Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Basic Stuffing

Yup, the holidays are coming up. According to Hobby Lobby, they never left, and according to most other stores, they were coming in September. Now they really ARE coming. Halloween is past and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. What are you making??

When I was little I thought the whole purpose of Thanksgiving was to thank people for the candy you got on Halloween. Makes sense right? No better way than to make a huge meal and fall asleep at 3pm for this task. Now I know Thanksgiving means so much more. I count my blessings all year round, and believe me I have a LOT to be thankful for. It is nice, though, to have a day where we can really reflect, maybe write a few things down, and be with people that are special.

We used to have Thanksgiving at our house when I was growing up and we made a traditional turkey stuffed with lots of good stuffing. I remember my Dad mixing all the ingredients in a 5 gallon bucket because we didn't have a big enough pot or bowl. My Dad always took food very seriously....there is no question where I get my obsession from.

This is the stuffing my Mom and Dad made. One the THE BEST smells around the holidays is mirepoix - the mixture of onion, celery, and carrots cooking slowly in some oil and butter. My Mom would leave it on the stove and stir it every now and then and I would always go up to it and pretend to be helping by stirring when all I wanted was to be as close as possible to that smell. So that is how this recipe starts. Equal parts onion, celery, and carrot, are added to my big saucepan to get nice and soft in both olive oil and butter.

Well, I guess this recipe REALLY starts with the bread. I didn't make this bread, but I know who did, and I know it only contains flour, yeast, salt, and water. I cut it up and let it sit out to get stale overnight. This is important because you want them to absorb all the yummy stock you are going to add to it!

Once the veggies are nice and cooked, I add my  stale bread cubes, some ground thyme, salt, pepper, and oregano. I put oregano in everything. Then I add my stock. I used my homemade stock from the freezer. Then you just stir it up until the stock is absorbed. Check it for may need more salt or herbs.

This is the most basic stuffing recipe I know! It is simple but so good, especially if you use good stock. From here you can add all kinds of things. You can add meat, like bacon or sausage. Or you can add dried fruit and nuts for a sweet spin (in this case, eliminate the thyme and also add some apple juice with the stock). My husband's family adds oysters. I think walnuts would be good, or apples.

I served it with grilled chicken

My pictures aren't that great of the finished product thanks to the setting of the sun so early, but that is just part of the changing season, right?

Basic stuffing

1 cup onion, diced (about 1 large)
1 cup celery, diced (about 2 stalks)
1 cup carrots, diced (about 2 medium)
1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp. ground thyme
1 tsp. oregano
5 cups bread cubes, let sit until stale
2 1/2 cups chicken or turkey stock

Saute onion, celery, and carrots in oil and butter over medium-low heat until completely cooked and soft. Add seasonings and bread cubes and toss to coat. Add the stock slowly and combine until it is all absorbed. If serving as is, go for it. You can also put it in a buttered dish, top it with parmesan cheese (or not) and bake it for another 15 minutes or so to get a crispy top. You can also stuff your turkey with it. Just make sure the internal temperature of the stuffing is 165 degrees before serving it!

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