Allow me to tell you a tale.
I have not always been the open-minded food lover you now know. Oh, no. In my extreme youth I was, like so many other children, rather closed-minded when it came to certain foods. In my case, I seem to remember adopting a hatred for tacos (this was soon rectified, thank goodness), pizza (this one took til I was 20 years old – literally, I took not another bite of pizza until I was 20 years old because I didn’t like it as a small child), and most of all, stuffing.
I loathed stuffing. The very smell of it turned my stomach. I guess I associated it with bad things, I don’t know. Maybe I ate it once and got sick afterward for some other reason. No idea. All I know is, it took two decades until I tried stuffing again.
And you know what? I loved it. I absolutely loved it. I’ve spent the past several years, then, trying to make up for lost time.
So I sit here, typing this blog post, and I can honestly say that stuffing is one of my favorite dishes to make. It’s easy (enough) and can be experimented with, within reason of course, to suit the tastes of just about anyone. Just google “stuffing recipes” and you’ll find tons and tons of variations. It could leave the average cook quite confused on which path to take – fruit or no fruit? Nuts? Sausage or giblets or oysters or vegetarian? To cornbread or not to cornbread?
This year I sorta mixed things up a bit. And keep in mind: This is a HUGE recipe which I only make in this volume for holiday celebrations. For everyday I’d halve the recipe at the very least. And if you eat the more “traditional” Christmas meal (we don’t), this recipe would make a great stuffing for Christmas as well!
Normally I cube up about 2 family-sized bags of white bread and leave it out to get nice and crunchy overnight. This year, however, I was over it in a big way so I bought two bags of stuffing cubes instead – one white, one cornbread. Then I took a couple of long hoagie rolls from the freezer – frozen specifically for stuffing purposes – and cubed them, and left them out on a cookie sheet to get stale. I figured it would make a nice contrast to the smaller cubes.
Two cups of diced onion and two cups of diced celery went into a pan with a stick of melted butter, plenty of salt and pepper, and were cooked up for about 15 minutes, until the onions were translucent.
Once cooked, the veggies were removed from the pan and set aside to cool a bit. Into the hot pan went a pound of sausage, to be browned up and broken into little bitty pieces.
Can you smell that? Can you? No, you can’t, and I’m sorry.
Finally, everything came together: My bread cubes…lots of bread cubes…the veggies and the sausage.
While the sausage was browning, I chopped up a handful of fresh parsley, plus thyme and sage.
Everything into the pot!
Then, on top of all of that, it’s time to add the chicken broth. This is tricky – if you don’t use dry bread it won’t take as much broth, whereas dried bread will really soak it all up and leave you needing more. It’s best to add the liquid in small doses so as to not drown the entire thing, and then you’ll have to scramble around and add even more bread to try to soak it up and it’ll be a big old mess.
Not like I’ve ever done that before or anything.
In this case, I used a large can, which I believe was 48 oz., for around 9 cups of bread cubes. Two beaten eggs added the rest of the moisture I needed.
Into a buttered casserole dish it went, and into the oven for 45 minutes @ 400 degrees.
Just look at that. Look at it because you can’t taste it. And I’m sorry for that, because Rob said it was the best stuffing I ever made. I think I’ve finally hit upon the right combination of ingredients!
So give it a try. And be prepared to eat stuffing for days because yeah, this makes a lot. Halve the recipe if you need to…or make the whole thing and learn to like lots of leftovers!
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped sage
2 tbs chopped fresh thyme