Posted on December 1, 2010 | No Comments
Stuffing (or dressing) is a common holiday staple. As such, there are countless variations on this traditional dish, yet the stuffing that joins potatoes on my Thanksgiving plate is often a simple one, prepared with an herb blend with sautéed celery and onion.
The perfect stuffing not only requires a few key seasonings, but to be prepared to an ideal moistness. First, bread is mostly dried, then it’s seasoned and moistened with broth, and finally it’s brought back to the perfect moisture in the oven.
I stuff my stuffing in a covered glass dish for baking. It is the perfect vessel to keep the bread moist and allowing you to cook off some of that excess moisture in the last part of cooking time.
1 loaf whole wheat bread
1 medium onion, diced finely
3 large celery stalks, sliced
1 tablespoon vegan butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable broth
1 to 2 tablespoons dried sage
freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Bell’s seasoning*
Slice bread into small cubes (partially freezing bread makes this easier, but is not necessary). The bread needs to be mostly dried. This can be accomplished by letting it sit out overnight, or baking the cubes on a cookie sheet at 250° F for 30-40 minutes. Once they’re feeling somewhat dry in the oven, take them out and cool completely (they will dry even more while cooling).
As bread is cooling, prepare the vegetables. Sauté onion in butter for 4-5 minutes over medium heat. Add celery and saute 2-3 more minutes until onion just starts to soften but celery still has a bit of crunch. Add 1 tablespoon sage, 1 tablespoon of Bell’s seasoning, black pepper, and celery-onion mixture to breadcrumbs and mix.
Carefully and slowly, pour cool broth into breadcrumb mixture as you’re steadily mixing. You can use warm broth, but it is absorbed by the bread more quickly, so you must stir fast enough to evenly distribute the moisture. Once mixed, taste and add additional salt, sage, Bell’s seasoning and pepper as necessary.
Stuff your baking dish of choice with the mixture, cover, and bake at 400° F for 10 minutes, remove cover, and bake 10 more minutes. Stuffing is quite forgiving about the baking process; you could also bake covered at 350° F for 20 minutes plus 10 minutes uncovered (if you happen to be making Chef Chloe’s portobello stuffed mushrooms) to achieve great stuffing as well.
* Bell’s seasoning is a savory vegan seasoning made of rosemary, oregano, sage, ginger, marjoram, thyme, and pepper. In other words, it’s a quick shortcut to delicious stuffing flavor :)