In the powerplay for key plate location and eating supremacy, stuffing is my champion well beyond Thanksgiving. Don’t get me wrong – I adore mashed potatoes, roast turkey, string beans and a biblical-worthy proclamation of gravy over all. But at the end of the day, the one dish that I jones about above all others is glorious stuffing.
For a goodly while, I’ve been taking part in (if not orchestrating) the Thanksgiving meal. I can remember the first time I was allowed in the kitchen to help out my paternal grandmother make sweet potatoes, and what a gift it was. It was like a vote of confidence that I was old enough to help out with the cooking (and thus, not going to eff things up). The meal itself was full of such history, from the family recipe for Carolina-style cornbread to two special versions of dressing, my favorite one with oysters. When it came to my making the meal myself years later, I carried with me the memories as much as the flavors and ingredients. This stuffing was less a recipe and more an extension of my favorite type of cooking – completely unfussy ingredients turning into deliciousness with fail-proof techniques. My hope is that if ever you end up cooking this meal for you and yours, and you don’t already have a beloved stuffing recipe, that maybe you’ll try this one out for inclusion in the pantheon of cherished Thanksgiving favorites. It’s really that simple and lovely that you’ll be happy to make it a part of your fam.
2 bags of Pepperidge Farm stuffing (I prefer the crumbs to the cubes, but either works)
2 stalks of celery
1 large onion
1 cup of craisins
6 c. of chicken stock
2 sprigs of sage
4 sprigs of thyme
1/2 tsp. of white pepper
1 tsp. of black pepper
1/4 tsp. of salt
1 stick of butter plus 2 tbs.
1 tbs. of olive oil
Begin by chopping your carrots, onion, celery and apples – I like to just throw everything in the food processor and chop into a rough dice. Stem and chop your sage and thyme. Set the herbs and veggies aside.
In a saucepan, warm your stock with 1 stick of the butter, white pepper, black pepper and salt. Add the craisins and allow to reconstitute. Let it hang out while you prep your veggies.
In a large skillet, add the 2 tbs. of butter and 1 tbs. of olive oil. Add the veggies and herbs and cook until softened, but not browned. Add the veggies to a large mixing bowl and stir in the stuffing. Pour the broth over the stuffing and stir to moisten. Turn out into a greased casserole dish.
Bake stuffing on 375° for 35-45 minutes, or until browned on top. Serve on a prime spot on your dinner plate.