Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Best Homemade Stuffing (and it is cheap!)

Best homemade stuffing ever!

I've always been a Stovetop stuffing kind of girl. It was all I knew. It is cheap, easy, and really, I kind of like the way it tastes. But I had heard rumors that there are far better stuffings out there and that I hadn't lived until I had expanded my stuffing and dressing horizons.
Armed with nothing more than this information, I went to Pinterest and then Google to find a good homemade stuffing recipe. I could link you to the one I attempted to go with. But really by the time I had perfected it the way I liked it, it was only a distant cousin to the original.
Speaking of distant cousins, I made this stuffing to go along with the turkey I also made, and shared at a dinner with 17 of my own distant and not-so-distant cousins. It was a huge hit, and 2 days later I'm still getting comments on it!
Without further ado, my all-new, personalized, delicious, homemade, inexpensive, and super easy to make, Christmas stuffing.

1 loaf wheat bread (I bought mine for $0.49 in the "day old" section of my grocery store.)
1 loaf white bread (see above, same thing)
1 bag fresh cranberries
3 red delicious apples
3-5 celery stalks (depending on how much you like crunch in your stuffing. Much to my own surprise, I loved it.)
a few green onions (depending on how much you like onion. I don't care for it, and only put in 3.)
4 cups of apple juice
2-4 cups of turkey drippings (I really didn't measure how much I put in, I just kept ladling it in throughout the day, and stirring it up. This is again completely to taste, depending on how moist you like your stuffing. Again, I had only had Stovetop prior to this, and like my stuffing VERY moist, practically soupy.)
1-2 tbsp of butter or margarine
1-2 cloves of garlic (depending on how much you like garlic. I'm a little to medium garlic fan, and only put in 1 clove. It was barely discernible in the final product. If you like garlic, you'll want more than one clove.)
2-3 tbsp Fresh parsley
1-2 sprigs Fresh thyme
1 sprig Fresh rosemary (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Dice/cube your apples. (I didn't peel mine.)
Chop up celery and onions.
Toast all bread till it is nice and crunchy. (I toasted mine the night before. I live in a humid climate where it is hard to get bread dry enough. So I toasted it and let it sit out exposed overnight to dry it out enough.)
Put apples and cranberries in a bowl and pour all the apple juice over it. Let it sit while you are doing the rest of the steps.  Make sure this is a big bowl that you can combine all the ingredients into later.
Cube and cut up the bread. (I did this by hand and didn't bother trying to cut it. Worked fine for me.)
Saute the butter, onion, celery, garlic, parsley, thyme, and rosemary just 2-3 minutes. Just enough to break out the flavors.
Mix sauteed ingredients into the bread.
Combine the bread with the apples, cranberries, and juice.
Stir together well.
If you have hot turkey drippings you can add, do it as you stir and combine all of the ingredients.  But don't use up all of the drippings yet.
I put all of my ingredients together into a heavy saucepan that I could stick into the oven. You could also use a casserole dish for this.
Don't worry about making it as moist as you would like it to be quite yet. You can keep adding in hot turkey drippings later.
Put in the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
I still had several hours before we would be eating after I made it (and then had to take it to someone else's house). It held up perfectly. Keeping it in the saucepan I baked it in, and putting a lid over it, I put it on the stove at their home, over low heat, and stirred it periodically, and kept adding drippings.
I should also add that I had a saltwater brined turkey (really the only way to brine a turkey! It is delicious!), so my drippings added a great deal of flavor to the recipe.
It was absolutely beautiful in the pan! And tasted delicious! The bread was nice and moist, and the celery and cranberries added a nice crunch and tang to it.

This served 18 adults and we didn't have one crumb of leftovers. But we did have more than a few servings each!
I liked it so much that I'm going to make some more just for me later this week tonight!

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