Need advice & input....Thanksgiving stuffing/dressing
Every year my husband makes the turkey, and dressing/stuffing and every year I complain and so this year he's told me to make it. My complaints about his dressing (some goes in the bird the rest is baked) is that (a) it has apples in it and (b) the dressing that is baked is horribly dry (think croutons).
This is what I am looking for......a dressing where part can be put in the bird and the part that is baked is stil moist (but not soggy). It also needs to be classic......no meat (not vegetarian, but no sausage or organ meat), no fruit, no nuts.
He typically uses French bread and I don't think that is the big issue, but if you have a tried and true type of bread you use that would be great.
Pepperidge Farms White Bread
Corn Bread (Optional)
Sauteed Onions and Celery
No particular recipe to recommend (ours has sausage so it's not what you are looking for) but 2 tips: We use the cheapest white bread available (the generic equivalent of Wonderbread) and it works just fine. I recommend adding a bit of extra chicken broth or other source of moisture to the dressing that will be baked separately, so that it will be as moist as the stuffing in the bird.
I do absolutely plain, boring dressing every year and LOVE it. I like mine quite moist (some might say soggy; semantics!) so it can be sliced the next day, but if you prefer yours moist but still scoopable, toast the bread beforehand. Basically make little toasty croutons and then toss them with chicken or turkey broth with sage, thyme, sauteed or roasted onion and celery, and copious amounts of freshly ground pepper. I like the onion and celery to have a LITTLE texture still, but if you don't like crunchy veg, you can simmer them in the broth until they're tender.
If you're looking for something "not mushy", I think hard multi-grain rolls, cubed and toasted, are a good addition. Sourdough bread tends to be firmer as well and resist mushiness. You might give your local bakery a shout and ask what they do with day-old bread. It can go in the freezer right now to be used for T-day.
I like to use day-old Italian or French bread, with some body, not too soft like packaged bread or it will pack down too much. You can lightly toast it but it's not necessary. To me the key is to use a lot of finely chopped onions and celery. I like there to be about 1/3 as much vegetables as bread. This keeps it moist without being soggy. For seasonings I prefer tarragon, paprika, salt, and pepper, and I would not use cream, just because the whole meal is always so rich. A bit of cognac or brandy is good if you need to moisten it. IMHO no stock is necessary for the stuffing that will go into the bird, but the part cooked separately you will need a judicious amount of stock. I use the turkey stock I've made for the gravy.
I simmer my turkey innards (neck & gizzard) and add broth to some turkey or chicken stock. I use cornbread which I bake first then cool to room temp; saute in butter carrots, onions, & celery and sometimes mushrooms. Crumble all in a bowl, add some poultry seasoning or fresh sage and thyme, s&p, and ground cumin. Add the broth a little at a time just to moisten for the bird (add a little extra for a casserole dish).