any recipes? this is my first time and im torn between a cornbread stuffing or a garden of herbs and veggies?
If you're cooking for a large group, definitely go with the cornbread stuffing. The traditionalist like it, the anti-vegetable people like it, and even the foodie-gourmet types like it.
If you're cooking for just a few people and you know they're vegetable-lovers, then you can do the vegetable/herb mix.
I go with a traditional mix - cornbread (which I'm baking tonight), white bread (which I'll start drying tonight), sausage, celery, onions, and sage, plus chicken broth and butter. Chopped apples have been deemed "too weird" and are not being included, but they make a nice addition.
I started making this 10 years ago and people always love it. It's from Hudson's on the Bend restaurant in Austin, Texas.
Cornbread Stuffing With Liver Pate
2 onions, diced
1 bunch celery, diced
4 tablespoons garlic, minced
4 tablespoons rubbed sage
½ pound butter
2 red bell peppers, diced
2 poblano peppers, diced
2 jalapenos, diced
¾ cup liver pate, diced
3 cups corn kernels
16 cups cooked cornbread, crumbled
salt and black pepper to taste
1-2 cups turkey stock
In butter, sauté onions, celery, garlic and sage. Add peppers, sauté briefly, and remove from heat. Add liver and corn. Fold mixture into cornbread, season with salt and pepper, moisten with turkey stock as desired, and turn into a well-butterd 12x18x2 inch pan.
Bake at 350º until hot through and brown on top, about 45 minutes.
The best stuffing is your mom's stuffing, if you liked it. My mom did a very simple stuffing which I love. Plain but good. Saute minced onion, garlic, celery in butter with Bell's seasoning. Add to torn good white bread. Add more melted butter and fresh ground pepper. Should hold together when you squeeze it in your fist but not be so wet overall that it's really greasy or soggy. You could actually use some chicken broth to moisten it too. If you cook it in the bird the taste will be better, but some people feel you risk a dryer bird. If this concerns you bake it in a pan with the turkey for the last half hour or so. If you want it very moist cover with foil, for crunchy crust, un-covered.
The best stuffing, in my opinion, contains lots of different flavors and textures. Here's my recipe, most of which came from the Silver Palate cookbook, but I've tweaked it a bit:
12T sweet butter (1-1/2 sticks)
2-1/2C finely chopped onions
6 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
3 tart apples, chunked (dont peel)
1 lb. bulk sausage (with sage)
3C coarsely crumbled cornbread
3C coarsely crumbled wheat bread
3C coarsely crumbled white bread
4-8 cloves garlic, minced (to taste)
1-1/2C coarsely chopped pecans
handful or 2 of raisins
salt & pepper to taste
1/2C Italian parsley, chopped
Melt 6T butter in skillet. Add onions & clelery and cook partially covered until onion is tender. Transfer to huge bowl. Melt remaining butter in same skillet. Add apples and cook over high heat until colored lightly, but not mushy. Put in same bowl. Brown sausage in same skillet; drain; add to bowl. Add remaining ingreds, mixing lightly with hands or wooden spoons. Cool completely before stuffing into bird.
For extra casserole (and there will be one!)
Place stuffing in dish and cover with lid or foil. Place in larger pan. Fill larger pan with hot water 1/2 way up the sides. Bake at 325 30-40 min. Can baste with turkey juices if it needs moisture.
Or. just put in a baking dish, and bake until hot. Top will be crusty, which is how we like it!!
The one I've always made (and now everyone who's had it does) is the James Beard one with sausage, mushroom and vermouth, if it sounds good I'll write it out in more detail. I use cornbread, and then all the usual celery, onion, egg etc.