In my family, stuffing comes from a box. And I admit, I like that shit. But I LOVE this stuffing. I’ve been making some version of it since a friend and I went to a pretentious-as-fuck Friendsgiving in Brooklyn back in 2008 (everyone was really snotty about esoteric art and I’m fairly certain Lana Del Rey was there). We were asked to bring stuffing (or maybe they even called it dressing, or “common people bread stuffs”) and since I’d just published a casserole cookbook (yes, it’s true), and stuffing could technically be considered a casserole, I figured I better bring my A-game. I did’t really follow any recipe — just simmered a bunch of really good shit in butter and poured it over some day-old bread. Obviously, it was amazing. And now I make it every year — and I sing “Got to be startin’ stuffing! Got to be startin’ stuffing!” the entire time I’m cooking. Every damn year. And if I had to give it a name, I guess it would be a sage stuffing recipe, but I prefer to just call it The Best Damn Stuffing in the World. Maybe even The Best Fucking Stuffing in the World. You know.
There are two secrets (okay, three) to making this shit taste amazing. The first is layering fresh sage. Like adding it at practically every step. The second is butter. SO. MUCH. FUCKING. BUTTER. And the third is onion powder. Yes, I love onion powder, so, so hard. I call for a tablespoon of it in this recipe, but if anyone actually measured how much I dump in, it would probably be more. Feel free to use it generously is all I’m saying.
This sage stuffing recipe can be made and mixed the night before, then refrigerated overnight. If you go this route, take it out of the fridge at least an hour before you want put it in the oven, and cook it with a lid or foil on top for the first 20 minutes or so. It may need a little more time in the oven, too (closer to an hour) to be fully cooked. It can also easily be made vegetarian by swapping vegetable stock for the chicken stock. And if you want to make it vegan, that’s a bummer, but you can probably use olive oil or coconut oil in place of the butter.
While you’re in the kitchen you might as well make my Grand Marnier cranberry sauce, too.
And in case you’re wondering, nope. You definitely shouldn’t cook in a vintage cooper pan. Won’t be making that mistake again, but it sure is pretty, huh?
The Best Damn Stuffing in the World (A Sage Stuffing Recipe)
2 sticks (1 cup) butter
8 tablespoons chopped fresh sage (or more!)
1 large, white onion, chopped
3-4 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2-3 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 pink lady apples, large dice (with skins)
1.5 cups chicken stock
1.5 cups finely chopped baby bella mushrooms
1 tablespoon onion powder (or more if you love it as much as I do)
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly-cracked black pepper to taste
2 day-old baguettes, torn into ½-inch pieces
6 ounces dried cranberries (Craisins or similar)
Melt 1 stick (1/2 cup) of the butter in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, then add 2 tablespoons of chopped sage. When you smell the sage (which will happen quickly), add the onion, carrots, and celery. When the onions become translucent, add the garlic and second stick of butter, and stir until the butter is melted. (At this point you can add salt and pepper or save it to the end, but I usually add a little a few times as I go.)
Add another 2 tablespoons of chopped sage along with the apples. Pour in the chicken stock and stir. Once the liquid is simmering again, add the mushrooms, onion powder, cayenne, and 2 more tablespoons of chopped sage. Stir well, and salt and pepper to taste (keeping in mind that you’ll be tossing this with two baguettes — so season that shit really well!).
At this point, I usually turn the burner’s heat down as low as it will go, preheat the oven to 350ºF, and start tearing the bread right into a 4-ish quart casserole dish. Then, I pour the mixture from the stove over the bread, along with the dried cranberries, and final 2 teaspoons of chopped sage and mix it really, really well.
Bake, uncovered, for about 45 minutes, or until the stuffing begins to brown on top. For best results, stir once throughout the cooking process.
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