Bread Dressing or Stuffing & Turkey Roasting
Be sure the bird has several days to thaw, if frozen.
I will do my best but there is actually no recipe that I have seen. I make it based on watching my mother and your mother making it. It is pretty forgiving on proportions.
This makes enough for a medium sized family with no leftovers. (I normally make a double batch for the big family but I do have leftovers.) Depending on how much you want, you can half this if you need to.
1 loaf white bread (I use the long one, thin sliced, if you use a smaller loaf just reduce the other ingredients a bit.)
1 large or 2 medium onions, chopped (I use yellow)
1 bunch of celery
1 – 1 ½ sticks of butter
Salt ½ tsp???
Pepper to taste
Sage – 2-3 tsp???
Optional: Dried cranberries, chopped pecans
This first part you can do 1-2 days ahead if you want.
Into a soup pot or large bowl:
Tear bread into small medium small pieces
if bread is frozen you can cut it into about ½ or so inch cubes. Use a serrated bread knife and cut up about 3 slices at once.
With your hands season it with salt, pepper and sage to taste. Add some of each, mix it up and taste it. You should taste the sage, and a hint of salt and pepper. It may take more than I said because I never measure. Sorry. At this point you can add dried cranberries and/or chopped pecans if you like. Cover it and set it aside.
Chop the celery and the onions. (You can do this the day before and store the chopped vegetables in the refrigerator.)
On the day you are doing the turkey it will take about ½ hour or so to cook the vegetables and assemble the stuffing.
In a large fry/saute pan, put in a stick of butter and the onions. Cook on medium heat until the onions are pretty well cooked. Add in the celery and continue cooking until it is also well done. At any point if there is not enough butter to cook the vegetables you can add more up to about half a stick. Once they are cooked, fold the vegetables and butter into the bread mixture.
Pre-heat the oven to 325.
I normally stuff the thawed turkey (but don’t compact it or stuff it too much or it could explode.) I put the rest of the dressing the a corning ware in the refrigerator. (or you can cook the bird separately if you prefer but we always stuffed the birds at home.)
Put the stuffed turkey, breast side up in the oven. Loosely cover (tent) the breast and the legs.On my birds you can barely see it edges, you mostly see loose foil. I put a meat thermometer either in the stuffing or the bird where the cookbook says. Birds sometimes don’t take quite as long as they estimate for the weight.
When it is about 1 hour before the shortest time estimate for it’s weight, I remove the tenting so the bird is allowed to brown. If there is room I put the rest of the stuffing in the oven to warm (or you can warm it in the microwave.)
When bird looks done (meat temperature or the leg wiggles), I will remove it even if the stuffing temperature isn’t quite up to the recommended temp. (It is usually with 5 degrees). Before the bird rests, we immediately remove the stuffing and put in in a microwave safe container. Microwave the stuffing for a few minutes to ensure it is really hot enough to kill any bacteria. Then mix the two stuffings together. (In bird and never bird) to add flavor to all the stuffing.
If you chose to not put the stuffing in the bird, then you can mix a portion of the fat and juices from the cooked bird into the stuffing, using the other portion to make the gravy.