Soon Thanksgiving will be upon us, so it’s time to talk about sides, aka, the best part of the meal. And I’ve always thought that stuffing is the King of sides. If we’re going to get specific, I guess it’s kind of hard to call this stuffing since it’s not put inside the bird. Actually, I don’t think I’ve actually had stuffing stuffed into the turkey since I was about eight. So I guess this is technically dressing. But old habits die hard. The word dressing just feels too much to me like something you pour on salad.
What’s your favorite side? When Thanksgiving rolls around my plate is half stuffing and half mashed potatoes because CARBS. I’ve never met a carbohydrate that I didn’t like. And of course if you look real hard you’ll find a little bit of turkey on that plate. But not too much. I have to save room for dessert, right? 😀
I’ve also recently become fond of sweet potato casserole with candied pecans on top. We never had sweet potato anything for Thanksgiving when I was growing up. We were all pumpkin people. But now I’m a convert. I’ve seen the beauty that is the sweet potato, and now there’s no turning back. 😉
But back to this stuffing. It’s filled with delicious sage goodness, and I love it because it’s not too mushy. You dry the bread out in the oven before cooking the stuffing, just to ensure that it I has a lovely texture and doesn’t have that gummy bread thing going on. That would make us all sad pandas, right?
I hope you like this stuffing as much as I do. There’s something about the smell of stuffing in the oven…it immediately smells like Thanksgiving, even if you’re just making it as a side some other time of the year. Ahh, the magical powers of stuffing. It’s like some kind of love potion. I’m telling you, it’s those carbs. They love ya! 😄
From Cook’s Illustrated, Number 137, November and December, 2015.
- 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 2 10 ounce baguettes, bottom crust and ends trimmed and discarded
- 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 3 stalks of celery, cut into ½ inch pieces
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- 2 large onions, cut into ½ inch pieces
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 3 tbsp. chopped fresh sage
- 3 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
- ¼ cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. and make sure the rack is in the upper middle part of your oven.
- Grease a 9x13 pan with 1 tbsp. of butter and set aside.
- Tear baguettes into bite size pieces (you should end up with about 12 cups of bread) and spread onto a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and toss until coated.
- Toast in the oven for five minutes. Stir bread, then toast for another five minutes. Once out of the oven, drizzle the broth over the bread and stir to combine.
- Melt the remaining butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add celery, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3-5 minutes, or until celery begins to soften. Add onions and cook until vegetables are soft, but not brown, about 8 more minutes. Add cranberries and sage and cook for 1 more minute.
- Add vegetable mixture to the bread and toss until completely combined.
- Place the stuffing in the 9x13 pan and spread in an even layer.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Stir with a spatula to turn the crisp edges inward, and bake for another 10 minutes.
- Stir in parsley and walnuts, and serve.