Christmas was my first real "big" turkey dinner. It was just me & my 17 pound bird early on Christmas morning as I let my hubby sleep in a little. Of course knowing I was going to be making a turkey dinner, I knew I needed to make stuffing but I had never made bread stuffing before (well, except for from a box and no boxed stuff for the holidays!). I'd made French meat stuffing (called Forr) before but never bread stuffing, so I commenced my search for the perfect recipe a few weeks in advance of Santa's arrival.
A lot of bread stuffing recipes call for sausage. My sister-in-law doesn't like sausage so I immediately threw out any thought of making any recipes that called for such. Then some of them just didn't seem appealing to me for one reason or another. Finally after many hours of research I landed on Paula Deen's website and settled on this version of bread stuffing. Wow! I must say it came out AWESOME. I cooked it in the loaf pan as suggested and cut down the amount of celery. Next time I might cut down the celery a wee bit more as it still seemed like a good amount and my husband's only complaint was that there was a tad too much of it. I also used a good amount of turkey stock in this recipe because it took me awhile to achieve the desired level of moistness I was looking for. (I used the Kitchen Basics brand of turkey stock, very good!). But still a great recipe that I will bring out again most likely next holiday season!
Below that is a recipe I used for carrots (from my friend Pam). One of the many side dishes to our Christmas turkey dinner. Let's face it, a turkey dinner is just as much about the side dishes as it is about the turkey itself! I used baby carrots that I just steamed off in one of those convenient Glad steam microwave bags and followed the rest of the recipe (I upped all amounts since I was making a lot more carrots than the original recipe called for). They came out very tasty and just a little something extra than your run of the mill everyday carrot side dish - which was the goal!
1 loaf of fresh white bread (3 for a turkey)
1 small celery bunch diced (2 with turkey)
1 large onion diced (3 for turkey)
2 large eggs (up to 8 for turkey)
1 large pinch of salt
¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
½ pound unsalted butter (add ½ pound for turkey)
¼ to ½ cup fresh turkey stock (optional)
Preheat oven to 350º F ( if cooking in loaf pan)
In large stockpot, melt butter. Stir in chopped onions, salt and pepper and cook until onions are translucent.
Add celery and cook over low heat until just tender. Tear loaf of bread into pieces and add to stockpot with onion mixture and toss well until mixed.
Turn off heat and allow to cool, 15 to 20 minutes.
Crack eggs into mixture and use hands to toss well. Make sure the mixture is wet. Add more eggs if needed.
Pack cooled mixture tightly if stuffing a bird. A loaf pan can be used. After packing dressing into loaf pan pierce with a knife and pour chicken or turkey stock over dressing ¼ to ½ cup per loaf pan.
Bake at 350º F for 30 minutes.
Notes from Paula’s test kitchen: This dressing works well in a loaf pan. We found the dressing much more flavorful if you took the time to separate the oil from the stock before adding to the pan. We also added 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh rosemary to kick up the flavor. Serves 6 in loaf pan and 12 for turkey.
Carrots with Rosemary Butter
1 1/2 Cups julienned carrot (I used baby carrots
1 Tablespoon softened butter
3/4 Teaspoon minced fresh or 1/4 teaspoon dry rosemary
3/4 Teaspoon minced fresh or 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
3/4 Teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 Teaspoon salt
1/8 Teaspoon garlic powder
Place carrots in a steamer basket; place in a small saucepan over 1" of water. Bring to a boil; cover & steam for 4-6 minutes or until crisp-tender.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Add carrots & toss to coat.