Bread Stuffing

This is my adaptation of Mark Bitterman’s favorite stuffing, which is in turn an adaptation of James Beard’s. To make a day ahead, follow directions prior to baking. Refrigerate tightly covered, then bake alongside your turkey (let casserole dish warm to room temperature for 15 – 20 minutes before baking). If you don’t have a really big cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven, just do steps 2 – 3 in the heaviest pan you have and then toss with bread crumbs and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. No biggie. (For stuffing uses and leftover ideas, see Notes, below)

16 tablespoons butter
1 finely diced medium sweet yellow onion
4 ribs of celery, finely diced
2 chopped shallots
1 bunch green onions, white parts only, minced
1 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 cup walnuts, broken up
1 1/2 loaves Pepperidge Farm white sandwich bread, or another FIRM white bread (no Wonder bread)
leaves only from one small bunch parsley
salt and pepper

Make bread crumbs by running the bread, 4 – 6 slices, through a food processor or blender. You might Set aside.

Melt butter over medium heat in a very large, heavy skillet or Dutch oven (see note at top if you don’t have either). Add the onion and celery and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the shallots and cook an additional 2 minutes. Add the walnuts and cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 more minutes, when they start to brown.

Reduce heat to low. Add as many bread crumbs as will comfortably fit in the pan, plus the sage, salt, pepper, and green onions, and toss to mix. Taste and add salt or pepper if necessary. Remove from heat.

If you couldn’t fit all of the bread crumbs into your pan, simply toss the remaining bread crumbs and the stuffing from the pan together in a large bowl. Transfer to an oven-proof casserole dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. If baking with a turkey, put it in the oven during the last 45 minutes. You may also use this to stuff the turkey.


Leftover ideas and uses

Serve along pork chops.

Mix with dried cranberries or apples and use to stuff a butterflied pork tenderloin or butterflied boneless pork chops.

Reheat in a skillet with chunks of leftover turkey for a quick one-dish meal.

Stuff cabbage leaves, tomatoes, or bell pepper. Top with your favorite tomato sauce, bread crumbs, and Parmesan cheese and bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Stuff chicken, pheasant, or game hens.

Toss 2 cups with 5 beaten eggs. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes and serve slices at brunch.

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