This homemade stuffing recipe never sees the inside of a turkey, so it's up to you whether to call it "stuffing" or "dressing." Either way, baking it in its own dish is better because the oven gets the top nice and crispy. Besides, cooking stuffing inside the bird is a major food safety risk.
There's always a debate among stuffing aficionados over whether to include an egg. Personally, I like an egg in my stuffing, and some people like to add two, while others prefer zero. It's all a matter of taste and whether you like your stuffing to be slightly bound together or not. This recipe includes one egg, but you can use two or just leave it out, as you prefer.
As for the herbs, my feeling is that you absolutely need fresh sage in homemade stuffing. Sage is one of those herbs where if you're doing a big harvest (as opposed to just snipping off a leaf or three), it's best to do it a couple of months before the first frost. So it makes sense that sage is so traditional in Thanksgiving stuffing. You can use additional herbs as well, like thyme and/or marjoram, but definitely make sure of the sage.
Also, if you're adding any nuts or fruit (slivered almonds, raisins, diced apples, etc), do it between steps #4 and #5, just before adding the stock.
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Spread the diced bread on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until lightly golden. Give the pan a shake midway through so the cubes brown evenly. Remove pan and let the bread cool.
- Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the onion and celery until the onion is slightly translucent. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Transfer the toasted bread, chopped herbs and the cooked celery and onions to a large bowl. You'd add the nuts or fruit at this stage too. Give it all a toss to combine.
- Now, drizzle a bit of the stock over the bread cubes and gently mix. Repeat until all the bread is moistened but not soggy. Now add the egg and toss until all the ingredients are coated.
- Butter a baking dish, transfer the dressing to the dish and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top is crispy. Serve hot.
Also see: Thanksgiving Pie Recipes
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