Holy moly am I ever behind. Maybe just before Thanksgiving was not the best time to take a vacation. Now we’re back and I feel like I’m under the gun. Yesterday I had to run out before work and buy a turkey so that I could thaw it, I hope it’s defrosted before Thursday. I’m in charge of our families dinner, so I’m sitting here making my list of things to do, and it feels over-whelming at first. Then I remind myself that this isn’t my first Thanksgiving and I’ll be fine.
Though I’m not making it until Thanksgiving Day, I thought I’d go through the recipe I use for stuffing. I’ll post pictures the day after Thanksgiving so you can see how it all turned out. If you’re like me, right now you’re just working on preparation plans. I’m not a fan of stuffing myself, but my dad loves it and my mom always made it. Time to get out the old tatty cookbook. (Keep in mind that I’m not shooting for “healthy”, just festive)
1 cup finely chopped celery
½ cup chopped onions
½ cup margarine or butter
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
8 cups dry bread cubes
¾ to 1 cup chicken broth or water
Turkey giblets (if you like them)
My dad likes the giblets in the stuffing, and they do give the stuffing extra flavor. If you don’t like the giblets, you can just skip this step and move onto the next. If you’re going to use them, here’s how: Rinse the giblets you pull out of the turkey. Put the liver in the refrigerator (or secretly throw in the trash, don’t tell on me) In a medium size sauce pan combine the neck and remaining giblets with half an onion cut in thirds and one stalk of celery (cut to fit in pan) and slightly salted water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, then add the liver and simmer for another 30-45 minutes, or until tender (add more water as needed). When finished remove giblets and put on a plate or cutting board to cool. This is when I start making the stuffing mix.
In a small sauce pan cook the onion and the celery in the butter (or margarine). Cook until tender, but not brown. Remove from heat then stir in the poultry seasoning (you could use sage instead if you like). Also add a 1/8 teaspoon of salt and of pepper. The giblets should now be cool, once they are, finely chop them and add them to the stuffing mix.
My mom collected bread heels and pieces for weeks before the holiday, she keep them in the freezer to dry them out. You take them out of the freezer a day or so before and thaw them in the refrigerator. I of course forgot to do any of that, so I’m adding cut up some bread to dry out to my list of things to do.
Place dry bread cubes in a big bowl. Add celery and onion mixture, give it a stir, and drizzle with enough chicken broth or water to moisten the bread. Toss lightly. Place the mixture into a casserole dish or baking pan, cover with foil. Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees and bake for 40-45 minutes. You can stuff the bird if your cooking it in the oven, but I find that just makes things over complicated. Besides, we have a lot of people over for Thanksgiving and find it easier to serve in a separate dish.
Extra: drying bread
To make dry bread cubes for stuffing, cut bread into ½ inch cubes. I like to mix brown and white bread. (Use about 16 slices for 8 cups) Spread the bread cubes in a single layer in a large baking pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes, or until dry. If you don’t want to heat up your oven, you can also cover your pan and let the cubes sit on the counter for 8-12 hours.