and continue roasting the others.) Place the roasted chestnuts in a kitchen towel to keep them warm. Using a small sharp knife, peel off both the tough outer and thin inner skins. To loosen the peels on stubborn, hard-to-peel chestnuts, return to the oven for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or microwave on high for 1 minute. You can also use one 15-ounce jar of vacuum packed chestnuts, available at specialty food stores. Coarsely chop the chestnuts and stir into bread stuffing 101. If desired, substitute 1/4 cognac or brandy for an equal amount of the turkey stock.