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Traditional Turkey Stuffing (Dressing)

Traditional Turkey Stuffing (Dressing)
Yields 1
The beauty of this recipe is that it is a great guide for you to create any stuffing you’d like. This version is my “traditional” stuffing with apples, onions, celery, walnuts, dried cranberries and sage. You can change any of the ingredients to tailor this to your guests tastes. If you are thinking of adding sausage, I prefer a mild or spicy Italian sausage, rather than the sweeter chicken-apple. You can add dried chili flakes to make a spicier stuffing. Use chestnuts instead of walnuts. Raisins instead of dried cranberries. Try cornbread instead of the sourdough white or any other bread you’d like to change the flavor and texture. I used Brother Juniper Straun Bread from Sunnyvale and Campbell Bread Baking Peasant White from San Jose. Closer to home, you can use Alvarado Sprouted Sourdough (from Rohnert Park) or any other local bread you like. Make sure that at least one of the breads has good body and texture. This makes every bite interesting and keeps the stuffing light and airy. It is best to cut the bread at least 2-3 hours before making the stuffing. You can then lay it out in the open air to dry out a bit. Or better yet, purchase day old bread, cut it up and let it dry a bit. This is more economical, and makes for a better stuffing. Thanksgiving tip: I make a turkey stock and the base turkey sauce the day before. I start with a good chicken broth and then add roasted turkey necks and wings (purchased at the butcher). Simmer for 2-3 hours and use this for the stuffing and the sauce. When your turkey is finished cooking on Thanksgiving day you can then deglaze the pan with the base sauce and finish it any way you want to a fuller and richer flavor. Use the best ingredients you are willing to afford, it will make a difference. Keep it local and natural as much as possible.
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The bread
  1. ¾# Brother Juniper’s Struan Bread, approx ½ loaf
  2. ¾# Campbell Bread Baking Peasant White, approx ½ loaf
  3. Save the end pieces for another use (grind for breadcrumbs?). Cut into cubes, mix together and lay on sheet pan to dry out for 2 hours (or place in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, remove, toss and let sit)
The base
  1. 3 Tablespoons butter, salted
  2. 1 ½ each yellow onion, medium size (3/4#), medium dice
  3. 6-8 ribs celery, trimmed, peeled and cut medium dice (2 cups)
  4. ½ cup leeks, cleaned and chopped
  5. 1 ¼ pounds Gravenstein apples, peeled and medium dice
  6. Melt the butter in a large skillet or sauté pan. Add the onions, celery and leeks, plus salt and pepper (add extra salt, as you will be adding lots of bread to soak up the seasonings). Cover and cook over medium heat for 15-20 minutes until all the veggies are soft but not browned. By keeping it covered, they will cook in their own steam and retain a wonderful flavor. After 15 minutes, add the apples and cook until the apples are soft (5 more minutes). Add the warm vegetable/fruit mixture to the bread in a large bowl. Mix gently, tossing as you would a salad with dressing.
The rest
  1. ¾ cup walnuts, toasted 10 minutes in oven @ 350 degrees. Rough chop.
  2. ¾ cup dried cranberries, chopped just a little
  3. 1 Tablespoon oregano, fresh, chopped
  4. 2 Tablespoon sage, fresh, chopped
  5. 1 Tablespoon Italian parsley, fresh, chopped
  6. Add these ingredients to the bread/vegetable mixture and mix gently, tossing as you would a salad with dressing
Finally
  1. 2 each eggs
  2. 1 ½ cups turkey stock, warm
  3. Combine the eggs and stock. Add this half at a time into the bread/vegetable mixture, mix gently, tossing as you would a salad with dressing. The stuffing should be moist, but light, not smashed together.
  4. Butter the bottom an to even out, but do not press down. Butter a 10x13 piece of parchment paper or piece of brown paper bags you have cut to the same size. Place butter side down onto the stuffing and bake in a 375 degree oven for 35-40 minutes until the center is hot and steaming. Remove the paper cover and bake for 5 more minutes to allow the top to slightly crust. The paper keeps the moisture in the stuffing yet allows just enough to escape to keep the stuffing from getting soggy.
  5. Enjoy with a heritage turkey, zinfandel-cranberry sauce and a great turkey gravy of your choice!
  6. Eat well!d sides of a 10x13 glass baking dish and place the stuffing into the dish. Pat VERY gently
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