Stuffing is absolutely my favorite part of Thanksgiving. It is just so good. And yet, like so many Thanksgiving dishes we enjoy, it’s something we only eat during holidays. Why the heck is that? This year I’m making it my new year’s resolution to eat more stuffing.
Now, I’m a) Enormously lazy and b) Don’t believe in improving upon perfection, so I buy boxes of Stove Top. But it is so easy to gussy up. My favorite trick is to just replace part of the water in the stuffing with apple cider, add some small apple chunks and a handful of golden raisins. Cook as you normally wood. It is sooooo good.
But if you just can’t fathom anything from a box marring your holiday masterpiece, I suppose you’ll have to make your stuffing from scratch. Here is a recipe from Betty Crocker that has a nod to the Yakima Valley’s cherry crop. Share your favorites in the comments below, or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 whole turkey (12 lb), thawed if frozen
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 large onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
1 package (16 oz) herb-seasoned stuffing mix
2 medium red apples, chopped (2 cups)
1 1/2 cups dried cherries
1 cup chopped pecans
2 1/2 cups chicken broth (from 32-oz container)
1/2 cup cherry preserves or jam
1/4 cup ruby port, cherry juice or chicken broth
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with shortening or cooking spray; set aside. Remove and discard neck and giblets from turkey. Rinse turkey inside and out with cold water; pat dry with paper towels. In small bowl, mix sage, salt and pepper; rub into turkey skin.
In 8-inch skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion; cook 4 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. In large bowl, thoroughly mix cooked onion and remaining stuffing ingredients.
Turn turkey breast side down. Fill neck cavity lightly with 1 cup of the stuffing (do not pack stuffing because it will expand during roasting). Fasten neck skin of turkey to back with skewer.
Turn turkey breast side up. Fold wings across back of turkey so tips are touching. Fill body cavity lightly with 3 cups of the stuffing (do not pack stuffing because it will expand during roasting). Place remaining stuffing in baking dish. Cover with foil; refrigerate until ready to bake. Tuck legs under band of skin at tail (if present), or tie together with heavy string.
On rack in shallow roasting pan, place turkey, breast side up. Insert ovenproof meat thermometer so tip is in thickest part of inside thigh and does not touch bone.
Cover turkey loosely with foil or roaster cover; roast 3 hours. Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix glaze ingredients; set aside.
Uncover turkey and place foil-covered baking dish with stuffing in oven. Roast 45 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes longer, brushing turkey with glaze frequently, until thermometer reads 165°F and drumsticks move easily when lifted or twisted. Thermometer inserted in center of stuffing in turkey should read 165 degrees. Remove baking dish with stuffing from oven after 40 to 50 minutes of baking time or when thoroughly heated.
Place turkey on warm platter; cover with foil to keep warm. Let stand about 15 minutes for easiest carving. Cover and refrigerate any remaining turkey and stuffing separately.