hubs super stuffing

Hubs super stuffing mix

This is the same basic stuffing that my mother made every Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I often helped out, especially with the stirring!  Even yankees (who are typically horrified by “cornbread” stuffing) have given it rave reviews.  Leftovers are to be treasured – see note below.  The recipe is simple and flexible enough to allow for some variations, too.

Do not use eggs in this recipe!  They aren’t necessary.  The gluten from the bread will release during baking and hold the stuffing together nicely.  Also, not using eggs allows you to prepare the stuffing and set it aside, at room temperature, for hours if necessary.  Raw eggs spoil quickly and by not using them you can taste the raw stuffing safely to see how the flavor balance is going while you make it. 

Yield = enough to stuff a fairly large turkey plus fill a 9X12 baking pan 

Ingredients:

*16 oz. Dried cornbread  (one large box of cornbread mix, cooked 2 days ahead and allowed to sit out and dry)
*16 oz. Dried white bread (approx 2/3 loaf of white sandwich bread toasted and allowed to dry for 2 days)
1 Tbsp Sage (dried – do not use fresh)
1 Tbsp Cumin
1 Tbsp Paprika (sweet)
5 large stalks celery
1 large white onion
1 can chicken broth or turkey broth (do not use drippings)
½ pound butter (2 sticks)
Salt and pepper to taste

*Note concerning bread:

An easy substitute for baking cornbread and toasting slices of bread is to use Pepperidge Farm™ cornbread and herb (bread) stuffing mixes (one 16 oz. package of each).  They come in cellophane packages and contain minimal seasonings, so the ingredients don’t change.  By using them, you can prepare the stuffing the same day and no pre-planning is necessary.

If doing bread “from scratch” break up dried bread into “crumbles” into large mixing bowl.  Instructions below are for either packaged or “from scratch” bread.  The results will be the same.

Preparation

Slice and dice the celery and onion into small (approx ¼ inch) pieces.  Place in large saucepan and cover with water.  Add one stick of butter.  Boil until celery is tender and onions are opaque – approximately ten to fifteen minutes.  This is a great source of kitchen “aroma” for the holiday, by the way.

Combine cornbread, bread, and dry seasonings in a very large mixing bowl.  A huge spoon with a wide, comfortable handle is recommended for stirring. 

Add the can of chicken broth and stir again to moisten. 

Drain celery and onions, reserving liquid.  Add celery and onions to mixture.  Stir thoroughly again.

Adjust “moisture” of mixture by adding reserved vegetable liquid about ½ cup at a time.  Consistency should be thoroughly damp, but not “soppy” like a batter.

“Adjust” seasoning by tasting the mixture.  The way it tastes now will be quite similar to the way it will taste after baking.  Start by adding salt to taste.  Stir thoroughly after each adjustment (yes, you’ll get tired of stirring, but don’t skimp on the effort).  This will accentuate the flavor of everything else so it is critical to get the salt level corrected first.  Adjust other seasonings after salt is “right”.  The sage is hardest to work with – too much will make the stuffing bitter.

Baking

Fill the turkey cavity with the stuffing using your hands or a large spoon.  Pack it in tightly but don’t let it overflow since it will expand during cooking of the bird.  Bake the turkey according to “stuffed” directions – usually at least 30 minutes longer than a non-stuffed bird.  I use a roasting bag for my turkey so it stays naturally moist without basting and the stuffing creates even more moisture in the bag. 

Spoon remainder of stuffing into a 9X12 baking pan that has been sprayed with Pam or another release agent.  Level with spoon.  Cut remaining butter into pats and place on top.  Bake in 350 degree oven for approximately 45 minutes to one hour until top is lightly browned.

Serving

Remove stuffing from the bird to a bowl for serving.  “Fluff” with a fork.  Stuffing from the bird will be darker in color, but somewhat more flavorful than the pan-baked stuffing.

The pan-baked stuffing can be sliced and removed with a spatula after the stuffing has cooled for about thirty minutes.  Slices about ½ inch thick by about three inches long make a nice presentation.

Covering the pan with foil after it has come out of the oven will keep the stuffing warm for an hour or two, if you need it.

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