Savory

Homemade Stuffing/Dressing

Is it called Stuffing or Dressing?! Does anyone actually know?!

My family always called it Stuffing, even though we didn’t use it to stuff the bird. So was it technically Dressing? I don’t know, I’m too late in the game to change how I say it, so Stuffing is probably what I’ll call it for the rest of my life.

I don’t believe in putting stuffing in the turkey, because I believe that there’s a delicate balance in making sure the turkey is fully cooked and the stuffing is fully cooked, which is hard to manage at the same time. You don’t want to overcook the turkey to cook the stuffing. That’s just my personal opinion, you do what you like best!

This is the first year that I made my own stuffing and my life has been changed. I actually toasted my own bread, using a fresh loaf that I got from the bakery of my local grocery store. Oh my gosh, guys, you have to try it at least once! I know that the premade breadcrumbs are an easy shortcut, so if you need to use them the big day, I get that! But, here’s my trick with this stuffing recipe: you can make it ahead! Make it the day before, two days before, keep in the fridge and just reheat it in the oven while everything else cooks! It’s super easy, super delicious, and takes one more thing off your plate!

Which brings me to my third Thanksgiving Day Tip: Make a schedule or a timeline that starts the week before the big day! There is a lot of prep work that goes into Thanksgiving, so plan ahead so it doesn’t get overwhelming and you know everything gets done.

For example:

Saturday: put the turkey in the fridge to thaw, go to the store for all the veggies:

Sunday: iron the linens, plan out the tablescape

Monday: call family members to get a final count, and see if anyone wants to bring extra sides, like rolls, sweet potatoes, mac and cheese, etc.

Tuesday: start the brining process for the turkey, leave out the bread chunks to dry out

Wednesday: make the pies, make the stuffing, peel and boil potatoes, layout the place settings

Thursday: turkey time! Make turkey, finish potatoes, reheat stuffing, making gravy, and cranberry sauce.

So this is a super easy way to do it, but then you know when to get everything done and you don’t feel rushed and panicked on the actual day. The other tip I have, ask for help! This isn’t the Little Red Hen situation here, ask for help and I’m sure family and friends would be able to bring one dish, so you’re not too overwhelmed!

Another quick note! When I was in the store looking for all my fresh herbs, I found a package that contained a “Poultry Herb Blend,” that had sage, rosemary, and thyme all in the same container! If you can find this in your grocery store, I would seriously stock up on it. This herb blend is perfect for this recipe, but would also be great for your turkey, to add to your gravy, to spice up your butter, and just great to have on hand!

Ingredients:

1 loaf of French bread

1 onion

2 garlic cloves

1 large carrot

1 cup of celery

1 pound of sausage

3 tablespoons of butter

1 1/2 – 2 cups of chicken stock

1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon of chopped sage

1 teaspoon of chopped rosemary

1 teaspoon of chopped thyme

Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

To begin, preheat the oven to 200-degrees. Cut the bread into about 1-inch cubes using a serrated knife. Place the bread cubes onto a baking sheet about bake for about 30 minutes. About halfway through, pull the pans out to toss the bread to ensure they get crispy on all sides! You’ll know they’re done when they resemble a croton texture!

In a large skillet, brown the sausage until brown and crispy! When the sausage is done cooking, spoon onto a paper towel-lined plate. Add butter to the remaining sausage grease, then add the onions, carrots, and celery to the pan. Cook until the onions are slightly translucent. Then add back in the sausage. Add the garlic, Italian seasoning, sage, rosemary, and thyme. Cook everything together for about 3-4 minutes.

Put all the bread cubes into a large bowl, then pour the sausage mixture over the top. Mix everything together. Pour in a cup and a half of chicken stock slowly over the top. Then dump the stuffing into a large baking dish and place it in a 350-degree oven for about 30-45 minutes!

The top will be crispy and golden brown and all the juices will be absorbed! If you notice everything looks a little dry, you can add in the other half a cup of chicken stock!

If you are making this ahead, let everything cool completely before covering and placing in the fridge! When you go to reheat it, take it out of the fridge for about 30 minutes for everything to come to room temperature. Then place in a 350-degree oven for another 30 minutes! Again, if it’s a little dry, add more chicken stock!

Serve with a generous sprinkling of parsley!

If you’ve never tried homemade stuffing, you need to try this! There’s such a wonderful texture combination of the crunchy pieces of bread at the top, with the soft pieces at the bottom that have absorbed all of the flavors, with the sweetness of the carrots, and the fresh herbs flowing throughout. Seriously, this stuffing might be my new favorite Thanksgiving dish! Just don’t tell Pumpkin Pie I said that…

-Holly Michelle

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