An approximate recipe, written down for the first time in 2013. Use more or less, add extras, take out things. For 20 people, I would double this recipe or else you won’t have enough leftover stuffing for those long-awaited meals the day after Thanksgiving.
Turkey stuffing is delicious when baked in the oven. It is sublime if you put the stuffing into a turkey and then roast the turkey. Juices from the turkey season the stuffing in a very wonderful way. However, for the last couple of decades a controversy has arisen about cooking stuffing inside the turkey. It is claimed that the stuffing does not get hot enough. Yet flavor is sacrificed if the stuffing (no longer used for stuffing so we would have to call it “dressing”) is just placed in a pan and baked.
In 2013 we found a new method from Julia Child via Cooks Illustrated that mounds the stuffing under a cut-up turkey that is then roasted. This method produces a larger amount of stuffing perfumed with turkey juices, and it is safe.
2 sticks of butter (1 cup)
1 loaf of Turkey Stuffing Bread, made into bread crumbs in the Cusinart
2 medium onions, diced
4 ribs of celery including leaves, sliced thinly
8 ounces of mushrooms, sliced
handful of fresh sage leaves, chiffonaded (or 1 tablespoon of dried sage)
4 thyme branches, stemmed (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
handful of fresh parsley, diced
any other fresh herbs you have—basil, oregano, rosemary, tarragon, etc.
Salt and ground black pepper
Melt 1 stick of the butter in a large skillet and add the onions. Season with salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes and add the celery. Cook 5 minutes and add the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper again. Cook another 5 minutes. Add the herbs to the veggie mix. Melt the other stick of butter in the skillet. Mix it all up.
Cool the veggies and herbs enough to either put in a freezer bag for the day of turkey cooking or use immediately.
Either put the defrosted veggies or the freshly-cooked veggies in a large mixing bowl, add the bread crumbs, and mix it all up.
Taste the stuffing. Add salt and pepper to taste. If it needs more herbs, add them too.
For your vegetarian guests, put stuffing in a baking dish and bake in the oven at about 350°F for about 30 minutes or until steaming hot.
For turkey-eaters, either put the stuffing in the turkey or cook the turkey atop the stuffing so it soaks up the delicious turkey-cooking juices.