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Homemade stuffing recipe? (with a few requirements)

I want to try making homemade stuffing this year for Thanksgiving and am looking for your best recipes and suggestions. I have a few requirements, though. I never really consider myself a picky person but when I thought about what I wanted in a stuffing recipe I had to rethink my opinion!

I'm looking for a traditional bread stuffing recipe--no rice, no cornbread, etc. I do not like fruit or nuts in my food so no apples, cranberries, raisins, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc. I also do not eat sausage so that can't be a vital ingredient. I'm not a fan of fennel (tricked too many times at my Italian grandma's house as a child thinking it was celery) but I would consider using it because the flavor supposedly mellows out when it is cooked. My family likes pretty much any spice/seasoning except for curry powder.

I'm making Ina Garten's Accidental Turkey which has lemon zest and rosemary on and in it if that makes any difference. I also don't mind complicated or time-consuming recipes.

Are there any good, traditional, non-fruit/nut stuffing recipes out there or should I just stick to StoveTop? Thanks!

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  1. We actually like the recipe on the back of the Mrs. Cubbison's stuffing. You basically sauté celery and onion in a ton of butter, add stock, your bread cubes and then bake. You can add other things like fruit and nuts but we like our stuffing simple. I've made stuffing from scratch before, but the Mrs. Cubbison's is very good.

    2 Replies
    1. re: boogiebaby

      I totally agree with Boogiebaby. Mine has Ms. Cubbison's seasoned breadcrumbs, a couple of eggs, sauteed celery & onion, butter, chicken stock and a lot of extra poultry seasoning. No fruit or nuts. Great minds think alike. And contrary to pubic opinion, I stuff my turkey, as well as having some in a separate dish for leftovers. I've been doing this for 40 years and never gotten sick from a stuffed turkey! And my turkey is always moist. Looking forward to Thanksgiving. :-)

      1. re: boogiebaby

        Please be aware that although your recipe looks and I am sure, tastes yummy... Mrs, Cubbinson is list of ingredients include High fructose Corn syrup. Bread cubes made in the bakery area would still be convenient, time and money equally.

      2. You didn't list sliced almonds in your "no nuts" example, so perhaps you'd want to try my favorite stuffing? Lots of butter in this one, and no sage (which I don't like - add if you want.) If you want to get complicated, make your own broth and use in place of the bouillon, make your own white or wheat bread and use.

        Almond Stuffing

        3/4 cup butter or margarine
        1/2 cup chopped celery (or 1 T. celery flakes)
        1/4 cup chopped onion
        1/2 cup chopped almonds
        4 cups soft bread cubes
        1 Tablespoon dried parsley flakes
        1/4 teaspoon salt
        1 teaspoon instant chicken bouillon
        1/3 cup water

        Combine butter, celery and onion in medium mixing bowl (if microwaving) or in a skillet.

        Sautee (or Microwave on ROAST) for 4 or 5 minutes, or until vegetables are partly cooked. Stir in remaining ingredients; mix well. Stuff poultry.

        1. I grew up with a classic herb stuffing that I'm pretty sure my mother got from an old Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Cooking cookbook. It's still my favorite stuffing to date and I have to have it at Thanksgiving. I must admit to not liking stuffings that compete with the turkey and gravy, etc. I don't like sausage stuffing (don't want another meat on the plate), don't want cornbread (too crumbly and I don't like the way it goes with gravy) and rice stuffings are tasty enough, but don't absorb the gravy like I want a stuffing to! So yes, I'm picky about my stuffing, too. :o)

          It's just dried bread cubes tossed with sauteed onions, celery, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme and moistened with turkey stock (or chicken/veg stock is fine, of course). If you want the recipe for the proportions, let me know and I'll post it.

          4 Replies
          1. re: TorontoJo

            Yup - That's the one I do - Heavy on the parsley (for me) and lighter on the rosemary and thyme. It's a classic and easy to make ahead of time.

            1. re: TorontoJo

              Sounds like we grew up on the same recipe! I still love it.

                1. re: Njchicaa

                  Here you go! I must admit to not being terribly precise with my measurements. I do know that I've significantly bumped up the onion/celery/herb quantities from the original recipe. For fresh herbs, triple the amount. You can adjust the herbs to your personal taste, but the sage is definitely key.

                  This recipe makes a fairly large amount. You can easily half it.

                  Herb Stuffing

                  2 loaves of bread, cubed and dried (i've used everything from plain white bread, to whole grain, to country boules, or a mix -- whatever you prefer)
                  1 tablespoon ground sage
                  1 tablespoon dried thyme
                  1 tablespoon dried rosemary
                  1 and half teaspoons salt
                  ½ cup chopped parsley
                  2 large onions, diced
                  5 or 6 stalks of celery, diced
                  1 stick of butter or ½ cup turkey fat
                  3-4 cups turkey or chicken broth (use half if you are actually stuffing a turkey)
                  Salt and pepper to taste

                  Sauté' onion and celery in butter or fat, add seasonings, parsley. Toss with bread cubes. Add broth and toss lightly to mix. If you are baking this in a casserole dish, you want the bread to be fairly wet, as the broth will continue to absorb into the stuffing as you bake it. Put into a large casserole dish (you can pack it pretty tightly), cover and bake at 375 for about 45 minutes. If it seems too wet, uncover and bake for another 15 minutes.

