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Bread Stuffing for Turkey

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I found that dried bread cubes are essential when making stuffing because they do a better job of absorbing seasonings and other flavors than fresh cubes.  To dry bread, cut a fresh loaf of French or other white bread into half-inch slices, place the slices in a single layer on baking sheets or cooling racks, and allow the slices to sit out overnight.  The next day, cut the slices into 1/2-inch cubes and allow them to dry in a single layer for an additional night.

If you’re in a hurry, place the sliced bread in a 225-degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until dried but not browned.  Remove the bread from the oven and cut into 1/2-inch cubes.  You will need a 1-pound loaf of bread to obtain the 12 cups of cubes necessary for the following stuffing recipes.

All of these stuffings can be covered and refrigerated for one day.  Store the mixture in a 13 by 9-inch or comparable-size oven safe or microwave-safe pan and reheat in a 325-degree oven or microwave until the stuffing is heated through before packing it into a bird.  Place any stuffing that won’t fit in the bird in a buttered 8-inch square baking dish.  Drizzle 1/4 cup stock (turkey or chicken) over the stuffing, dot with pats of butter, and cover with a piece of foil that has been smeared with butter.  Bake in a 400-degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes, remove the foil, and continue to bake until a golden brown crust forms on top of the stuffing, about 15 minutes longer.

Bread Stuffing with Sausage, Pecan, and Dried Apricots

Makes about 12 cups.

High-quality sausage is the key to this recipe.  Toast the pecans in a 350-degree oven until fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings and crumbled
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 4 medium celery ribs, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon each dried sage, dried thyme, and dried marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped fine
  • 2 cups pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup dried apricots, cut into thin strips
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 cups dried French or other white bread cubes
  • 1 cup homemade turkey or chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten

Directions:

Cook the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat until browned, about 10 minutes.  transfer the sausage to a large bowl with a slotted spoon.  Discard the fat; in the same pan, melt the butter.

Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until soft and translucent, 6 to 7 minutes.  Add the dried herbs and pepper and cook for another minute.  Transfer to the bowl with the sausage; add the parsley, pecans, apricots, and salt and mix to combine.  Add the bread cubes to the bowl.

Whisk the stock and eggs together in a small bowl.  Pour the mixture over the bread cubes.  Gently toss to distribute the ingredients evenly.  Stuff the bird and bake extra stuffing.

Bread Stuffing with Ham, Pine Nuts, Mushrooms, and Fennel

Makes about 12 cups.

Light brown cremini mushrooms have more flavor than regular white button mushrooms, but the latter can also be used in the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 large fennel bulb, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 10 ounces cremini mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced thin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/4 pound thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into thin strips
  • 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped fine
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 cups dried French or other white bread cubes
  • 1 cup homemade turkey or chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten

Directions:

Melt the butter in a large skillet or Dutch oven.  Add the onion and fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until soft and translucent, 6 to 7 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and cook until the liquid they release has evaporated, about 10 minutes.  Add the basil and pepper and cook for another minute.  Transfer the contents of the pan to a large bowl.

Add the pine nuts, prosciutto, smoked ham, Parmesan, parsley, and salt to the bowl and mix to combine.  Add the bread cubes.

Whisk the stock and eggs together in a small bowl.  Pour the mixture over the bread cubes.  Gently toss to distribute the ingredients evenly.  Stuff the bird and bake extra stuffing.

Bread Stuffing with Bacon, Apples, Sage, and Caramelized Onions

Makes about 12 cups.

For the best flavor, make sure to cook the onions until they are deep golden brown.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
  • 6 medium onions, sliced thin (about 7 cups)
  • Salt
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped fine
  • 3 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, cut into thin strips
  • 12 cups dried French or other white bread cubes
  • 1 cup homemade turkey or chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten

Directions:

Cook the bacon in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp and browned, about 12 minutes.  Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain in paper towels.  Discard all but 3 tablespoons of the rendered fat.

Increase the heat to medium-high and add the onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Cook the onions until golden in color, making sure to stir occasionally and scrape the sides and bottom of the pan , about 20 minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium and continue cook, stirring more often to prevent burning, until the onions are deep golden brown, another 5 minutes.  Transfer the contents to a large bowl.

Add 3/4 teaspoon salt, the pepper, parsley, and sage to the bowl and mix to combine.  Add the bread cubes.

Whisk the stock and eggs together in a small bowl.  Pour the mixture over the bread cubes.  Gently toss to distribute the ingredients evenly.  Stuff the bird and bake extra stuffing.

 

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