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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.
Terry Ramsey