A basic country stuffing was often made from nothing more than stale bread, salt pork, an egg, hot water, sage, salt and pepper. This recipe is a bit more elaborate, and I have designed it as a master recipe so that you can use any combination of grains, bread cubes, fruit and nuts. Note that this recipe is designed to be baked separately from the bird and therefore it has more liquid than regular recipes to prevent it from drying out in the oven. Since it only takes a half hour to bake, it can be put into the oven at the point the turkey is done, since the bird should rest for 20 minutes before carving. This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for larger crowds.
4 cups cooked rice, barley, kasha, millet, bulgur, cornbread, or homemade bread cubes
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/4 cup scallions or chives, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup canned chestnuts, apples, prunes, or raisins, chopped (optional)
1/2 cup walnuts, pecans, or almonds, toasted (optional)
1/2 pound sausage meat, crumbled and browned
2 tablespoons fresh sage, thyme, or oregano, minced or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried
1/4 cup white wine
3/4 cup chicken stock
3/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. If using homemade bread, it should be chopped into 1/2-inch cubes and then spread out onto a baking sheet in one layer. They should be baked in a 225-degree oven for 25 to 40 minutes, depending on the type of bread, until they are dry and hard. Or, simply leave them out on the baking sheet for 2 to 3 days.
2. Heat the butter and olive oil in a skillet and saute onions for 5 minutes over medium heat. Add celery and scallions or chives and saute for 2 minutes. Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl. Prunes and raisins must be soaked in hot water for 5 minutes before draining and chopping or they may be soaked in a 50/50 mixture of sherry and water for 2 hours.
3. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 2-quart baking dish and add stuffing. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes covered. Remove aluminum foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the stuffing is brown and crispy on top.
Recipes from Chris Kimball and America's Test Kitchen.