Monday, November 15, 2010

Traditional Thanksgiving Stuffing with Fresh Herbs

Serves 8 to 10
Classic Thanksgiving Stuffing

enough white bread to make 10 cups of 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 loafs, give or take) 
     (I like Pepperidge Farm’s original white bread)
1 Tbl plus 10 Tbl plus 4 Tbl butter, divided
6 ribs celery, washed and finely chopped
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 Tbl finely chopped fresh sage
2 tsp finely chopped fresh marjoram
2 tsp finely chopped fresh savory
2 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
2 eggs, beaten
3 cups chicken stock (I really like Swanson’s Free Range Organic Chicken Broth)
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 350°F.  

Line a sheet pan with a single layer of bread slices.  Bake for about 7 minutes then flip over and bake for another 7 or so minutes, until the bread feels firm and dry, like it’s stale.  Allow the bread to rest for a few minutes at room temperature, to cool down a bit, then slice into 1/2-inch cubes.  Repeat until you have 10 cups of cubed bread. 

Sliced White Bread, For Stuffing & Caramelized Tomato Pudding

Increase the oven temperature to 400°F.  Grease a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish with 1 Tbl butter.  Set aside. 

Melt 10 Tbl butter over medium-high heat in a large sauté pan.  Add the celery, onions and bay leaf.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, then cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 15-2o minutes.  Add the sage, marjoram, savory, thyme and nutmeg.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Discard the bay leaf, and transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl. 

Add the parsley and stir to combine.  Add the cubed bread and toss well to combine.  Drizzle evenly with the chicken stock and toss well to combine.  Add the beaten eggs and toss well to combine.  Allow the mixture to stand at room temperature about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, in order for the bread to soak up some of the juices. 

Stuffing Mixture

Transfer the mixture to the buttered casserole dish, spreading it evenly across the dish.  Dot the top with the remaining 4 Tbl butter. 

Cover with foil.  Bake 30 minutes, then uncover and continue to bake until deep golden brown on top, about 20 minutes more.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest about 10 minutes before serving.