THANKSGIVING BREAD STUFFING
This bread stuffing, based on a James Beard recipe, may very well become your Thanksgiving staple for decades. First you make fresh bread crumbs: just whiz a few cups of slightly stale cubes of any of our artisan breads (crust and all, unless it’s super-hard) in a food processor. Keep the crumbs very, very coarse. Cook them with plenty of butter (yes, you can use olive oil) and good seasonings. Baked in a pan, this is delicious, with or without gravy. You could use it to stuff the turkey if you’d like — but once you've tried it cooked on its own, you won't look back.
- ½ pound (2 sticks) butter
- 1 cup chopped onion
- ½ cup pine nuts or chopped walnuts
- 6 to 8 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs(see tip)
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragonor sage leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon or sage, crumbled
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup chopped scallions
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
- Melt butter over medium heat in a large, deep skillet, Dutch oven or casserole. Add onion and cook, stirring, until it softens, about 5 minutes. Add nuts and cook, stirring almost constantly, until they begin to brown, about 3 minutes.
- Add bread crumbs and tarragon or sage and toss to mix. Turn heat to low. Add salt, pepper and scallions. Toss again; taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Add parsley and stir. Turn off heat. (You may prepare recipe in advance up to this point; refrigerate, well wrapped or in a covered container, for up to a day before proceeding.)
- Pack into chicken or turkey if you like before roasting, or roast in an ovenproof glass or enameled casserole for about 45 minutes, at 350 to 400 degrees; you can bake this dish next to the bird, if you like. (Or you can cook it up to 3 days in advance and warm it up right before dinner.)
- To make the bread crumbs, tear our bread into chunks and put them in the container of a food processor; you may need to do this in batches. Pulse until you have coarse, irregular crumbs, no smaller than a pea and preferably larger.