This recipe is very similar to the one my mom made every Thanksgiving when we were growing up. Then I carried the tradition on when I started making my own Thanksgiving dinners.
Over the years, I added a few more herbs and seasonings, but the basic recipe stayed the same until one year my brother and his wife hosted Thanksgiving. It was their first time hosting, and they took on the task of preparing most of the main dishes including the turkey and, of course, the stuffing. My brother found a recipe online which included Challah bread, and he expertly prepared it – in other words, it was crazy delicious! My mom and I had always used wheat bread in our stuffing which came out good, but the stuffing made with Challah was amazing.
So, needless to say, I had to alter our recipe! I kept the same base ingredients as before – the same veggies, herbs and seasonings tossed with cubes of bread and a cornbread stuffing mix, however the substitution of Challah for whole wheat really brought the stuffing over the top.
To make the stuffing, you’ll need the following:
12oz of Challah bread, sliced into 1/2 inch slices (if you can’t find Challah bread, you can substitute Buttermilk bread or Hawaiian bread which both taste similar to Challah)
1/2 of a 12oz box (i.e. 6oz) of seasoned cornbread stuffing
1/2 of a celery bunch, diced small
1 small to medium yellow onion, diced small
1/2 of a bunch (i.e. about 1 cup) fresh curly parsley, minced finely (if you can’t find curly parsley, flat leaf is fine)
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp dried ground sage
1/2 tsp kosher salt (or 1/4 tsp regular salt)
1/8 tsp black pepper
Dash of garlic powder
3/4 cup chicken broth
Toast the slices of Challah bread (in the toaster or under the broiler for about 5 minutes) till lightly toasted. Allow the bread to cool on a wire rack for a few minutes, and then dice it into 1/2 inch cubes. Set aside. Meanwhile, spray the bottom of a large dutch oven or heavy bottomed soup pot with non-stick spray.
In case you don’t know what a dutch oven is, here’s a pic of mine:
I highly recommend investing in one if you don’t already have one – they are wonderful for soups, stews, and of course stuffing! But, if you don’t have one yet and don’t feel like running out for one before Thanksgiving, a large heavy bottomed soup pot will work, too 🙂
Anyway, let’s get on with the recipe!
Add the celery, onion, parsley, and bay leaf to your dutch oven or pot, and sauté over medium heat for about 3 or 4 minutes. Mix in the thyme, sage, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and continue sautéing till the onion is translucent and the celery is softened. Remove the bay leaf, and reduce the heat to medium low. Add the diced bread and the seasoned cornbread stuffing and gently toss to combine. Add the chicken stock and gently mix to combine. Turn the heat back up to medium and heat till completely heated through (stir very frequently to prevent the stuffing from sticking to the bottom of the pot).
Note: If you plan to stuff a turkey or one or more chickens with some of the stuffing, add only enough chicken broth so that the stuffing is just barely moistened. (While roasting, the stuffing will absorb juices from the bird and will become too soggy if you add all of the broth called for in the recipe.) Then, be sure to transfer the stuffing you plan to add to the bird to a separate bowl to avoid contaminating the whole batch as you dip your spoon back and forth between the stuffing and the bird.
Also, be sure to reserve the bay leaves and place them in the cavity of the turkey or chicken before adding the stuffing. Then, once your bird is stuffed, add a little more chicken broth to the original batch of stuffing so that it’s nicely moistened (mix in a little at a time to avoid gloppy stuffing!)
If there is any stuffing left in the bowl you used to stuff the bird, add a little more broth to it, as well, and then bake it at 375˚ till hot and golden brown on top.
Makes 10-12 servings.