Nebraska Joe’s Stuffing Secrets
Ya know, when you think about it, stuffing (aka dressing) is about as simple as it gets. You need some dry stuff like bread crumbs, some moisture and something to flavor it up some and maybe give it some texture. Then you just put some heat to it, and voila.
From there it can get as fun (or creative) as you’d like.
Let’s start with the bread. Cornbread, wheat, sourdough, potato bread, artisan, plain ol’ white, a couple boxes of Stove-Top or even a few saltines churned in. Kinda fresh or crumbly dry, big cubes or crumbly, it doesn’t really matter — you’re going to be moistening it up later.
Okay, now about flavor and texture. That’s where the sausage, other hog fat, nuts, dried/ fresh fruits, veggies (savory and not) and salt and pepper and herbs come in. Or oysters. You’ve not lived till you’ve had oyster dressing, but it’s best to have some Old Bay on hand for oyster D. Whatever you pick, it’s best to fry up most any of it first with a little (or a lot) of butter. Some onions and celery are usually a must-starter for most any stuffing. Did we mention that all this needs to be bite-sized at biggest?
So now you throw the cooked stuff on top of the bread stuff and give it a good tumble. A couple beaten eggs is a good idea about now.
Then the moisture. Plain H2O is pretty doggone boring, so why not a can or two of veggie or chicken broth at least? Wine? If you’re planning on stuffing a bird, the juices from said bird will add some moisture and flavor, so that stuffing needn’t be as moist.
Mix it all together. Stuff in bird (not too tight), or put in a buttered casserole dish of your preference . . . Did we mention that NFM’s kitchen section has a wealth of roasters and vessels perfect for your turkey and dressing concoctions?
Bake it. Take it out. Eat it (a little gravy on top never hurts).
So there you have it. The point is: try different flavors and combinations. Who says some bourbon shouldn’t be splashed into your mix of hearty bread crumbs, chopped pears, pecans and those cooked veggies?
P.S. Here’s a less random approach (this writer just finished off some bourbon stuffing).
How to make stuffing:
- Cook vegetables, fruits, herbs and/or meat in butter, then add broth.
- Toss with beaten eggs and cubed bread.
- Transfer to a buttered baking dish and dot with butter or drippings. Bake, covered, at 375 degrees F, 30 minutes; uncover and bake until golden, about 30 more minutes (or cook the cooled stuffing in the turkey).