Friday, September 19, 2008

Herbed bread, cracker and Leek stuffing

Herbed bread, cracker and Leek stuffing: Gourmet magazine, with modifications
From: IvoryTowerDenizen

I make this dressing almost every year for Thanksgiving since 1996 and I do a quicky version (I buy Pepperridge Farm plain stuffing mix rather than the bread and crackers) for regular meals. There is only one other stuffing recipe I ever use- (one I made up for the Jewish holidays, or when my parents come for Thanksgiving that is kosher and is based on challah). I love this recipe.

1 16-ounce loaf firm white bread (do not trim crusts), cut into 3/4-inch pieces

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
3 leeks (white and pale green parts only), halved lengthwise, rinsed, thinly sliced

2 medium onions, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 cups coarsely crumbled saltine crackers
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage or 1 tablespoon dried
3 tablespoons chopped fresh savory or 1 tablespoon dried

3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or 1 tablespoon dried
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup milk
1/2 cup canned chicken broth

Preheat oven to 300°F. Spread bread on 2 large baking sheets. Bake until just dry but not brown, stirring occasionally, about 18 minutes. Transfer to very large bowl.

Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add leeks, onions and celery and sauté until tender but not brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to bowl with bread. Mix in cracker crumbs, herbs, salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Butter 2-quart baking dish. Mix milk into dressing. Reserve about 6 cups dressing for turkey. Mix 1/2 cup broth into remaining dressing and transfer to prepared baking dish. Cover with foil. Bake dressing in covered dish alongside turkey for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake until golden brown on top, about 20 minutes longer.

(I don't stuff my turkey, so I bake all of it in baking dishes. I usually use 1 really big casserole or two 2 qt ones. When I don't stuff I add additional broth to the stuffing and baste the stuffing with pan drippings as the turkey roasts to get that same taste.)

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