Saturday, November 30, 2013

Kate Larsen's REAL Bread Stuffing

So, about 2 years ago we celebrated Thanksgiving with our church.  I agreed to roast a turkey to contribute and since our family was attending, I made all the other standards that we would have had at home as well.  I showed up with my quaint corning-ware dish of homemade stuffing (dressing, really, it wasn't stuffed in the turkey) and left it with the kitchen "staff".  They had made giant aluminum foil trays of stuffing for the over 100 people attending, and so mine was set aside.  Later on, the "head chef" said, "hey, that was really good stuffing.  Is that parsley?  We decided not to put it out.  Do you mind if we bring some home?"

2 years later, bump into "head chef" during fellowship after church, "Hey Amy, are you making that stuffing again this year?"

After many rave reviews and since many folks think Stove-Top and Pepperidge Farm are how stuffing is made, I thought I would share my step-mother's grandmother's recipe for REAL stuffing.

I remember my step-mother, Rose, making this recipe with me when I was a young girl, but I don't think it was until I had been married for about 15 years that I actually asked for the recipe.  

To start, lay out your bread to stiffen/stale.  I do not use white bread, or at least not all white bread.  I save and freeze bread ends or any bread that will not be used, like that last hamburger roll or the end of the loaf that is no longer fresh.  This year, I had bought some rolls from Walmart that were day-old cheap and was going to use for dinner, but made my own from scratch instead.  So those were cut in half and put out to stale for stuffing.  I just leave it out overnight on my counter.  

Next, I cut the bread into cubes and place in very large bowl.  I know the recipe says to moisten into balls, but I found that the seasonings, egg, etc didn't mix as well with the bread and it was too dense that way, so I cut into 1-inch cubes instead.  

Add to the bread crumbs:  
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 stalk celery, chopped fine 
Fresh Parsley, chopped fine (I used a WHOLE bunch, this is a key ingredient) 
Fresh or dried Thyme (6-8 stalks or 1/2 t. dried)
1 1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper (I probably used more)
3 eggs 
Broth to moisten bread (1 -2 cups, but add gradually)

Mix well....clean hands work best! 

Try adding 1 lb sausage if you like.  I parboiled and broke into tiny pieces before adding to the above.

Stuff into turkey or bake in a large casserole dish for about 30-40 min. (cover for about 1/2 the time then uncover to brown the top....I didn't do that this time, but I think it tastes better that way.)

Enjoy!  (I forgot to take a picture before we ate some!)

Here's just the recipe without pics:

Kate Larsen's Bread Stuffing

About 1 loaf of stale bread (different kinds of breads will do)
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 stalk of celery, chopped fine
1 full bunch of fresh Parsley, chopped fine
6-8 stalks of fresh Thyme (or 1/2 t. dried)
1 1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper (or more)
3-4 eggs, enough to bind
water or broth - about 1-2 cups
1 lb sausage, parboiled (optional)

Put bread out to stiffen, about 2 hours. Cut bread into cubes and place in large bowl.  Add remaining ingredients except broth/water.  Mix with hands adding a little broth at a time to moisten.  You don't want it soaking.  Place into turkey just before roasting, or put into casserole dish and bake for 30-40 minutes. 

As you can see from the hand-written recipe, credits go to my step-mother, Rosemary Rainer Chesser, and her grandmother, Kate Larsen!