CLASSIC BREAD STUFFING WITH SAGE AND THYME
From: America's Test Kitchen Live!
by Cook's Illustrated
Drying the bread before making the stuffing is crucial for texture and flavor. If you plan ahead, you can simply leave the bread cubes out on the counter for a few days to become stale. Otherwise, spread them out on baking sheets and dry in a 300-degree oven for 30 to 60 minutes. Let the bread cool before using in the stuffing.
You can substitute three 14-ounce bags of plain dried bread cubes for the homemade dried bread cubes, but you'll need to increase the amount of chicken broth to 7 cups. This recipe can easily be halved and baked in a 13 by 9-inch baking dish for a smaller crowd.Serves 16Ingredients
• 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter plus extra for the dish
• 4 celery ribs, chopped fine
• 2 medium onions, minced
• 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
• 3 tablespoons minced fresh sage leaves OR 2 teaspoons dried
• 3 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves OR 2 teaspoons dried
• 1 tablespoon minced fresh marjoram leaves OR 1 teaspoon dried
• 3 pounds high-quality white sandwich bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and dried (see note)
• 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
• 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 2 teaspoons ground black pepperDirections
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Melt the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the celery and onions and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the parsley, sage, thyme, and marjoram and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to a very large bowl.
Add the dried, cooled bread, broth, eggs, salt, and pepper to the vegetables and toss to combine.Turn the mixture into a buttered 15 by 10-inch baking dish.3.
Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until golden, about 30 minutes longer. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.Variations: BREAD STUFFING WITH SAUSAGE, PECANS, AND APRICOTS
Follow the recipe for Classic Bread Stuffing with Sage and Thyme. Before cooking the vegetables in step 1, cook 1 1/2 pounds bulk sausage in a large skillet over medium heat, breaking it up into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon, until lightly browned, 5 to 10 minutes. If desired, substitute the rendered sausage fat for an equal amount of butter in step 1. Add the cooked and crumbled sausage, 3 cups chopped pecans, toasted, and 2 cups dried apricots, sliced thin, to the bread mixture with the vegetables in step 2.
BREAD STUFFING WITH BACON AND APPLES
Follow the recipe for Classic Bread Stuffing with Sage and Thyme. Before cooking the vegetables in step 1, cook 1 1/2 pounds bacon, chopped fine, in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until crisp and brown, about 12 minutes. Transfer the bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. If desired, substitute the bacon fat for an equal amount of butter in step 1. Add 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups), to the skillet with the celery and onions. Stir the crisp bacon into the bread cubes with the vegetables in step 2.