classic bread stuffing
November 23, 2011 § 6 Comments
I know it’s the eleventh hour and all, and I’m all but asleep as I write this, but how about some stuffing anyway? If you’re cooking tomorrow, no doubt you’ve long ago planned your menu, and earlier this week did your shopping (at least, I hope you did. Have you seen the packed grocery store parking lots?!? I’m afraid to go in). And if you’re super organized, your vegetables are pre-chopped and maybe a side dish or two has been made in advance. You probably have the stuffing covered. But, in the event you don’t, I suggest giving this one a try. It’s my favorite.
I’m actually not cooking tomorrow as we’re instead heading out of town for the weekend. Not only will there be no meal on Thursday, but we won’t be able to decorate our tree this weekend, which is our tradition. In an attempt to remedy the void, food-wise, at least, I made a big batch of stuffing – which is always one of my favorite parts of the Thanksgiving meal – along with a few other things, and have been warming up bowls here and there all week. It’s been a sort of ‘leftovers in reverse’ situation; one that I don’t mind in the least.
One of the best things about this ‘classic bread stuffing’ is that there’s no meat to mess with, simple ingredients are called for, and it truly does have a ‘classic’ flavor (thanks mostly to rosemary and fennel), in my opinion. I’ve been making this for a few years now, and I have a feeling it will be part of our Thanksgiving tradition for many years to come, whether on the actual day or during the week before. Have a good one, everyone!
PS. Looking for other last minute Thanksgiving side dishes? How about Mom’s Sweet Potato Crumble, or perhaps a Lighter, Easier Sweet Potato Casserole, Nana’s Pea salad, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Simplest Cranberry Sauce, or even simpler Sauteed Carrots? Bread is also a must have, and Cream Biscuits, Sweet Potato Biscuits, or Cornbread are always a good idea. Finally, if you’re looking for alternatives to the traditional pumpkin or apple pie, these are worth your time: Pumpkin-Swirl Brownies, Pumpkin Cupcakes, and Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares.
Classic Bread Stuffing
15 cups of ¼-½˝ bread cubes (an Italian or French boule, ciabatta, or baguette work well)
¼ cup butter + 1 tablespoon cut into small pieces
¼ cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 very large onion, very finely diced (roughly 2½ cups)
2 stalks celery, very finely diced (roughly ½ cup)
2½ teaspoons fennel seeds (cut it down if you’re not crazy about fennel seeds)
¾ teaspoon celery seeds
2 generous tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
2½ teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2½ tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley
2½ cups high-quality vegetable stock, divided
Preheat the oven to 300º F. Spread the bread cubes out on two cookie sheets and bake for about ten minutes or until a bit dried out, but not browned.
Meanwhile, heat the ¼ cup of butter and olive oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan (using a very large oven proof pan will keep the process simple and cut down on dishes). Add the onion, celery, fennel and celery seeds, rosemary, salt and pepper and sweat the mixture for 20 minutes, keeping the heat on a low setting so that the vegetables don’t color – you just want them to get soft and sweet. Turn off the heat, stir in the parsley and let the mixture cool for about ten minutes in the pan. Add the bread cubes and drizzle over 2 cups of stock; stir to evenly distribute. Let the mixture sit for about an hour to let the flavors marry.
Turn up the oven to 350º F.
Place the stuffing in an ovenproof dish, if necessary. Pour the remaining stock over the stuffing and dot the surface with the remaining tablespoon of butter. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned. Serve warm.
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Recipe adapted from GOOP.