Stuffing

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I’m just gunna keep celebrating America.  And frankly, if you are still eating your feeling (as I am), there is nothing better than this carb-filled, familiarly seasoned tradition.  Stuffing is my favorite part of Thanksgiving. Not stuffing myself, but the stuffing inside the bird. You and your snooty brethren may refer to it as “dressing,” a term adopted by the Victorians because stuffing brought unpleasant imagery to mind. But since it is stuffed, that’s what I call it.

I do not enjoy any weird foods in my turkey stuffing. If you would like to serve me your wild rice-cornbread-lychee nut- oyster-chestnut-apricot- linguica stuffing that your family and friends rave about, do so on another occasion. I am a Thanksgiving purist.

My stuffing is simple and basic. I prefer to use sourdough sandwich bread. It should be dried out so that it will accept flavor and moisture from the recipe, and not become soggy. Today’s bread has so many preservatives that drying it out can take some doing. Trim the crust, cut into 1-2 inch cubes, and spread out in one layer on baking sheets for a day or two.

I prefer to use fresh herbs for this recipe, and mince them very fine. You can roughly chop them, then combine in a coffee grinder for super-pulverization. If you substitute dry herbs, use 1/3 as much.

The stuffing ingredients must be cool before they are put inside the raw bird. Any increase in temperature before roasting increases the likelihood of bacterial growth. Cool your sautéed vegetables and use cool stock, because bacterial growth is like the crazy aunt that no one wants for Thanksgiving.

INGREDIENTS

4 TB. butter
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup fresh sage, minced
2 TB. fresh thyme, minced
1 TB. fresh rosemary, minced
2-3 bay leaves, crushed
4 cups day-old bread, cubed
1-2 cups turkey or chicken stock

METHOD

  1. Melt butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Cook the celery and onion until golden brown. Cool completely. (To rush this step, spread out onto a cookie sheet and refrigerate.)
  2.  In a large bowl combine the cubed bread, the cooled onions and celery, salt, pepper and herbs. Toss to combine, then moisten with stock. Stuffing shouldn’t be soggy, just moist.
  3.  Loosely fill the turkey with stuffing. There are two cavities to fill: the large main cavity at the base of the breasts, and a smaller secret cavity at the neck. Sprinkle the bird with salt and pepper, and roast as directed. Stuffing is done at 165˚F. If it doesn’t all fit into the bird, bake the rest in a covered casserole dish (although it definitely isn’t as good).

Click here for Good Gravy recipe.

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