A Bakers & Best Thanksgiving: Bread Stuffing
This week I’m posting a series of Thanksgiving recipes. See yesterday’s post for a some tasty pumpkin cornbread!.
What Thanksgiving meal would be complete without stuffing? It would be like having a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving without toast, popcorn, and jelly beans. Stuffing is without a doubt my favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal. When we go to my aunt’s for Thanksgiving we will always make a plate (or two, or three) of leftovers to take home, since she puts together a spread that could feed a small army. And I know a lot of people use that as an expression to mean lots of food, but I mean it literally; she could feed several companies of soldiers with everything she makes.
So when it comes time to put together leftovers I will basically just take a plate of stuffing home. My love for this dish shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. It’s bread, peppers, onions, and a few other things. But those three are to me the foundation of any great meal. As I was making this giant pan of stuffing I found out my wife isn’t the biggest fan of it…oh well, more for me!
I was hoping to make this with some homemade baguettes but I wouldn’t have those out of the oven until Sunday afternoon. In an effort to spread out the cooking I decided to make this Saturday so I walked down the street to pick up two baguettes. Even though we don’t go there very often (or buy bread from there for obvious reasons) it is quite a luxury to be a 90 second walk from Zingerman’s.
It is an especially nice feeling to saunter past the long line of people waiting for sandwiches in a rain/snow mix and head right inside to get bread. They were unloading some fresh baguettes when I got there so it was perfect timing. I think the person at the counter mentioned they had chestnut (maybe it was walnut) baguettes, I might have to go back and give those a try. For this I opted for regular french baguettes.
The toasted bread layer on the top is a delicious contrast to the warm and moist texture below. I’ve had rice stuffing before and cornbread stuffing too but I think this bread stuffing will forever hold the top spot for me. Make sure to leave some room on your plate though, because there is more to come tomorrow!
- 3 Tbsp butter (divided)
- 3 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 3 onions, diced
- 3 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 peppers (any color), diced
- 1 tsp dried sage
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground pepper
- 21 ounces dried bread cubes (about 2 baguettes)
- 3½ C chicken stock
- 2 eggs, beaten
- Preheat oven to 400 F and use 1 T of the butter to grease a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish.
- In a tall skillet or pot melt the remaining butter over medium high heat. Add the diced celery, onion, pepper, and carrots and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Continue to cook as needed until the vegetables have softened.
- When ready add the sage, thyme, and rosemary. Cook for another minute then transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- To the large bowl add the bread cubes, chicken stock, eggs, salt, and pepper. Stir using a spatula or wooden spoon until everything has been distributed evenly. This will be tougher at first but the bread cubes will begin to soften as they get wet, making it easier to stir.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared dish and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil then bake for another 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is golden brown. You can prepare the mixture up to a day in advance and bake the stuffing right before you are ready to serve it if you prefer.