I don't feel strongly about stuffing. At least I didn't until now. I was charged with bringing the stuffing to Thanksgiving dinner, and knowing that my host was a stuffing purist, I felt like it was time to find "the one". This is it. This is THE stuffing. This is MY stuffing. Don't be angry at me for sharing after Thanksgiving. You can, and should, make this one at Christmas and any time of the year you desire stuffing. It's really THAT good. Now, this is a very traditional stuffing. It's not fancy. With that in mind, you need to use the very best quality ingredients. This isn't the place to use sandwich bread. Go to the bakery and get some lovely french bread. The baker at my new Hy-Vee so kindly offered to cut this into stuffing strips for me, so he even saved me some work. Tuck that trick into your back pocket. I made this stuffing the night before, and just baked before we ate. Make ahead homemade stuffing? Sign yourself up.
Herb and Apple Stuffing
- 6 cups torn chunks French, sourdough or country loaf, torn into bits
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large Spanish or sweet onion, chopped small
- 1 large or 2 small stalks celery, diced small
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt, plus more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large or 2 small firm, tart tart apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored and diced small
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 3 sage leaves, minced
- 1/2 to 1 cup cup turkey, chicken or vegetable stock or broth (I used vegetable)
- 1 large egg
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Spread bread cubes in single layer on large rimmed baking sheet. Bake until pale golden, stirring occasionally, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool in pan while you prepare the other ingredients.
Generously butter a 2-quart baking dish (a 9×5-inch loaf, 8- or 9-inch square dish, etc.) with 1 tablespoon butter. Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, thyme, salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper and cook for 2 minutes, until becoming translucent. Add celery and cook for 2 more minutes. Add apple and saute until a bit tender, 3 to 4 minutes more.
Place bread in large mixing bowl. Scrape contents of skillet on top. Whisk egg and 1/2 cup broth or stock together and pour over. Stir in parsley and sage. Spoon into prepared pan. If mixture looks a little dry, pour remaining 1/2 cup broth over it. I poured about half of this over the top. In hindsight I wish I had poured over the full amount. You can throw it in the fridge overnight at this point if you want. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until brown on top and no liquid appears if you insert a knife vertically into the center of the stuffing pan and turn it slightly. I doubled this and placed in a large oval dish equivalent to a 9x13. Leftover stuffing is the bomb.