When DH & I go to the U.S., I always bring home 2 lrg bags of Pepperidge Farm Dressing Mix. Like all of us I expect, I “doctor” it up a bit to suit our preferences. The simple truth is that after many yrs of making many versions of bread stuffing, I finally decided you just can’t beat it for flavor & ease of prep. After returning from the U.S. last mo w/my PFDM, DH went to Greece & I was alone at Thanksgiving. While not a holiday here, a local hotel advertised what they called a typical U.S. Thanksgiving meal & served it as a lunch buffet, so a friend & I went to ck it out. I really didn’t expect to learn much that would improve my own fare, but I was so wrong! I learned how to make the best bread stuffing I have ever put in my mouth! For me at least, an added bonus was that it has a distinct Eastern European flavor (Czech, Polish or German in my view), will be perfect to accompany our roast duck on Christmas Eve & would also be excellent w/roast pork & turkey. As good as this is, I suspect all 3 countries would love to claim it as their own. I hope you try this & enjoy it. It is just wonderful & I will never make another! Yield & times have been estimated. (Pic will post after Christmas)
- 2⁄3 cup dried cranberries
- 1⁄2 loaf dark rye bread (roughly 1/2 lb, torn in sml bite-size pieces)
- 3 celery ribs (finely diced)
- 2 red onions (finely diced)
- 2 large apples (peeled, cored & diced)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 (16 ounce) package herb seasoned stuffing mix (Like I said, Pepperidge Farm works for me)
- 8 tablespoons butter or 8 tablespoons margarine
- 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
- 4 cups canned chicken broth (or homemade stock, but I use mine for the gravy)
- Put dried cranberries in a 1 cup measuring cup, fill w/boiling water & set aside to plump.
- Preheat oven to 250°F.
- Tear dark rye bread into small bite-size pieces & place in oven baking dish lrg enough to have them generally in 1 layer. Allow to crisp somewhat, but not go completely dry & crunchy.
- While rye bread is crisping, put 2 tbsp olive oil in lrg dutch oven. Saute diced celery 1st for 1 min over med-heat, add diced onion & saute mix till veggies are beginning to soften. Remove from heat & stir in diced apple just to combine.
- CAUTION: Do not cook further once the apple is added. The apple will cook slightly just by virtue of being added to the hot veggie mix. If you cook further, the apple will likely turn to mush.).
- Dump entire pkg of seasoned stuffing mix over the apples & then the slightly crisped rye bread atop the stuffing mix.
- Dot surface as evenly as possible w/8 tbsp of butter or margarine & sprinkle the caraway seeds atop the mixture. .
- Heat chicken broth or stock to a near boil & pour over all ingredients in the dutch oven. Stir well to combine all ingredients.
- Drain plumped dried cranberries & reserve the liquid. Stir them GENTLY into the stuffing mixture & use the reserved liquid to add more moisture to the stuffing if you feel it is needed.
- You are now done w/the recipe. The dressing can be served immediately, stuffed in the duck/turkey or cooked in the oven later. Follow your usual methods for this.