Grateful Thoughts & The Best Stuffing Recipe
Happy Thanksgiving Eve!
The day before Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year. The week of Thanksgiving is pretty much the only time all year that I really cook, and definitely the only time when I cook a giant bird. I have a bunch of family and friends who come over, and I love having an apartment full of good food and happy guests.
Right now, my giant bird is rinsed and hanging out in his salty brine-bath in the fridge, and my extra bird bits are roasting away in the oven for making stock.
My pumpkin pies are cooling on the table, and my dishwasher is churning away, trying to catch up with me.
It seems like a good time to take a few minutes to think about gratitude
This year, my work is a big source of gratitude in my life. I have a job that I love. I get to work with people across the country who are trying to make the world a better place. And I work with a team of people who are smart, funny, kind, and thoughtful. We’ve worked hard this past year, and I see exciting things happening in the future.
Of course, I am also grateful for my (23-year-old) son, and how he continues to surprise me, teach me new things, and make me laugh. I’m grateful for the rest of my family, too – my parents, sister, aunts & uncles, adorable nieces, and cousins. I’m lucky enough to have friends who have become like a second family. I live in a cozy apartment in a beautiful neighborhood, city, and state. I live in a place where I get to feel like I am part of a community.
In fact, there are so many things I’m grateful for that I could spend all day listing them out and never get the rest of my cooking done, and I should probably get to that.
In honor of the season, though, I wanted to share my recipe for Thanksgiving stuffing (which I adjusted from a Rachel Ray recipe, so it would work for vegetarians).
It’s my favorite part of the meal, and I get a lot of good reviews for it.
If you want to make a meat-lovers version, you can substitute pork sausage for the mushrooms and turkey or chicken broth for the vegetable broth. I make one batch of each version for my guests on Thanksgiving.
Classic (Vegetarian) Bread Stuffing(Serves 8)
1 lb (10 cups) sturdy white bread (Pugliese or something like that), cut into 1-inch cubes.
Drizzle of olive oil
2 boxes white or brown mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch sage leaves, cut into tiny pieces, or chiffonade
4 Tbsp butter
3 ribs celery, chopped
2 large onions, chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
1 large egg, beaten
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt & Pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 325. Grease a 9X13-inch baking dish or a cookie sheet. Spread the bread cubes out on it and bake for 15 to 20 minutes to lightly toast the bread. Transfer the bread to a large bowl.
2. In a large skillet, drizzle some olive oil and sauté the mushrooms with the sage (you can leave a little sage aside to add later as more of a garnish).
3. Once the mushrooms are nice and brown, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the bowl with the bread. Then, melt the butter in the browned bits that are left in the skillet. Add the celery and onions and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Scrape into the bowl with the bread.
4. Add the vegetable broth, egg, cranberries, parsley, and sage to the bowl, along with 1.5 tsp of salt and ½ tsp of pepper.
5. Mix well and transfer to a greased 9X13 baking dish. Cover with greased foil and bake until hot, about 45 minutes.
6. Uncover and bake until browned and crisp at the end, about 15 minutes.
7. Serve it up!