              1. I concur with the other posts here, we use a bread stuffing with lots of herbs, celery, onion, & turkey stock. We use sausage in it. On occasion I have mixed it up a bit and added dried fruit like cranberries, cherries or apricots. And I sometimes add fennel to the aromatics. It doesn't make it taste much different. It's the one my Mom used to make ( she actually made two different stuffings) and it's still one of the highlights on my plate.

                1. One thing I don't see here is eggs. It makes a lovely stuffing to add extra stock and a couple of eggs. So tender and lovely.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: sandylc

                    sandylc - if you look up-post I use eggs as it is a must for binding. We do think in the same circles.

                    1. re: boyzoma

                      Sorry, second time I've missed something up-post tonight!

                      I agree, the eggs are a must...

                      1. re: sandylc

                        No worries. It's gotten to the point that my kids live and die for my stuffing. In fact, my daughter begged me to come to her house to make my stuffing at her "mother-in-laws" for thanksgiving (and since her MIL was so terrible at it, she agreed). Arriving at 5 a.m. with all my fixings in tow, I did just that. I pre sauteed the onion/celery the night before. Then threw it all together and stuffed the bird. Also made the gravy. Needless to say, everyone around the table raved about the stuffing and gravy. Felt strange doing it, but if it kept the peace with my daughter, more power too it.

                        1. re: boyzoma

                          In family matters, we get along no matter what, right?

                  2. I found this recipe on Epicurious, and it looks pretty good, and I think it would fit the OP's requirements.

                    I want to cube my own bread crumbs, though, and use fresh herbs. How much bread would be comparable to a 14 oz package of stuffing cubes?

                    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                    1. Oysters? Mine always includes them.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Veggo

                        My mother's family tradition is oyster/rice dressing. Lovely, but I have never made on my own. I'm not sure that my immediate family would eat a bite of it. I do love the tradition though!

                        1. re: Veggo

                          we could skip the turkey, but the world would end if there was no oyster dressing in our family.

                        2. Your parameters are pretty similar to those on this current thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9221...
                          I posted mine there. Stuffing/dressing is forgiving - feel free to add and/or subtract the add-in ingredients.

                          1. I favour a very, very simple stuffing recipe.

                            Day old bread, cubed. Saute finely diced celery and onion in a mix of butter and olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, sage and thyme, and mix the bread thoroughly with it.

                            1. The best stuffing - double or triple this

                              1 lb loaf of bread - stale and cubed -
                              1 onion- chopped and sauteed in lots of butter
                              salt, pepper
                              lots of BELLS SEASONING
                              1 egg
                              mix all together and stuff in the bird -

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: harryharry

                                Absolutely must have BELL'S SEASONING. I'm from the Northeast, where it is a standard ingredient. then I moved to Florida and have a hard time finding it. Thanksgiving isn't right if there's no Bell's Seasoning in the stuffing. Which, by the way, is shaped into balls (like small baseballs), and cooked on a cookie sheet in the oven with the bird. This ensures an excellent crust-to-filling ratio.

                              2. My recipe sounds like it fits your requirements. I first acquire giblets and skin from fowl(you could sub bacon). Should be enough extra skin on the turkey to snag some, if not skin a chicken thigh. Slowly render the fat out of the skin. This will take 30 min or so on med low heat. Remove crispy skin and add chopped giblets. Add chopped celery and onion. Saute until translucent. Mix into dry bread cubes. Moisten with chicken broth. Stir in fresh, chopped sage and parsley and black pepper. I bake it separate and spoon some turkey basting juices on it when I baste the bird. I'm sorry, but I don't measure- I dump, pour and taste. I hope this helped even w/o measurements.

                                1. My recipe seems to be similar to all the others below, but I add sliced leeks and chopped mushrooms to the mix. Last year I was able to get my hands on some fresh porcini mushrooms, and that stuffing was divine. And I use fresh sage and no giblets. I think it's all about personal preference and what looks good at the market.

                                  1. The stuffing I grew up with is very similar to those described here (white bread cubes, celery, onion, chicken broth, poultry seasoning, eggs) but enriched with very finely chopped chicken livers sauteed in butter. I find I miss this addition when the stuffing is prepared without it.

                                    1. Been using the Artichoke Parmesan Sourdough Dressing recipe from Sunset Magazine for years now. I can't imagine Thanksgiving without it. No nuts, no fruit, no sausage. Traditional flavors but the artichoke hearts add a twist. There's rosemary in there also so I think it would tie in with your turkey (I'm dry brining mine with a lemon zest / rosemary salt). Here's the link:
                                      http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/artic...

                                      1. Make your own for sure! I'm like you. I want a traditional stuffing. I've put meat in it in the past but now I prefer a simple stuffing that isn't as heavy.
                                        I do slight variations every year and this is my go to for tweaking my recipe. Give it a try. You can make your stuffing exactly how you want. Add the ingredients you want and it creates a recipe for you.

                                        http://www.finecooking.com/articles/c...