By Julia Westhoff
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about cooking for Thanksgiving, it’s that it is an intensely personal experience. Most of us, I think, prefer to eat the exact same type of meal we grew up with – whether that includes a picture perfect turkey and homemade pumpkin pie, or cranberries from a can and instant mashed potatoes.
Six years ago we were living in Panama and I was so looking forward to cooking a Thanksgiving meal with my fellow Peace Corps volunteers. I still harbor an intense anger for a volunteer named Fred who came into the house where we were staying and took over the meal, making his dry cornbread stuffing and ruining the one thing I had been looking forward to. I take Thanksgiving very seriously.
It’s for that reason that I hesitated to include this recipe. This is, hands-down, my favorite stuffing. But it’s also the stuffing I ate every year with my family in Minnesota. It’s comforting and warming and classic – it’s home.
But if you do happen to be looking for a stuffing recipe this year, please give this one a try. It’s got the traditional flavors of sage and rosemary, but also a sweet kick of green apples. It’s my mom’s recipe, and it’s the one thing I miss when I don’t have Thanksgiving with my family.
Catherine Reed’s Stuffing
“This makes a huge amount,” says Catherine. (It fed our family of 5 with plenty of leftovers)
2 sticks butter
1 cup chopped celery
1 large onion chopped
2 green apples chopped
2 tablespoons ground sage
1 tsp rosemary
20 ounces bread crumbs or cubes
2 cups chicken broth or water
Fry the onion in the butter, then add the herbs. Mix with the bread crumbs in a giant bowl or pot. Add water if the stuffing seems dry. If you do plan on baking the stuffing and turkey together, stuff your turkey just before putting it in the oven and cook it to 180 degrees F. If the turkey is done but the stuffing isn’t, remove the turkey, transfer the stuffing to a casserole dish and return the stuffing to the oven to finish cooking.
If you want to cook the stuffing on its own, preheat oven to 350°F and butter 3-quart casserole or 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Transfer stuffing to dish and drizzle with 1/2 cup hot stock. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until heated through, about 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until top is slightly crisp and golden, about 10 minutes longer. Serve immediately.