Apples, Main Attraction, Vegetable Side Dishes

Apple and Herb Stuffing

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14570586_1389268961101197_6049327109405814425_oA Happy Thanksgiving to you! Each year as I make stuffing for the celebration I’m reminded of the joke my American grandmother, Peg used to tell. Do you know the one about they boy who didn’t care much for the turkey but loved the bread that the bird ate?

My kids wouldn’t get that joke because I never bake the stuffing inside our holiday roast. It’s not because I’m afraid it will poison anyone, it’s because I’m afraid there won’t be enough stuffing to go around! My grandmother’s bread stuffing was a revelation to me because my Nova Scotian Mom’s delicious “dressing” was potato-based. Grandmother included an egg or two to bind it together but it’s perfectly good without it.

Apple and Herb Stuffing

This recipe lends itself well to personal adaptation. I’ve included some options below to get you started!

1 loaf White or Whole Wheat Bread torn in roughly 1 inch pieces and left out to stale overnight (Mum’s Bakery in Berwick makes a good one from scratch)
1/4 cup Butter
2 Onions, diced
4 stalks Celery, diced
3 cups diced Apple (leave the peel on, it’s pretty)
2 teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon dried Thyme, crumbled
1/2 cup chopped Parsley
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
2 cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock (Milk or plain water will work, too!)
2 Eggs (optional)
1 cup any (or none) of the following: Toasted Walnuts, Pecans or Sunflower Seeds, Dried Cranberries, Crumbled Cooked Sausage

Preheat the oven to 350°. Place the torn bread in a large bowl. In a frying pan, melt the butter over medium low heat. Add the onions and cook and stir for a minute before adding the celery. After a few minutes, stir in the apple and reduce the heat to low. Sprinkle in the salt and continue to stir and cook until the vegetables are tender and golden, about fifteen minutes. Stir in the thyme, parsley and pepper and pour in the stock.
Scrape the apple mixture into the bowl with the bread. If you’re using the eggs, beat them in a small bowl and pour them into the bread mixture. Add any of the additional options, then stir with a spoon until the bread is evenly moistened and all the ingredients are well combined. Turn into a buttered baking dish. Bake covered (or uncovered, if you like a crispy top) for 45 minutes to an hour, until hot throughout.