It’s Canadian Thanksgiving, and I’m half Canadian, so I think it’s only appropriate I have half a Thanksgiving dinner. The important half… No, not turkey. Stuffing.
Now, I realize that stuffing is an intensely personal food item. Everyone has their favorite kind, usually whatever their mama or grandma made. Well, you’re all wrong. This is the best stuffing recipe in existence. (And yes, it’s the kind my mum made.) When I was tiny, I remember her putting it inside the bird, but my sister became a vegetarian when I was still pretty young, at which point Mum started baking it in a casserole dish. That’s the way I learned to make it, which I guess technically makes it dressing and no longer stuffing, but technicalities be damned: it’s delicious.
The original recipe called for country (white) bread, which I still do when cooking for company, but I use whole-wheat when it’s just me and B. I like the nutty taste, and any time you substitute whole grain you’re getting better nutritional bang for your buck, as well as a more filling dish, reducing portion size significantly.
Simple Apple Stuffing Recipe
- 8 thick bread slices, slightly stale or toasted
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 4 apples, peeled,cored, and chopped
- 3 celery sticks, finely chopped
- 12 prunes, pitted and chopped
- 3 oz fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tsp fresh sage, finely chopped
- 1 stick butter, melted
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- pinch of ground mace
- pinch of ground nutmeg
- pinch of ground cloves
Preheat your oven to 350°F and spray the inside of a 2-quart casserole dish with non-stick spray. While the oven is preheating, get chopping. The bread needs to be dry to better absorb all the moisture and flavor from the other ingredients, so I usually let my bread sit out at least overnight to get it slightly stale, but if you just bought the loaf, you need to cut slices and toast them (in the preheating oven). Then cube them up and add them to a big bowl with your chopped onion, apples, celery, prunes, sage and parsley.
In order to evenly distribute the seasonings, add them all to the melted butter and stir. Then pour this over the chopped goodies and toss to combine. Transfer to your baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for 45 minutes, then let sit for 10-15 before serving.
Now, you may think a big 2-quart casserole is too big for myself and my other half, especially considering the whole wheat factor. Not so. Stuffing is one of those dishes that keeps getting better, the longer the flavors have to develop. So go ahead. Make enough for leftovers. If you don’t, you’ll be kicking yourself, and I’ll be laughing all the way to the table.