My mother always put the stuffing inside the turkey, but I've read that this isn't safe. What do you think?
There definitely are food safety considerations. If you plan to put the stuffing inside the turkey, don't do so until right before you're ready to roast the bird (and don't do it with the high-temperature roasting technique, because the cavity should be empty for the heat to circulate). Be aware that a turkey with stuffing takes longer to cook. The stuffing is done when a thermometer inserted into the middle of it registers 165 degrees.
Our solution: Make your stuffing in a separate casserole dish, and stop worrying. (If you have enough turkey drippings after making the gravy, spoon some over the stuffing.)
Prosciutto and Cornbread Stuffing
This savory (and pretty) side dish is almost a meal in itself. Ask for thick slices of prosciutto. The optional addition of two lightly beaten eggs will provide a firmer texture.
Adapted from "Perfect Party Food," by Diane Phillips (Harvard Common Press, 2005).
MAKE AHEAD: Cover and refrigerate the unbaked dressing (without eggs) for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before baking.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 pound prosciutto, diced (may substitute pancetta)
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons dried sage
1 to 11/2 cups turkey stock or chicken broth
Freshly ground black pepper
Two 9-by-9-inch pans cornbread, cooled and crumbled
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 eggs, lightly beaten (optional)
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Cook the prosciutto or pancetta for about 2 minutes, or until the ham is a little brown. Add the onion and sage. Continue to cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent. Add 1 cup of the stock or broth and salt and pepper to taste. The mixture should be highly seasoned.
In a large bowl, mix the crumbled cornbread, parsley and stock or broth mixture, stirring to combine. (The stuffing should be slightly moist but not wet. Add more broth if it seems too dry.)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with nonstick spray oil and set aside.
Add eggs, if desired, to the cornbread mixture and transfer to the prepared baking dish. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
Per serving: 234 calories, 5 g protein, 17 g carbohydrates, 16 g fat, 35 mg cholesterol, 8 g saturated fat, 399 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fiber
Recipe tested by Judith Weinraub; e-mail questions to email@example.com
Herbed Bread Dressing
Makes about 12 cups
This is a basic fragrant and foolproof recipe. Adapted from the November 1999 issue of Gourmet magazine.
MAKE AHEAD: Mix together and refrigerate for up to 1 day; bring to room temperature before baking.
10 cups 1-inch cubes crusty country-style bread (about 1 pound)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus additional for the dish
3 medium onions, chopped
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced crosswise
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
About 11/2 cups turkey stock or chicken broth
Freshly ground black pepper
Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter a large casserole dish and set aside.
Spread the bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast, shaking the sheet occasionally, just until bread is dry, 25 to 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the onion, celery, thyme, sage and rosemary and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the toasted bread cubes, vegetable mixture (with all of the butter), stock or broth and salt and pepper to taste. Toss to combine. Let cool completely.
Transfer to the prepared casserole dish and cover with aluminum foil.
If making in advance, refrigerate. Bring to room temperature when ready to bake.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Bake, covered, about 20 minutes or until heated through. If you prefer a crunchy top, uncover the dressing for the last 10 minutes. If the dressing seems dry, add additional stock or broth.
Per serving: 188 calories, 4 g protein, 23 g carbohydrates, 9 g fat, 21 mg cholesterol, 5 g saturated fat, 282 g sodium, 2 g dietary fiber
E-mail questions to firstname.lastname@example.org