Everyone loves their turkey and gravy. And of course, family favorites are the pumpkin pie and candied sweet potatoes.
But what makes the Thanksgiving meal complete for me has always been the stuffing.
When it's my turn to cook for the holiday (which, by the way, is never a chore because I love preparing big meals) I always make sure to mix a large bowl of stuffing.
Tribune Chronicle photos / Brenda J. Linert
No Thanksgiving meal is complete without stuffing. Depending on the size of the turkey, the stuffing might all fit inside, or the leftover mixture can be wrapped in foil and baked alongside the bird. Stuffing is shown in a roasted chicken.
Depending on the size of the turkey, it might all fit inside, or the leftover mixture can be wrapped in foil and baked alongside the bird.
I start with a full loaf of white bread, breaking it piece-by-piece into small chunks.
Next I thinly chop the celery, usually about two stalks will do the trick. If the stalks are too wide, cut it length-wise before chopping.
King-sized loaf of white bread
2 stalks of celery, thinly chopped
3 onions, chopped
10 eggs (approx.)
1 stick margarine, melted
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Break bread into small chunks. Add celery and onions and melted butter. Add eggs until mixture is moist, but not dripping wet. Stir in seasonings and mix well. Stuff in turkey and cook, or bake separately in a 350-degree oven for 45 minutes.
Then I add three onions, finely chopped.
Some folks also add chopped green peppers, but I prefer to omit that vegetable. If you choose to go that route, one finely chopped pepper should suffice without overpowering the other veggies in the mixture.
Next, melt one stick of margarine and add it to the bread mixture.
Now come the eggs.
Using the right amount of eggs for the stuffing can be a bit tricky. I usually use about 10, but that can vary by one or two, depending on size. To be sure I'm not adding too many, I always start by mixing about eight eggs in a separate bowl and then adding them to the mixture. Stir well. At that point you should be able to judge if you need more eggs by looking at how moist your stuffing is. It should be thoroughly moist, but not dripping wet.
Usually you will find that you need at least one or two more eggs to make the concoction the right level of dampness.
Finally, stir in the seasonings - 1/2 teaspoon each of ground black pepper, poultry seasoning and ground ginger.
Mix well, and you are ready to stuff.
Make sure your poultry is cleaned out and rinsed with cold water. After that, I like to sprinkle the inside of the bird with more ground ginger and poultry seasoning. Then I simply spoon the mixture into the turkey.
If I have any leftover stuffing mix that won't fit into the bird, I spray a sheet of aluminum foil with non-stick cooking spray and then spoon the remainder of the stuffing onto the foil and wrap it.
Cook the turkey according to the cooking instructions. Any additional stuffing, wrapped in foil, should be stored in the refrigerator until you have about 45 minutes left on the turkey's cook time. Place the foil-wrapped stuffing on a small cookie sheet and place it alongside the turkey in a 350-degree oven for about 45 minutes.
The finished product can be sliced or spooned out of the turkey into a serving bowl.
And as a simple food safety reminder, always remove all the cooked stuffing from inside the turkey before storing it in the refrigerator. This allows everything to cool properly and helps avoid any cases of food poisoning that could put an unpleasant end to your holiday.