Thanksgiving side dish: old-fashioned bread and celery stuffing

You don't need to stuff a turkey to make this delicious dressing for Thanksgiving. It also makes a good vegetarian option for your table spread.

Palatable Pastime
A classic, simple Thanksgiving side dish that won't take you hours to make.

Traditional moist dressing, baked outside of the bird. I make this when I am cooking a turkey breast without the cavity.

This is a purist kind of recipe for stuffing/dressing. It has a simple yet wonderful flavor that is the perfect accompaniment to any roast bird. It also works well inside the bird, but make sure your stuffing comes up to temp to be safe – to do this, when the turkey is resting before I carve it, I take the stuffing out of the bird, pop it into a pan, cover with foil and bake until it gets to 165 to 170 degrees F. This way you can be sure to safely cook any poultry juice that ran into it, as well as have all that inside the bird flavor!

This recipe is the way my mom made her stuffing when I was growing up, and I still prefer it as an adult. I spent many nights before Thanksgiving helping her chop up the veggies and get the stuffing together. Now that she has passed, it is a memory I will treasure forever. If you have small children of your own, make sure you have them help you with your Thanksgiving feast. Small children can easily tear up stale bread and older children can learn to chop and mix. It is something that one day they will treasure always as a memory and do with children of their own. Thanksgiving is a family experience!

If you use dried herbs instead of fresh, use only one third of the amount. Poultry seasoning can sub for all of it together if you prefer. Bell’s is a good brand. You can also easily make your own.

Old-fashioned bread and celery dressing or stuffing

Serves 4 to 6 

12 ounces dry bread cubes
2 cups diced celery
2 cups chopped onions
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
8 tablespoons butter
2-1/2 cups turkey broth or 2-1/2 cups chicken broth

1. Saute the onions, celery, herbs, salt, and pepper in butter until soft.

2. Combine with the bread cubes by tossing lightly, adding enough broth to make it wet but not too soggy, and place in an oblong baking pan.

3. Cover with foil and bake at 325 degrees F. for 45 minutes.

4. Uncover and bake 15 minutes more.

5. If you are stuffing a bird, pack it lightly into the cavity as it expands as it cooks. Give it room to grow. If you have excess, place it in a baking pan and follow directions for cooking that part outside of the bird.

6. If your stuffing is not 165 to 170 degrees F when you remove it from the bird, place it in a baking dish covered with foil or a lid, and continue to bake outside of the bird until it is at that temp to practice good food safety.

Related post on Palatable Pastime: Cornbread stuffing mix

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