My Dad became a home baker in his forties, and I use his French bread recipe which makes great loaves from four ingredients: flour, yeast, salt, and water. However, one of my oldest memories is of my Mom making Thanksgiving stuffing for the family's turkey. She was very intense in each step of her work. I remember watching her melt the butter and sautéing the celery and onions, salt, pepper, and herbs before pouring it all into a huge oblong pan. She then added the bread cubes, poured a cup or so of hot water onto the bread, and mixed it with her hands until it was the right consistency before she shoved it into the turkey's back end.
I've loved stuffing ever since. The taste of roasted celery, onion, turkey, and bread is good plain and warm, covered with gravy, or cold from the refrigerator. Maybe especially cold as the celery taste seems more intense. I make mine a little differently, using homemade bread and moistening it with chicken stock instead of water, but the celery, onion, and spices remain the same. I don't stuff the turkey either, but cut it into pieces and place them on top of the stuffing in an ancient roaster. Yum. I can hardly wait for next Thursday. Stuffing is high calorie, so it's a good thing I have it only once a year.
So here's the recipe, but this may be superfluous as I think most families already have their own favorite: Melt 1 to 1 ½ sticks of butter, add 1 large onion chopped into small pieces, 2 to 3 stalks of celery sliced crosswise, with ¼ to ½ tsp thyme, if desired, ¼ to ½ tsp sage, ¼ to ½ salt and ¼ tsp pepper and sauté until the vegetables are tender. Add 9 to 10 cups of dry (stale), cubed French bread and 1 cup of turkey or chicken broth. You can make a cup of turkey broth by simmering the turkey's liver, heart, and gizzard for twenty minutes. Use the salt in the liquid and omit from the dressing. The heart and gizzard can be chopped up and added to the dressing if desired. Jerusalem artichokes (I planted some this fall) are also good chopped up and added when sautéing the vegetables. This recipe is good for a 10 to 12-pound turkey.
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Heidi M. Thomas