Here’s one of the recipes I’m most excited about this Thanksgiving, an idea for very basic stuffing that sums up my credo this year: Keep it simple.
Oh, we’ve had some good times in our kitchen, adding dried cranberries and sausage and apples to our stuffing, doctoring up mashed potatoes with goat cheese and chives. But this year, I’m hewing to the classic versions of the classics, and sprinkling in just one or two new additions.
That’s why I like the side ideas here, because they offer suggestions for that experimental slot on the table. You’ve probably got a green bean casserole memory memorized, but perhaps the Creamy Squash Gratin or Mashed Potato Casserole will offer a creative outlet this year.
Instead of pie, try a galette, a dessert that evokes similar vibes but is easier to make and doesn’t require aesthetic perfection.
This stuffing recipe is adapted from Bon Appétit’s “Simple Is Best” series, and it is so very quintessential Thanksgiving. First of all, there’s a ton of butter. The one note I got from my husband about this recipe was “Maybe too much butter,” and he was right, so I scaled it back slightly from the original recipe. But we’re keeping most of it, because this is the one holiday during which butter is not to be counted.
I browned my butter a bit longer than even my recipe calls for, and while it was wonderfully nutty and toasty, I’d recommend just letting it foam lightly in the skillet for a more classic flavor. To that, you add onions and celery, then fold the mixture into a bowl of dried-out bread and a flurry of fresh herbs.
The most important step comes before you turn on the stovetop, though. You must have good bread for this recipe. It doesn’t need to be a world-class loaf, but it does need to be something you would want to eat a fresh piece of. Something like sourdough brings a really nice flavor and chew to the finished stuffing, so that’s my preference.
About 1 pound bread, preferably sourdough, torn into bite-sized pieces
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups chopped yellow onions
1 ½ cups celery, sliced into ¼-inch slices
½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
2 large eggs
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Scatter bread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring occasionally, until dried out, about 1 hour. Let cool; transfer to a very large bowl.
Butter a 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking dish with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the butter and set aside.
Meanwhile, melt the rest of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Let it foam gently, cooking until fragrant, then add onions and celery. Stir often until just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add to bowl with bread; stir in herbs, salt and pepper. Drizzle in 1 ¼ cups broth and toss gently. Let cool.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk 1 ¼ cups broth and eggs in a small bowl. Add to bread mixture; fold gently until very well combined. Make sure you don’t see any large pieces of egg. Transfer to prepared dish, cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
Uncover and continue to bake until top is browned and crisp, at least 30 minutes but up to 45 minutes.
Source: Adapted from Bon Appétit