This is a delicious side dish for your turkey, chicken, or roast pork. The trick is the double strength chicken or turkey broth. It gives that poultry flavour without needing to be stuffed inside the bird. This recipe is a great way to use up those last bits and pieces of stale bread you stick in the freezer for later. Serves 10 to 12. (Prepared on Dinner Television, October 10, 2015)
450 gr bread, cut into 3/4″ cubes
4 cups low-sodium turkey or chicken broth
2 tbsp butter, unsalted
3 lg celery stalks, chopped into small bits
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
2 large eggs
3/4 cup half-and-half (10% cream)
1 tbsp soy sauce, low sodium (preferably Chinese-style, not Kikkoman or Japanese)
2 tsp poultry seasoning
2 medium onions, chopped into small bits
3 tbsp parsley, finely chopped (or half the amount of dried parsley)
3/4 tsp pepper
4 tbsp butter, melted
- Cut the bread into approximately 3/4 inch pieces, scatter on baking sheets and toast in a 400-degree oven until nicely browned and completely dry. How long? This will depend how stale or fresh the bread is, its moisture level and type of bread. White bread toasts faster than dark breads like rye and Russian. This is a great step you can do ahead – every time I have a bit of leftover stale bread, I cut it up and toast it and collect it in a big jar. Totally dry, the croutons will last for ages and can be used for many purposes. That said, they will get an aged, stale taste if they sit too long.
- In a large pot or fry pan, add 4 cups of chicken broth and boil until reduces to 1.5 cups. (If it over-reduces, just add enough water to bring it up to measure.)
- In small fry pan over medium heat fry the celery in the butter until it softens and just starts to brown.
- Add 1/2 tsp of poultry seasoning and stir cook about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the half and half with the eggs.
- Add the poultry seasoning, pepper, parsley and onions and stir together.
- Add the cooked celery and stir to combine.
- Add the toasted bread cubes and fold them in to coat. Let the stuffing sit 10 or 15 minutes, gently stirring a few times, until the liquid is mostly absorbed.
- Butter an 8×12 pan or 9×13 pan. Spoon the stuffing mixture into the pan and gently press to make uniform (don’t demolish it with too much pressure).
- Melt the remaining butter and drizzle it over the stuffing. Place on rack in the lower third of the oven and bake about 45 to 55 minutes or until nicely golden brown on top and crisped up.
- Remove from oven and let rest 15 minutes before serving.
- MAKE AHEAD: prepare the recipe up entirely but do not bake. Cover with plastic wrap or foil, refrigerate several hours and up to overnight. Remove from the fridge, uncover and let sit at room temperature about 30 minutes, then bake.
Tips, Suggestions & Information
- More dense breads work better – sourdough, hearty sandwich bread (not soft bread like store sandwich bread), Calabrese, potato bread, ciabatta, rye bread, Russian bread, etc. Great use of bread ends, leftover slices, etc.
- If you have access to only store bought bread, stale is much better than fresh.
Cut this bread into larger pieces as it gets very soft very quickly.
- Poultry seasoning can be substituted with fresh herbs if you like – add about 2 tbsp of finely minced herbs: 1 tbsp sage, 2 tsp thyme, 1 tsp rosemary (or a combination of your choice)
- Use the half and half – it is important to make the custard to hold the stuffing together. Substituting it for milk would reduce fat/calories by only a small amount and not make as nice a custard. Coffee cream (18%MF) or even whipping cream (30-35%MF) will work.
- Vegetarian version: use 1.5 cups double strength vegetable broth or water instead of chicken broth. You might want to add a bit more poultry seasoning for flavour, maybe a bit more raw onion as well.
- Shape cold, cooked stuffing into balls and second bake or pan fry in butter.
- Press cold, cooked stuffing around peeled, soft boiled eggs for a vegetarian Scotch egg. (Dredge and coat with panko crumbs per your favourite recipe.)