Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Stuffed

I really don't mean to boast, but I happen to make the best stuffing in the known world. It's really nothing fancy. There isn't anything even remotely gourmet about it. It's not a recipe that has ever been featured in a cookbook or magazine. It's one that has been passed down for generations and still uses all the same ingredients today as it probably did a century ago.

I don't particularly like stuffing. Well, I should rephrase that. I don't much like other stuffing. I adore mine though. Have never found anything else that anyone else has ever made that is anywhere near as good. It's that good.

If you are stressed about having a house full of people for the holidays and need another dish, try this one. The best part about it is that you make it ahead. I make mine the night before I serve it, and reheat it before dinner. It's even better after it sits for a couple days.

I apologize if the recipe isn't perfect. Trouble is that I've made it for so many years that I don't use a recipe at all. Quite frankly, I could make it in my sleep. And it took a bit for me to think about what goes into it. I have a team of designated taste testers, and we rely on our senses to tell us when it's done. It's not a science. There is room to fudge it. And really, if you feel compelled to modify it, go right ahead. I won't be offended.

The Best Stuffing in the Universe
  • 2 loaves of cheap store brand white bread, a few days old
  • 6-8 stalks of celery, diced
  • 2 containers of fresh button mushrooms, rinsed and chopped
  • 2-3 onions, diced
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter
  • sea salt
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • sage
  • poultry seasoning

Place bread on large cookie sheets and dry out in oven until edges are crisp. It takes about an hour with the oven between 225-250 to do this. Rotate and flip to get all the edges crisp. Combine mushrooms, celery and onions in butter in a large saucepan, uncovered. Simmer on low for about an hour, until all vegetables are quite soft.

Tear dried bread into pieces, about 1-2 inches. You want some bigger and some smaller. Put into a very large bowl. I only start out using about a loaf and a half, saving the rest for later if I need more bread. Add butter and vegetables, mixing thoroughly. Add 2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp sage and 1 tsp poultry seasoning. Combine, and taste. Chances are that you will want to add more salt than anything else. If it is too wet, add more dried bread. If it is too dry (and it will soak up the butter as it refrigerates), add either melted butter or chicken stock by the tablespoon until it has the consistency you desire.

Cover finished stuffing and refrigerate overnight. Place desired amount in a covered shallow baking dish and heat in the oven at 350 for about an hour prior to serving.

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