Herbed Challah Stuffing 12.000

Jennifer Chase for The Washington Post

Nov 16, 2016

This recipe works as a base with three ways to customize, depending on your holiday crowd. For vegetarian options, see the VARIATIONS, below.

You’ll need two 9-by-13-inch baking pans.

Make Ahead: The bread cubes need to be left at room temperature to dry out for 3 days. The additions you choose may be prepared up to 1 day in advance. The stuffing can be assembled and refrigerated a day in advance.


Servings:
12

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 12 servings

Ingredients
  • For the base
  • One 1-pound unsliced challah (see headnote)
  • Leaves from 12 stems fresh thyme (about 3 tablespoons)
  • Leaves from 3 stems fresh rosemary, minced (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
  • 8 small sage leaves, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1/2 cup packed, chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the pans
  • 3 cups no-salt-added vegetable or chicken or turkey broth
  • 1/2 cup turkey drippings or melted unsalted butter
  • For sausage-apple-onion stuffing
  • 1 pound maple breakfast sausage, casings removed
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups diced celery
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 1 pound mixed apples, peeled, cored and diced (about 2 cups)

Directions

For the base: Cut the challah into 1 1/2-inch cubes; leave them to air-dry in a large pan at room temperature for 3 days, tossing them a few times during that period.

Transfer to a very large mixing bowl along with the thyme, rosemary, sage, parsley, salt and pepper. Use your impeccably clean hands to combine. Pour the butter and broth over the bread and stir well without breaking it up too much.

For the sausage-apple-onion stuffing: Line a plate with paper towels.

Drop pinches of the sausage into a large, wide skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, just until the sausage loses its raw look; do not brown. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the sausage to the lined plate.

Wipe out the skillet and return to medium heat; add 2 tablespoons of the butter. Once it has become melted and foamy, stir in the celery. Cook for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a mixing bowl.

Add 2 more tablespoons of the butter to the now-empty skillet; once it has melted, stir in the onions. Cook for about 5 minutes or until translucent. Transfer to the bowl with the celery.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to the same skillet; once it has melted, stir in the apples. Cook for a few minutes, until slightly softened, then transfer to the same bowl.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease the baking pans with butter. Cut parchment paper to fit the pans and grease one side of the parchment with butter.

Add the cooked, drained sausage and the apple-onion mixture to the bread mixture, stirring gently to incorporate.

Fill the baking pans, pressing very gently to pack the stuffing in place. It will puff up slightly while cooking. Place the buttered side of the parchment directly on the surface of the stuffing, then cover tightly with aluminum foil.

Bake (middle rack) for 45 to 55 minutes. Remove the foil and parchment and drizzle the top of the stuffing with turkey drippings or melted butter. Slide the pans back in the oven, uncovered; bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the top and edges are crisped.

VARIATIONS: To make mushroom-celery-onion stuffing, melt 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 pound of mixed stemmed and sliced mushrooms. Increase the heat to medium-high; cook without stirring until the mushrooms have browned on one side, then toss to cook evenly. Add 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper and 1/4 cup brandy (may substitute sherry, vermouth, dry white wine or water), using a spatula to dislodge any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Let cool, then add this mixture to the base ingredients and proceed with the recipe above.

To make apple-celery-pecan stuffing, omit the sausage in the sausage-apple-onion recipe, then follow the recipe to create the mixture. Add 1 to 2 cups toasted pecan halves (see NOTE) as the last step before combining with the base mixture and proceeding with the recipe above.

NOTE: To toast the pecan halves, spread them on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in a 325-degree oven just until fragrant and lightly browned. Cool completely before using.

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Recipe Source

From Washington area cookbook author Cathy Barrow. CORRECTION: An earlier version of this recipe misstated the amount of vegetable, chicken or turkey broth needed. It is 3 cups, not 2 quarts.

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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