I'm in charge of stuffing this year and I'm planning on making a bread stuffing out of stale levain with fresh parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, onions and celery, s and p, and some dried cherries. I've seen bell's seasoning called for in several stuffing recipes and I've never used it before. Do you think it would be worth seeking it out, or will my fresh herbs work just as well?
I'd say fresh herbs is the way to go for stuffing. Bell's seasoning is a dry poultry seasoning. I've actually started using it to season roast chicken (w/ kosher salt and Bay seasoning) and it turns out very good. But that's the lazy way out, and for stuffing I'd stick to fresh herbs.
I agree - I would go with fresh herbs as NYChowcook says. I wouldn't go out of my way to find Bell's if you didn't grow up with it, as I think of it as not so much a "lazy way" as tradition.
Just as "Old Bay" is key for seafood seasoning (i.e, crabcakes, boils etc.) in some regions, that's how I think of Bell's. It has it's own traditional taste in stuffing - I'm pretty sure it's New England-based. For example, I make a 'modern' stuffing of bread, Grand Marnier, chestnuts, dried apricots, sausage, and fresh herbs, but I always add some Bell's because there's a unique flavor I grew up with (is it the rubbed sage?). Bell's is made up of a blend of dried rosemary, sage, ginger, marjoram, thyme, and pepper. It reminds me of my grandmother, so I always have to have it in my stuffing. :)
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Bell's Poultry Seasoning - copy cat recipe
4-1/2 tsp dried rosemary
4 tsp dried oregano
3-3/4 tsp dried sage
3-1/2 tsp ground dried ginger
3-tsp dried marjoram
2-3/4 tsp dried thyme
3/4-tsp ground black pepper
Mix together and grind to fine powder in a coffee or spice grinder.
Makes about 1/2-cup.
Several years ago I was upset because the price of Bell's (and other holiday meal ingredients) go up during the holidays. I thought that maybe I could duplicate it. I just took the 7 ingredients on the Bell's label and mixed them in decreasing amounts. The result was very close to Bell's Poultry Seasoning. When I want to make a lot, I use Tablespoon quantities instead of teaspoon quantities when making a batch.