Over the years I have made a lot of different kinds of stuffing. Oyster, chorizo and cornbread, apples pecan and sausage, wild rice with nuts and dried fruit, you name I have made it! I love them all, but sometimes they are too complicated and tend to overshadow the rest of the meal. This is always one of my favorite stuffings. It's basic and simple and is packed with subtle herb and onion flavors. This stuffing is the perfect partner to every flavor, and is just delicious as a leftover on its own with some turkey gravy.
The trick to an exceptional stuffing is to start with the best bread you can find. For me that meant a trip to our local German bakery, Guglhupf, for a loaf of sourdough bread and a loaf of rosemary olive oil bread. I will buy the bread a full week before thanksgiving, cut it into 1-inch cubes and place it in the turkey roasting pan and let it slowly dry out in the oven (no heat). I just toss it once a day to make sure everything dries out equally. This way the bread is ready to absorb all the flavor you are going to add, without becoming a soggy dense brick.
I also recommend making your own turkey stock for this. How do you make turkey stock before thanksgiving you ask? Easy! Buy two large uncooked turkey wings and about 6 turkey necks, roast them at 350 for three hours, then add them to a pot with one large onion, 3 stalks of celery and a cup of carrots, some rosemary and thyme and slowly cook, covered, overnight on low heat (about 6-8 hours). Strain through a colander and you are good to go! The flavor difference in remarkable!
Sage and Onion Sourdough Stuffing
(makes enough to stuff a 21 pound turkey and make a 9x13 pan of dressing)
one loaf sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes and air dried
one loaf rosemary olive oil bread, cut into 1-inch cubes and air dried
2 large onions chopped
2 large shallots diced
5 stalks celery, diced
1 1/2 sticks butter
2 Tbsp minced fresh rosemary
1/4 cup fresh sage minced
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tsp salt
4 cups turkey stock, preferably homemade (or chicken stock)
3 eggs, beaten
In a large deep skillet melt butter. Add onions, shallots and celery and cook over medium high heat, tossing occasionally until onions are translucent, about 20 minutes. Add rosemary,sage, thyme, pepper and salt, and cook for 5 minutes longer. Add turkey stock and stir. Remove from heat.
In a large bowl, place the dried bread cubes, and pour turkey stock mixture over. Toss to coat. Add 3 eggs beaten slightly and toss to combine.
Stuffing mixed and ready to be baked both in the bird and in a separate baking dish
Stuff Turkey. Place remainng stuffing in a well-buttered 9x13 pan. Top with additional pats of butter. Cover with foil. Bake stuffing 30 minutes at 350F, covered with foil. Then remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes. Serve immediately.