This basic bread stuffing or dressing is baked to perfection in a buttered casserole, but it may also be baked in a whole turkey or chicken. It's a versatile stuffing, and there are many possible flavor additions. Consider adding sausage, mushrooms, or diced apples to the dressing. It's excellent with pork chops or a pork loin roast as well. The dressing could also be made with half or one-third cornbread crumbs.
Some families add diced or mashed cooked potatoes to the dressing, and ingredients like sliced pimiento-stuffed olives can add amazing flavor to a plain basic dressing. See some popular variations below the instructions. The dressing is easily doubled for a large dinner.
- Heat the oven to 325 F (165 C/Gas 3). Grease a baking dish generously with butter.
- Saute the onion and celery in the butter until softened.
- Combine onion mixture with bread, pepper, salt, sage and poultry seasoning in a large mixing bowl. Stir in broth until well moistened. At this point, before adding the eggs, taste and adjust the seasonings.
- Add the beaten eggs and stir until well blended.
- Transfer the stuffing mixture to the prepared baking dish, packing loosely. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil.
- Bake for about 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, until browned.
*This recipe makes enough dressing to stuff a small (8 to 10-pound) turkey if you choose to cook the stuffing in the bird. If you do cook the stuffing in the turkey, make sure the stuffing registers at least 165 F in the center before removing the turkey from the oven. Remove all of the stuffing to a serving bowl. Do not store it in the turkey.
- Giblet Stuffing: Simmer the turkey neck (chopped), gizzard, and heart in 4 cups of water, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 hours. Add the liver and simmer for another 15 minutes. Strain the broth into a bowl to use for turkey gravy. Remove the meat from the neck bones and chop along with the gizzard, heart, and liver. Add the chopped giblets to the stuffing mixture and bake as directed.
- Sausage Stuffing: In a skillet over medium heat, brown about 1/2 to 1 pound of bulk mild Italian sausage or mild breakfast sausage separately and then drain it and add it to the stuffing mixture.
- Apple Stuffing: Dice an apple and saute it along with the onion and celery. Add it to the dressing with dried cranberries or raisins, if desired.
- Bread and Cornbread Stuffing: Replace half of the bread cubes with crumbled cornbread for extra flavor and texture.
- Oyster Stuffing: Add 1 1/2 to 2 cups of chopped oysters to the stuffing, either drained canned or freshly shucked.
- Mushroom Stuffing: Saute 8 ounces of sliced fresh mushrooms with the onion and celery mixture.