Build Your Thanksgiving Theme with Stuffing

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching and it’s time to haul out the family recipes.  Stuffing is one of those dishes that screams of personal and family tastes.  Soft from absorbing all the turkey juices that almost reminds you of bread pudding?  Crumbly with defined pieces of diced vegetables and cubed breads all singing in harmony?  Texture to me is just as an important part of the food experience and while I do love a bread pudding, I prefer my stuffing to have components that can stand alone while they work together.  I also like the fact that it can be so versatile, reflecting a variety of flavors and tastes of different cultures and traditions, like my family.

In a pinch, grab a bag of croutons add about a 1/4-1/2 a cup of stock.  Obviously, the more bread cubes you have the more liquid you’ll need, within reason.  Since this is a bit of a guessing game, and because I make stuffing once a year, I use recipes for ratios and typically abandon the rest.  Kinds of bread? Rye, Pumpernickel, Sourdoughs, even cornbread all work wonderfully, just make sure its nice and DRY.  Want to get really wild crazy?  There are options with mushrooms, oysters, leeks, chorizo and all kinds of other amazing things.  Just maybe not all together in one dish. Let the stuffing set the theme for your meal with its flavor profiles and seasonings.  The bag of croutons, I called “classic”.

Since it’s now that time for me to act like a grown up and make real stuffing, I was quite glad to find a tasty foundational recipe in my husband’s family. I start with this and then add other flavors to make the meal take on its own character. The recipe is also easily scaleable to the number of people you’re serving, not that anyone admits to not making extras for leftovers!

  • 10 cups breadcrumbs
  • 1-1,1/2 cups of stock (even better if you can add some of the juices from the turkey)
  • 1 cup of butter
  • 3/4 cup minced onion
  • 1/2 cup minced parsley
  • 1/4 cup diced celery
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Make sure the oven is at 350. Melt the butter in a large pan or even better a cast iron skillet. Saute the onions and celery and then add the breadcrumbs to absorb some of the flavors and toast up.  Add at least 1 cup of the stock, reserving the other half in case it’s too dry for your taste.  Transfer to a baking dish if not using oven safe pan and bake for about 30 minutes.  This can be made earlier in the AM and reheated in time for serving.

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