Monday, November 12, 2012
Last year I had intentions of posting more of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes. But I didn't make them until the day or so before Thanksgiving and I was sure everyone already had their Thanksgiving recipes all planned out. So I saved a few of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes to share this year with you all.
This reicpe for bread stuffing goes way back! It's my husband's grandmothers recipe. The secret to the recipe is making it from scratch.....down to the bread (I have used Grandma Sycamore's bread from the grocery store and had good results too). We definatley prefer the homemade bread.
I usually make one batch of my favorite whole wheat bread recipe and that is plenty of bread to make 24 cups of bread cubes. This bread recipe freezes well so if you want to plan ahead you can make the bread, freeze it, and then pull it out 3 days or so before you plan to bake the stuffing. I start by getting a large disposable aluminum deep baking dish from the dollar store (the kind you'd send a meal to someone in and not expect to get back) and cut my bread in cubes with kitchen shears. I measure as I go and dump it into the tin. I let this sit out on my counter for a few days with a wooden spoon near by and I toss it every time I walk by, helping it dry out all the way through. When its hard and no moisture is left, that's when you know it's dry enough for making stuffing.
We don't bake this stuffing in the turkey that's why it calls for chicken broth or hot water to provide plenty of moisture (see recipe directions below for a more through explanation).
It only bakes an hour! Serve alongside your other favorite Thanksgiving dishes! Enjoy!
24 cups dry bread cubes (2-3 loaves) (whole wheat homemade bread is best)
2 tablespoons salt
1 ½ teaspoons pepper
1 ½ poultry seasoning
1 ½ cups butter, melted
4-6 onions, finely chopped (I like yellow onion)
1 bunch celery, finely chopped
¼ cup olive oil
Hot chicken broth or water (2-5 cups; see note below)
Dry out 24 cups of bread cubes. I put mine in a large (dollar store) disposable aluminum deep dish baking pan (the kind you’d send to someone and not expect to get it back). I let this sit out on my counter for a few days (about 3) and toss it every time I think about it so that it has enough air exposure on all the layers to dry it out completely. If you have a dehydrator you could speed the process up by using it. And of course if you don’t want to use homemade bread you can usually buy dried bread cubes in the bakery department at your local grocery store around the Thanksgiving holiday.
In a small bowl mix together salt (see note below about the sodium level), pepper, and poultry seasoning. Set aside.
Finely chop 4-6 yellow onions and one bunch of celery. Place a large deep skillet or stock pot on the stove over medium heat, add olive oil, onions and celery and saute them until translucent and no longer crunchy, stirring frequently.
Melt butter in a small saucepan on the stove over medium-low heat until completely melted. Set aside.
Heat two cups of chicken broth on the stove or in the microwave as needed.
Once bread is dry toss the salt mixture over the dry bread cubes in layers so it’s evenly distributed. Toss butter in small increments until it’s absorbed by the bread cubes. Then toss in the sauteed onions and celery. At this point we want to add enough hot broth/water until the bread is all very wet and when you scoop to the bottom of the pan you can barely see the broth starting to puddle in the bottom. You don’t want it sloppy, just very moist. As it bakes it will dry out more as it’s not baked inside a turkey. Once the bread mixture is as moist as desired cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. You can toss half way through. You want it a bit crispier/toasted on the top when it’s done.
NOTE: One thing I'd watch for is the sodium levels. If you use salted butter, and a chicken broth that is not low or no-sodium, and add all the salt called for in the recipe it tends to be a bit much salt for me. If you don't have unsalted butter and chicken broth then cut the salt in the recipe in half, and add more to taste if you think it's too bland.