This is the dressing I made for our Thanksgiving #1 get-together yesterday. It got rave reviews, and I must admit, it was my most favorite attempt, by far. I owe it all to the bread. In years past, I resorted to using those pre-packaged minature bread cubes and my dressing, although passable, lacked a certain texture.
So this year I decided to invest the time in making my own bread cubes, using a lovely hefty wheat bread in the mix, so-to-speak, and the result was well worth the effort. Here’s what I did:
1 loaf of sliced,white bread (save the empty bread bag to later keep the toasted bread cubes)
1 round artisan wheat bread (the hefty kind)
32 oz. chicken broth
4 -5 celery stalks, finely sliced (I slice through each stalk twice lengthwise and then thinly slice across them.)
1 med. onion, medium chopped
8 – 10 mushrooms, sliced (I used the reg. old button kind)
Cut veggies should look something like this:
finely cracked pepper
1 stick unsalted butter (3/4 of it used to saute veggies; 1/4 to both grease the pan, saving about 4 small pats to place atop dressing)
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Cut bread into large cubes, place on baking sheets and lightly toast, but not turning color. You want to just remove the moisture. Set aside. (I prepared the bread cubes the night before, allowed to cool and then put all in the bread bag which had contained the sliced bread, lightly tied. In the morning, I put them on a large baking sheet, spreading them out a bit to lose any leftover moisture.) Then into a large bowl.
In the meantime, heat chicken broth in separate pan and keep hot. During this time, heat a large skillet on medium-high, and melt 3/4 of the butter. Put the veggies in and stir around a few minutes, turning heat to medium after first couple minutes. Add garlic salt, pepper and poultry seasoning to veggies to taste. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until veggies are translucent. Remove from heat and let stand. At this time, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Next, add cooked veggies to the bread cubes. Add about half of heated chicken broth to bread mixture and lightly toss. Add the rest, tossing thoroughly, but gently. (Note: you may not add the entire 32oz., depending upon the amount of bread you end up with. You want a moistened, but not soggy dressing–unless you like it that way.) Add more poultry seasoning, garlic salt and pepper to adjust for taste.
Once mixed, place in buttered pan and gently spread out. Dot remaining butter (the 1/4 used to first butter pan and should have about 4 or 5 small pats) atop the mixture. Put into the preheated oven, uncovered. Bake for 30 – 35 min. or until dressing is nicely browned and springy. Remove from oven and let cool a bit before covering with foil; otherwise, it will tend to get somewhat soggy. And we don’t want a soggy dressing. That’s the gravy’s job.
You know, I think even Kaukab might want to try making this. Let’s give her call.
On second thought…