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How Do You Stuff It?

In my last post, I talked about the debate over the terms stuffing and dressing.  Maybe the more important question isn’t what is it called, but what do you put into it?  There seem to be so many versions of stuffing/dressing out there. 

My mom’s was a very moist version – always fresh or lightly stale bread (sometimes the stuffing bread that already had sage baked into it was available) broken up into pieces, onion soup mix, eggs, water, sage– maybe on occasion there would be some fresh chopped onions in place of onion soup mix, maybe some chicken or turkey broth in place of some or all of the water, maybe the addition of some chopped celery.  My step-mom’s was always breadcrumbs, onion, celery, sage, and melted butter, making for one that’s a drier and more crumbly in texture.  Both quite different but both very delicious. 

As for me, I think that mine changes a bit every year as I see new ideas or get inspired by certain ingredients.  I generally  make my Mom’s recipe as my base – minus the onion soup mix (too much sodium for me!).  I use fresh onions, and some celery if I have it on hand (I’m not a big celery fan but like the flavour it can add to certain dishes if minced finely – if in bigger pieces I’ll just pick it out because I don’t like the texture).  I usually put some kind of fruit in it – chopped apples (often along with some dried cranberries) are the norm.  I usually put some kind of nuts in it as well – walnuts or pecans are typical but I have put almonds in it before. 

I almost always use broth in place of all or some of the water as I like the depth of flavour it adds.  Beyond Mom’s use of sage, I also like some rosemary, marjoram,  and thyme in my stuffing.  I’ve experimented with adding some other vegetables in it such as finely chopped carrots but I find that I prefer the apples because they add more moisture to  the mix. 

I remember my mom telling me that one of my grandmother’s used to chop up some of the turkey giblets and put some in the gravy and some in the stuffing.  We tried that once but didn’t care for it.  I recently read that a number of people add bacon to their stuffing and since my daughter and her boyfriend are both bacon fanatics, I think I’ll make that addition this year.

What about you?  What do you put in your stuffing/dressing?

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