Today, to discourage unwanted food safety issues, we discourage packing a bread stuffing inside of any poultry cavity as the poultry cooks. It really is unnecessary to place stuffing inside a poultry cavity to achieve good flavor in the stuffing, and the risk of food safety issues is just too great to take the risk at home and try to stuff a very large turkey to the gunwales!
Why not prepare a variety of stuffing options to please various palates and preferences? You can adjust your offerings to also allow any family, friends, and guests who may have specific dietary restrictions to also enjoy the holiday meal.
This stuffing is fairly traditional, however, it does focus on using an assortment of whole grain breads for homemade bread cubes, that is, if everyone who will be at the table can tolerate whole grains. If anyone has dietary restrictions, then please do seek out a recipe for using say a gluten-free bread, for example, to make the stuffing. If no one has specific restrictions, it still might be best to cut up your own bread or specifically look for bread cubes that are NOT pre-seasoned, as often added unnecessary sodium might be found in some of those commercially seasoned bread cubes offerings.
You can adjust the herb mixture you use for the stuffing much more easily when you start with bread selections you made yourself. I start saving bread slices a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving and freeze them so that I will have plenty of a variety of bread cubes ready as the big day approaches. When it comes to adjusting the herb mixture, just remember you can always add a tiny bit more, but you really can’t take anything out once it is added. Since herb and spice pungency in part will be dependent upon the age of any herb or spice, especially if it is pre-ground, always check the taste of the stuffing while it is still cooking and adjust any herb seasonings as desired.
Baked Savory Bread Stuffing
Yield: 6-8 small side dish servings
- 6-8 thick slices assorted whole grain day-old bread cut into ~ 3/4″ cubes (of if you prefer 1/2″ cubes)
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 3/4 cup diced onion
- 1 Tbsp margarine or butter
- 1/2 tsp marjoram
- 1/4 tsp sage
- 1/4 tsp thyme
- 3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley or 3 tsp dried parsley flakes
- As desired, fresh or purchased reduced sodium chicken or vegetable stock or broth (or substitute some pan drippings from the roasted poultry for some of the broth if dietary patterns will allow for same)
- In a large saute pan, melt the margarine or butter, add the celery and onion, cooking until the celery is soft and the onion is translucent.
- Toss bread with herbs (marjoram, sage, and parsley) and add to pan.
- Gradually add enough chicken or vegetable stock or broth to achieve the desired texture. Heat through thoroughly. Serve warm.