I mentioned that I was going to get around to talking about this stuffing I’ve made for years, so it’s about time I finally did so. It was passed down from a professor back at my doctoral institution. As part of it, you need to prep a pretty solid bird stock first, so let me detail that briefly.

You’ll need some dark-meat bird parts first, be it the neck (ideally) or thighs. Take three of them (mix & match as desired), put them in a pot or saucepan large enough to lay them flat, and fill the spaces & cover the turkey parts with onion, carrot, and celery (don’t need to chop it finely at all). Add a generous helping of sage, thyme, a bay leaf or two (if you have them), some peppercorns, and salt to your liking (I usually don’t bother), and then cover the whole mess with water. Cover it, bring it to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer for at least two hours (I let it simmer for three). Pull all the meat out (mind you, the meat will literally fall off of the thighs), and strain out the remaining parts by pouring the mix through cheesecloth. Once the vegetables have cooled enough to handle, mash them up a little (still in the cheesecloth) and then wring the last of the juices from the vegetables. So much more flavor hiding in there, so don’t neglect to do this step! Afterwards, feast on the delights of the amazing meat you’ve just prepared, and you have a batch of delicious stock!

Now, with that out of the way…onto the best part…the stuffing!

Apple Onion Stuffing

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds onion, large, chopped
  • ¼ cup sage, ground
  • 30 ounces stuffing croutons, plain, cubed
  • ½ pound butter, unsalted, melted
  • 1.5 pound celery, chopped, deveined
  • 1.5 pounds apple, Granny Smith, cubed
  • 4 cups stock, turkey

Directions:

1. Devein the celery by cutting stalks into 2–4" pieces, devein, and then slice to desired thickness (approximately 1/8–1/4 inch slices). This may or may not be slightly time-consuming, depending on (a) the length of your fingernails, and (b) your luck in pulling out the veins without them breaking. Growing out your fingernails will GREATLY speed this up.
2. Add half the butter (one 1/4-lb stick) to a large saucier/stock pot (6-8qt range, ideally), and melt over medium heat. Coarsely chop the onion (or to desired size). Peeled pearl or salad onions could also likely be used, depending on your appreciation of onions in stuffing. Add the onions and celery to the pot and sautée.
3. While the onions & celery are softening, core and chop the apples into 3/4–1" cubes. Once the onions are soft, add the apples and stir to completely coat the apples with butter as well.
4. Progressively add all of the bread/stuffing cubes and stir to coat with the butter. As the cubes start to look dry, add the rest of the butter to ensure the cubes are all lightly coated.
5. Begin adding the stock a 1/2 cup or so at a time and mixing into the stuffing mixture, while turning the burner heat up to high. You want to slowly evaporate off the moisture while the stock saturates the stuffing so as to infuse the flavor more than just soaking everything completely. Keep moving the stuffing around, browning in the pot/saucier, and continue to add in 1/2 batches until completely incorporated into the stuffing.
6. At this point you can transfer the stuffing to a casserole dish(es) and bake immediately (with the addition of a little extra stock if necessary) at 350˚F until brown & crispy (approximately 30–45 minutes). You can also refrigerate the stuffing in the casserole dish, add a bit of stock before reheating, and bake at 350˚F when ready (approximately 45–60 minutes). The flexibility in preparing this a day or two ahead of time to go with a big meal is fantastic!

Prepares ~3–4 quarts.
(Serves 16)
Apple Onion Stuffing

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