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Monday, November 21, 2011

My Grandma's Thanksgiving Stuffing

My Grandma makes the best stuffing in the universe. No question. Over the years she has taught me how to make it and now I'm officially in charge of making the stuffing on Thanksgiving morning. I'm even more excited this year, though, because my brother and I are kicking the old folks outta the kitchen and making the entire meal together. And by together, I mean, we are divvying up each part of the meal because we bicker too much if we try to "share" making a dish.

"Michael, are you really going to add that much salt?"
"Get away, Sarah."
Yes, I usually (always) start it.

1 loaf challah bread, sliced
1/2 loaf pumpernickle bread, sliced
1/2 loaf whole wheat bread, sliced
2 sticks butter (plus more later)
2 medium/large onions, chopped
~5 stalks celery, chopped
1 1/2 container baby bella mushrooms, 1/4 inch sliced
2 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme
2 teaspoons fresh chopped sage
~2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
onion powder
celery salt
salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and fill a baking sheet with slices of the bread. Toast in the oven until barely browned and dried out. Continue this process until you have finished toasting all the bread. Once cooled, chop bread into about 1-inch cubes and place in a large bowl. Set aside.

Meanwhile, melt a stick of butter in the bottom of two very large saute pans on medium heat. Add half of the celery and onions to each and cook stirring until vegetables begin to soften. Add the sliced mushrooms and continue to cook, stirring frequently. Sprinkle a little onion powder, celery salt, and salt and pepper on the vegetables. At this point you'll probably want to add another half stick of butter to each pan (I certainly did), but if you're concerned about clogged arteries, you can just use more chicken broth later.

Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the chopped (toasted) bread, half in each pan, and stir to combine. Add the fresh herbs and some chicken broth in each, until no longer sticking to the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle more onion powder and celery salt on each and stir to combine. Taste the stuffing and add more of whatever else you think it needs- maybe more chicken broth, maybe more seasonings. But don't over salt it-- remember it will be stuffed in a (brined) turkey and get even more flavor and will likely have salty gravy poured on top. Drool.

Pour into a large 9x13 baking dish and set aside until ready to use. Take a cheesecloth and pour stuffing inside the cheesecloth, tie it up, and stuff it in the turkey (this makes it easier to remove once you're ready). Once finished in the turkey, mix with the rest of the stuffing that didn't fit in the turkey and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, until all the way cooked through and crisp on the top and soft on the bottom.


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