*It’s important to use a hearty white bread, like Pepperidge Farm (keep reading for foolproof GF suggestions). I often use primarily white sandwich bread – and I always include the crusts – and sometimes fill in with odds and ends of hot dog or other crusty rolls that I may have in my freezer. Some people swear by potato bread or corn bread, although I haven’t tested them with this recipe. Gluten-free bread works quite well, as long as you follow the all-white bread rule. Whole grain breads, whether GF or regular, tend to result in mushy stuffing. For those who’d like a specific brand to look for when buying gluten-free, I’ve had excellent results with Three Bakers and Udi’s.
**For the dried herbs in this recipe, you may use ground or leaves. When using ground, I use a fairly level teaspoon; when using leaves, I round the teaspoon. Alternatively, you may substitute a tablespoon or two of minced fresh herbs in place of the dried.
***For a dairy-free alternative, I recommend Earth Balance butter.
•The bread cubes may be dried in the oven several days in advance, cooled completely and stored in large resealable bags or an airtight container.
•The vegetable mixture may be sautéed 1-2 days in advance and transferred to an airtight container. (Be sure to include all the butter and juices.) Before stirring into the bread cubes, warm just enough to melt the butter and make it easier to incorporate.
•The eggs may be whisked and combined with the 2 cups of broth, covered and refrigerated up to 1 day in advance.
•The dried spices and seasoning may be mixed in a small bowl or jar up to a week or so in advance, and then covered and stored in a cool, dry place.
If you prefer a crunchy top layer: transfer the removable insert dish to the oven and broil for a couple of minutes, watching closely to avoid burning, until nicely toasted.
Conventional Oven Instructions: Preheat the oven to 350℉ and transfer the stuffing mixture to a casserole dish that has been coated with olive oil or nonstick spray. (You may use two smaller dishes if you don’t have one that’s big enough.) Cover with foil and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until hot. For a crispy top layer, remove the foil during the last 15 minutes of baking or place under the broiler briefly before serving.
Optional stuffing add-ins:
•A few cloves of minced garlic may be added in the last minute or so of sautéing the vegetables.
•Other complementary vegetable choices include leeks, mushrooms and carrots; as with the other vegetables, sauté before mixing into the bread cubes.
•Cooked and crumbled sausage is a lovely addition. For this recipe, use up to 2 pounds (weight before cooking).
•Chestnuts or other nuts such as walnuts, pecans or almonds may be added. Plan on 2 to 3 cups for this size recipe.
•Dried fruit could also be added for those who enjoy. A cup or so of chopped dried apricots, cherries or cranberries is a good amount.
•Some also enjoy oysters, minced giblets or fresh diced apples in their stuffing. Feel free to use this recipe as a framework for what your family enjoys.