1(1 lb) loaf Italian (or French) bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 8 cups)
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
3 oz pancetta, chopped into half inch pieces
1 stick butter
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 large celery rib, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
2 t dried poultry seasoning
2 T Italian parsley, chopped
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
1 1/2 cup Parmesan, shredded or grated
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Spoon Mage™ Note:
Never stuff the bird ahead of time. Get the stuffing (or you may call it dressing) ready, stuff, truss if you like to (I don’t), and stick it in the oven to roast. When testing the bird’s temperature, also test the stuffing. The center should read 165° F in order to be safe to eat.
If you are cooking the stuffing outside of the bird, apply your favorite cooking spray, add enough stock and/or wine to make it a little wet, and bake it at 350° F for about 30-40 minutes. You will need one large or two small pans for this.
Remember – always prep your ingredients first. Then there is no scrambling about to chop celery or measure seasonings, it’ll all be right there for you.
Do you call it dressing or stuffing?
This recipe was inspired by a recipe found in Food and Wine Magazine.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the bread cubes in a large buttered roasting pan and toast for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until dry and lightly browned. This may be done a day or two ahead of time.
Remove the goodies from the inside of the bird, adding the neck to the water for stock. Pat the bird dry and set the turkey in a large sturdy roasting pan fitted with a shallow rack – this may be a reusable pan or a disposable pan (get the kind with extra support). If you are using a disposable roaster, place the roaster on a large cookie sheet to provide more support and to make it easier to move to and from the oven.
In a small pan, warm 1 cup of chicken stock plus 1/2 cup white wine. A container in the microwave is just fine. This will be used at the end to moisten the stuffing.
Set a large, deep skillet over medium high heat. When the pan is hot, add the oil. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the sausage and pancetta. Stir. As it cooks, break the sausage into smaller pieces with the spoon. Drain the fat.
Return the pan to the hot burner. Add the butter, chopped onion and celery, sautéing for about 5-6 minutes or until the onion softens.
Add the garlic and stir for 2 minutes, just until the raw aroma changes.
Stir the poultry seasoning, parsley, and salt and pepper into the buttery mix and pour it into a very large bowl.
Add the toasted bread cubes, parmesan, and toss.
Stir in the warmed stock. The goal here is to moisten the bread – not to make it soggy. The exact amount needed may vary a little depending upon how much and what type of bread you used. Remember, stuffing will take on moisture from the turkey so you do not want it wet.
Lightly fill the cavity of the bird with some of the stuffing. As the turkey roasts, it will add some delicious juices and the bread will expand a little. I like to leave a little bit of stuffing falling out onto the front of the bird as the cubes browns quickly and are extremely tasty.
Then cook your bird according to the directions on the package. 22 minutes per pound is a good guide. Remember to test that the meat and stuffing are at the correct temperature. Test the center of the stuffed stuffing. Test at the thickest part of the thigh for the turkey. It will all be done at about 160-165 degrees F. Do not overcook it. The temp will go up a bit as you tent it. Which you should do for half an hour. Should the turkey be at temp before you expect, it’s best to remove it from the oven and tent it longer than you planned. Don’t let it dry out in the oven. Take the stuffing out when you tent the bird. Keep it covered in a warm bowl.