My Mom’s Old Fashioned, Turkey Stuffing, almost
It’s the day before Thanksgiving and today, as always, I’m preparing my Mom’s Thanksgiving Stuffing, almost. The little extra added to my Turkey Stuffing that differs from my Mom’s is the addition of fresh herbs, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, chopped up, then added in to the softened buttery onion and celery. Other than that, my Mom’s recipe and technique are the same.
In a bit of nostalgia, I found a newspaper article I had written in 1986 on Turkey Stuffing, interviewing a representative from Pepperidge Farms. I got a laugh out of the first paragraph where I referred to many people as often preferring their Mother’s Stuffing more than any other, things have not changed much for me where it regards the preparation of Turkey stuffing.
Being a food magazine addict, one of those folks who just cannot help themselves from being attracted to purchasing the newest glossy editions that line supermarkets shelves loaded with gorgeous photos prior to the holiday season spotlighting creating the best holiday meal ever, but even then, despite the annual interesting recipe variations in beautiful food magazines, Turkey Stuffing is one dish I simply do not vary.
One year I tried an interesting recipe variation with my turkey stuffing, it was quite good, and guests loved it but I really missed the simplicity and flavor of my Mom’s Old Fashioned, plain but flavorful turkey stuffing.
Today, there are lots of ready packaged bread cubes offered plain or seasoned both hard and soft and I could even use baguettes in preparation of the annual Thanksgiving Turkey Stuffing but even so, I still buy loaves of sliced white bread preparing the slices into their stale state before tearing them into coarse pieces and reserving them in a couple of long plastic containers readied for the moment of stuffing preparation.
Today my Grandson, the J-Dude helps me prepare my Mom’s Stuffing. He calls her G.G. (abbreviation for Great Grandmother.) I suppose its all about the spirit of the holiday and giving Thanks not just for what we have but more importantly who we have been blessed to have in our lives.
My Mom never really shared the same excitement for creating food as I always have, but she is certainly one of the truest, kindest, caring and most genuine individuals I have ever known and this is much to be Thankful for. And besides that, she always made really, really great Thanksgiving Turkey Stuffing! Thanks Mom!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone, to you and yours!
My Mom's Old Fashioned, Turkey Stuffing, almost
- 3 extra large family size bags sliced white bread
- 8-9 stalks celery, cleaned, a few leaves included
- 6 small to medium onions
- 1 teaspoon each celery seed, celery salt, garlic powder, plus more if desired
- 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt, plus more according to taste
- 2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
- 1 bunch Italian style parsley, large stems removed, washed, thoroughly dried, chopped
- 8-10 Sage leaves, chopped
- 3-4 three inch branches rosemary, removed from stem, chopped
- 12 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed from stems
- 4 sticks butter, cut into pieces
- 1 cup chicken stock
- Purchase the bread a few days in advance
- Two Days Before Preparing Stuffing: Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Lay bread across full sized baking sheets, not overlapping the bread too much, bake for twenty minutes, turn over the bread slices and continue to cook until the bread is hard and free from moisture, break bread into coarse pieces and set into a long open air container
- Alternatively, lay bread slices across a long counter overnight, next morning turn over pieces and let sit another half day, break up stale bread into coarse pieces and put into a long open air container to continue to harden
- Prepare Stuffing one day in advance of Roasting the Turkey
- Cut celery and onion into one inch pieces then separately pulse them in the bowl of a food processor until just minced- avoid over pulsing
- Heat a large sized stock pot, drop in half of the butter pieces, melt, swirl to cover the bottom of the pan
- Add in chopped celery and onion cooking on very low heat around five minutes
- Sprinkle in the celery seed, celery salt, garlic powder and one teaspoon each of the salt and pepper, cook for one minute
- Stir in the fresh chopped parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
- A few handfuls at a time begin adding in half of the broken pieces of stale bread, stirring well throughout to combine the bread with the vegetables and herbs
- As the bread softens, drop in the other half of the butter and begin adding in the other half of the stale bread pieces, stir well throughout letting the butter continue to melt with the hot stuffing in the pot
- Add in the remaining teaspoons of salt and pepper, stir, check seasoning, adding in more salt and pepper to taste
- Continue stirring and cooking then pour in the chicken stock around the bottom of the pot, stir well throughout and this will moisten the stuffing slightly enough to fully bring the mixture together
- Cook another ten minutes, stirring mixture constantly until all of the bread is softened and hot
- Transfer stuffing into one or two very large, long rectangular dishes, let cool to room temperature then lightly cover and refrigerate overnight until it is time to stuff the turkey
- Just before Roasting the Turkey, preheat oven to designated temperature
- Remove your cleaned, chilled turkey from the refrigerator and set into roasting pan
- Stuff both the front and back cavities of the turkey with the stuffing immediately before setting into the oven
- Any stuffing that does not fit into your turkey may be heated for around a half hour in a serving dish covered with aluminum foil