Monday, November 19, 2012

Best-Ever Stuffing

4:55AM, Sunday.

I found myself in the kitchen, spoon in hand, poised over an open container of cold Stuffing.

Shoveling in, as it were.

(I don't care if you put it in the bird or not, it's still called stuffing.)


See, my family's recipe is the best, bar none. This stuffing is the meaning of Thanksgiving (I'm almost not kidding.) This stuffing is the kind of stuff you wake up craving in May and cook even if turkey and gravy won't be on the menu again till November.

If you were planning on doing boxed stuffing this year, I beseech--I beg--you to try this out instead.

Opatrny (oh-PAT-truh-nee) Stuffing
  • 2 (approx.) loaves of bread, one pumpernickel rye, the other your choice. (Great opportunity to get rid of those two orphaned hot dog buns that have been in the freezer since two Julys ago)
  • 1 roll Jimmy Dean sausage
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • 1 med/lg onion
  • 2 apples
  • 2 cups of warm water
  • 1 cube chicken bouillon
  • 1 stick of butter (I used salted)
  • Parsley, Sage, and Black Pepper
  1. Tear about half the bread into your largest oven-proof container. An extra large metal mixing bowl will do in a pinch. A 9"x13" will probably be too small.
  2. Brown the sausage in a large skillet and add the sausage to the bread, reserving the drippings.
  3. Chop the celery and onions, and begin to saute in the sausage drippings. (You can add more oil if necessary.) Dissolve the cube of bouillon in 2 cups of warm water. Once the vegetables are beginning to become tender, add the chicken broth and simmer until the vegetables are translucent. Probably ten minutes for the saute and simmer combined. Then, put the whole stick of butter into the pan and allow it to melt while you chop the apples. Add the apples and cook another couple minutes until tender.
  4. Do not drain, but pour the entire broth/veggie mixture over the bread and stir. Season with a LOT of parsley, sage, and black pepper -- add more than you think it needs, because the bread will absorb a lot of the flavor. I do it by adding sage until, after stirring, you can still smell it without bending over.
  5. Tear more bread to fill your container now that what you've got has been flattened by liquid and stirring.
  6. Cover, and bake with the turkey for its last hour in the oven. You can stuff the turkey with some of it if you want. And you can omit the butter if you really want to, but then you'll have to grease the baking pan.

It is traditional in my family to double this recipe, regardless of how small the gathering may be. Hopefully the leftovers will last through an entire week, because this is one dish it's impossible to tire of.



Happy Thanksgiving! What are your plans this year?

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