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This is the best stuffing ever. Even my picky inlaws LOVE it. This recipe takes some planning but all of the prep work can be done well ahead of time. I make the bread, then combine all the ingredients except broth, then freeze it in a foil baking dish. Next I freeze the broth in muffin tins and when it's solid, I toss it on top of the frozen stuffing. Come the holidays, I pop the whole thing straight from the freezer into the oven. Prep time does not include baking the bread.
For the Bread
- 10 -12 ounces milk
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons butter or 2 tablespoons margarine, at room temperature
- 2 1⁄2 cups white flour
- 1 1⁄2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 1⁄4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon fresh coarse ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon rosemary
- 1 teaspoon sage
- 1⁄2 teaspoon savory
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
For the stuffing part
- 3⁄4 cup unsalted butter or 3⁄4 cup margarine
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 4 stalks celery, chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 large eggs or 1⁄2 cup pasteurized fat-free liquid egg product
- 1⁄2 cup chopped walnuts
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 5 cups chicken broth or 5 cups vegetable broth
- For the Bread- set up your breadmaker for a 2 pound loaf on the wheat setting and follow your breadmaker's instructions on what order to add ingredients if it's different from my order.
- Combine Milk, 1.5 tsp Salt, 2 tbs butter and put in breadmaker.
- Combine both flours, sugar, pepper, thyme, rosemary, sage, savory, parsley, and poultry seasoning. Mix well.
- Add dry mixture to breadmaker.
- Add yeast to breadmaker.
- Bake on the "Whole Wheat" setting for a 2 pound loaf.
- When finished, remove bread promptly and let cool.
- Preheat oven to 200°F If you have a convection setting (with the fan) use it.
- Chop up bread into 1" chunks and spread them out on a baking sheet.
- Lightly toast the bread chunks in the oven until dry, turning them several times as needed. You want them to be dry but not crunchy. This takes 20-30 minutes. Alternatively, you can let them sit on the counter under a towel for 24 hours until stale instead of toasting.
- For the stuffing part:.
- In a large skillet, melt the 3/4 cup of butter.
- Add onions and celery.
- Saute for 3 to 5 minutes until they start to turn translucent.
- Add garlic, saute for another 2 to 3 minutes.
- Remove from heat.
- Add walnuts and mix well.
- Place bread chunks into a large bowl.
- Add vegetable mixture, eggs, 2 teaspoons salt. Mix well.
- Butter a casserole dish- I use a 12 x 15 but whatever you have that will fit the stuffing is fine. Remember you can serve the stuffing straight from this dish, so use something pretty if you want.
- Directions for baking right away: add 1 cup of broth now and mix well again, then continue adding broth until the stuffing looks moist. I use at least 4 cups. It will dry out some in the oven so don't skimp. Put the whole thing in the buttered dish. Cover with foil.
- Directions to freeze for later:, put the bread mixture into the buttered dish, cover with foil, and put it in the freezer. Get out a 12-cup muffin tin and pour your broth evenly into all the cups. Stick in the freezer until frozen solid. By this time your bread mixture is also frozen. Place the 12 frozen rounds of broth into the pan, re-cover, stick back in the freezer. It will freeze just fine for at least a month, probably longer.
- Directions for baking:.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Bake, covered, for 45 minutes until heated through. You may need to add 10 minutes if you froze the mixture.
- Remove foil, stir gently.
- Bake, uncovered, another 15 minutes until golden brown.
- Serve warm, with gravy.
This stuffing is definitely AMAZING! I love how the seasonings are baked into the bread and the flavor is absolutely wonderful. I froze it ahead of time as you suggested and it worked out great!