Monday, November 23, 2009

Recipe for Herbed Bread Stuffing

There it is - a whole tray of the evil white stuff ... bread! It may be evil and it may be ordinarily off-limits, but there's no denying that plain 'ole white bread makes for some delicious stuffing!

Normally, the bread stuffing is left to the ministrations of Mama Diva, while I focus on the pork stuffing. This year, things are a little bit different. Mama and Papa Diva will be dining in CT with bro and his wife ... so it looks like the bread stuffing is up to me. And, I'm going to be honest, I cheated a little bit too. I mixed the bread, veggies and seasonings with some pre-packaged stuffing cubes. You can see the package in the background of that photo. So sue me, a Diva's got to take a little help where she can get it now and then.

Herbed Bread Stuffing / Dressing:
  • two 16 ounce loaves of plain white bread, or stuffing bread, unsliced
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 2 large onions, peeled and diced
  • 3 large shallots, peeled and diced
  • 6 large stalks of celery, diced
  • 2 large leeks, white and pale green parts only, washed well and sliced thin
  • some Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • poultry seasoning
  • celery salt
  • 4 cups of packaged, seasoned stuffing cubes, such as Pepperidge Farm
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage (or 1 tablespoon dried)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme (or 1 tablespoon dried)
  • 1/2 cup of chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • additional chicken broth for baking dressing
Pre-heat your oven to 300 degrees F.

Slice the bread into thick slices, then tear the slices into roughly 1 inch pieces. Scatter the torn bread on a large, walled cookie sheet and bake in a 300 degree oven for 15 minutes, turning once or twice, until the bread begins to dry. Do not brown or toast the bread, you just want to dry it out a bit. Remove from oven and reserve.

Melt the butter in a very large stock pot and to it add the onions, shallots, celery and leeks. Season with a bit of Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, a generous sprinkle of poultry seasoning and celery salt, stirring well to combine. Saute over medium-high heat, stirring as needed, until translucent and tender but not yet browned, about 8 to 10 minutes or so. Add the seasoned bread cubes to the pan and stir well. Add the white bread and stir to combine, adding a cup of chicken broth to the pan to moisten. Continue stirring and adding a bit more chicken broth until the stuffing holds together and your desired consistency is achieved.

Remove from heat and add the chopped sage, thyme and parsley, stirring well to combine. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more salt and pepper, or whatever you wish, if necessary. (At this point, the stuffing can be cooled, placed in a suitable container or zip lock bag, and frozen until needed. )

To Serve as Dressing: butter a 9 x 13 inch oven safe baking dish and transfer the stuffing mixture to the prepared baking dish, smoothing it out to form an even layer. Pour some additional chicken broth over the mixture to keep it moist, cover with foil and bake in the middle of a pre-heated 350 degree F oven for 15 to 20 minutes, remove the foil and continue baking for another 15 t0 20 minutes or until golden brown on top and heated throughout. Serve and enjoy!

As written, this recipe will serve 12 to 15.

Notes: While I do know that stuffing cooked outside the bird is called dressing, in my family its called stuffing regardless! If desired, you can certainly use this mixture to actually stuff your bird, and the excess can be baked off on the side as directed above.

I do not measure the salt, pepper, poultry seasoning or celery salt, nor do I measure the fresh herbs. I just keep adding stuff until it tastes right to me. Do as you see fit. If you're a big fan of thyme or sage, by all means add more. Generally, I prefer to use the fresh herbs, though there's no reason you can't use dried if that's your preference. Hey, its your holiday, live it up!

As for that packaged stuffing mix ... what can I tell you? Tough times call for tough measures! Besides, its not all that bad ... the mix did contain both whole wheat and white bread cubes, so its practically a health food. ~wink~

I'll be firmly ensconced in my kitchen for the next few days and likely out of action here on the blog. I'll be back with a full Thanksgiving round up next week and, hopefully, we can return to normal here for a short while - or at least until the Christmas madness kicks in.

So, are you taking any culinary short-cuts this week? 'Fess up in the comments ... I hate to cheat alone!

Bon appetit!


doggybloggy said...

dressing, stuffing who cares what you call it but I will admit that I break all kinds of rules and put some inside the bird - so what - shoot me - I have been doing it that way for years - I love your recipe and will be incorporating it - thanks!

Catherine said...

What a great recipe! Thanks! :)

The Diva on a Diet said...

doggybloggy - thanks! I agree, something's got to go in the bird! In our world, the pork stuffing goes in the turkey and the bread gets baked off on the side. That way, everyone's happy. :)

Catherine - thank you too!

Daily Spud said...

I don't have the madness of full-blown Thanksgiving prep to deal with, so I can just admire your stuffing / dressing from the sidelines. And as for short-cuts, who could blame you? Yours is hardly a hanging offence!

Fresh Local and Best said...

I love herbed stuffing from the turkey, it's actually my favorite dish of Thanksgiving. This recipe looks great!

pixelgal said...

You've really got something here, Diva dear. Your embellishments sound great and positively healthy with all that fresh stuff. As for my secret stuffing recipe as you well know, I use stove top and mix it in with the bread, onions, celery, seasonings (dry) and butter. For more years than you've been alive I've been cooking it inside the turkey. That's a recent No-NO, which I'm ignoring. If people play their cards right this year, we may actually have turkey for Christmas too! But I'm not promising anything. Enjoy your delicious meal.

Anonymous said...

I'm seriously thinking about buying cornbread for my cornbread stuffing instead of making my own ahead of time. We do need to take some shortcuts, too much stuff to do! Have a great Thanksgiving!

Deb said...

I always use the packaged bread stuff as the base to mix in my pork sausage and it goes inside the bird - always has, always will - turkey police be damned!

Maven said...

Oh YUMM!!! I love stuffing and envious that it's not Thanksgiving here!

Janet said...

Pepperidge Farm is my favorite stuffing ever. It's so not local or organic and I just love it. Hey, at least it's only once a year! (We also use like a stick of butter and a ton of onions...mmm!)

Heavenly Housewife said...

I love stuffing :), its one of my favourite thanksgiving foods.

The Diva on a Diet said...

FLB - I think the stuffing and the turnips are my favorite part of the meal too ... especially doused with gravy! ;)

Pixelgal - hopefully it will taste as good as yours ... only time will tell! I might have to hold you to that turkey promise! ;)

5 Star - I'm so glad I'm not the only one taking a short cut this year. So hard to fit it all into one week. Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

Deb - Yay, I'm glad to hear your short cut as well. I'll bet its delicious when combined with the pork. I should really try combining both of my stuffings some year ... if the family would allow it! ;)

Maven - I've got some extra room at the table this year ... c'mon down!

Janet - I'm having a little chuckle at your comment about the stuffing not being green! You're right, its only once a year and its a tradition!

HH - I wonder if I could email you some?! LOL

Yasmeen said...

Flavorful stuffing.Happy thanksgiving!

Megan said...

I didn't make stuffing for my mini Thanksgiving because my boyfriend won't eat it, but if I were making one for myself, it would be one just like this. I've actually never ever made stuffing before, so I'm going to keep this recipe in mind and try it out at some point.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Erica said...

That stuffing sounds delicious!Fantastic recipe.

katie,cincinnati,ohio said...

Thanks for the advice here! VERY much needed... I want the families ooo's and ahhhh's this year!! Soooo.. Wish me luck..I am gonna need it! Lol..