Whether you call it dressing or stuffing, this side dish is a requisite at Thanksgiving dinner tables. And whether you fall into the "cook it inside the turkey" camp or the "bake it alone" camp, it has a bazillion variations – driven by tastes, preferences and aversions.
Me? I call it stuffing, but never actually stuff any into the bird. As for the variety? I have made a different stuffing every year since I started cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Last year, I found one that I loved (that was a first – many variations leave me rather ambivalent).
My Apple, Walnut and Sage Stuffing
is made in the same way as the stuffing I made last year – keeping the liquids to a minimum, and rendering it a flavorful, tender but largely crisp stuffing. Since you cook it in a 9x13 pan, there is a great crisp-to-soft-center ratio.
The process is simple: You sweat one onion, then add two tart apples, fresh sage, garlic and walnuts to the pan. Then it’s mixed with hand-torn ciabatta bread (the tearing is a great job for kids, if you like to incorporate the kids in your life in the cooking process), sharp provolone cheese and a little chicken broth and eggs. It bakes for roughly 45 minutes, and then it’s on the table.
All in all, this can be made in just about an hour – start to finish. Want to prep it ahead? Do all the prep, except adding the chicken broth and eggs (those should be done just before cooking to prevent the stuffing from getting soggy), and refrigerate it until ready to cook. You’ll want to let it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before cooking to let it warm up.
What’s your favorite stuffing? And do you call it stuffing or dressing?
Sarah W. Caron (aka scaron) is a food writer, editor and blogger who writes about family-friendly foods and raising a healthy family at Sarah’s Cucina Bella.