The most important element in this stuffing is the bread. This is the time to use up those small bits and pieces hiding out in the refrigerator or freezer or sitting around in bakery bags. The better the quality of bread you use, the better the final stuffing will be. We like to use a wide variety of bread for this stuffing—bits of chopped up baguette, sourdough, pumpernickel, white bread, whole wheat, ciabatta—quite literally, anything and everything we have around.
There is enough stuffing here to fill a 10-to-12-pound turkey (or several chickens) and have enough leftover to fill a good-size baking dish. The stuffing can be made several hours ahead of time, but you should never stuff a bird until just before you are ready to roast it.–Jonathan King, Jim Stott, and Kathy Gunst
LC Stale Versus Staphylococcus
A word of caution from the authors regarding what bread qualifies as “stale” and what may venture into staphylococcus breeding ground follows. Take heed. “Do keep in mind that there is a big difference between bread that has been sitting around a few days and is beginning to dry out and bread that is way past its prime; avoid any bread that is moldy or smells off.”
Herbed Bread and Celery Stuffing
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 50 M
- Serves 4 to 8
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 medium onions, chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons chopped thyme leaves, or 2 teaspoons dried, crumbled
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 5 stalks celery, chopped
- 1/2 cup very thinly sliced basil leaves
- 1 1/2 cups chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 10 cups cubed bread
- 1 cup milk
- 1. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter and the olive oil over medium-low heat. When the butter has melted and begins to sizzle, add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring, for about 8 minutes, or until the onions are soft.
- 2. Season with half the thyme and some salt and pepper. Add the celery and half of the basil and half of the parsley and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the celery is just beginning to soften. The celery should still have somewhat of a crunch.
- 3. Meanwhile, place the bread in a large bowl, and mix in the remaining thyme, basil, and parsley Pour the celery mixture from the skillet on top of the bread and gently toss to mix all of the ingredients. Place the skillet back over a low heat and add the milk and the remaining tablespoon butter and simmer for 2 to 4 minutes, using a spatula to scrape up any bits and pieces clinging to the bottom of the skillet. Pour the hot milk mixture over the bread and toss; the stuffing should be somewhat moist. Season to taste.
- 4. If making the stuffing more than an hour ahead of time, cover and refrigerate until you are ready to stuff the bird. The stuffing can also be placed in a lightly greased baking dish or casserole and baked at 350°F (175°C) for 15 to 20 minutes, or until hot throughout. If possible, baste the stuffing with some of the turkey juices from the bottom of the turkey pan to keep the stuffing moist.
- Add 1 pound coarsely chopped shucked fresh oysters to the skillet when the celery is nearly done and cook for about 2 minutes.
- Add 1 cup toasted chopped walnuts or your favorite nuts when you add the celery.
- Add 1 cup thinly sliced peeled, fresh water chestnuts when you add the celery.
- Add 1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried cranberries, cherries, or raisins when you add the celery.
- Add 1 pound sausage meat, removed from the casing, when you add the onions to the skillet.
- Substitute cubed cornbread for regular bread.