Homemade stuffing on the left, Stove Top on the right

Homemade stuffing on the left, Stove Top on the right

Stuffing is probably my favorite Thanksgiving side dish and Thanksgiving is one of the only days of the year that I get to eat it, so I want it to be perfect!  I have only had stuffing made from a box a few times in my life and didn’t remember it fondly, but, for the sake of experiment, I decided to give it one more try stacked up against a new recipe for homemade stuffing.  We ended up comparing the recipe below to Turkey flavored Stove Top brand boxed stuffing.  This comparison was part of the same mini Thanksgiving dinner at which we compared different cranberry sauces but the results of the stuffing comparison were much more conclusive:

Herbed Rustic Bread Stuffing

I based this on a recipe for stuffing that I found while perusing last week.  I have had some excellent stuffing in the past, but I’m still striving for perfection (in the stuffing department at least) so I was looking around for a new recipe and found this one.  I changed several of the ingredients to more traditional choices (i.e. celery instead of cranberries, extra onion instead of pecans) so that it would have similar flavors to the boxed stuffing.

Serves 8 to 10 people

1 loaf rustic Italian bread weighing about 1 pound

3 Tbsp. olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup finely chopped shallots

1 medium onion, chopped

1 cup celery, sliced thinly

1/4 cup butter, half a stick

1/3 cup finely chopped parsley

1/4 cup chopped chives

2 Tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

2 cups canned or homemade chicken broth

1.  Remove the crusts from the loaf of bread and cut it into large cubes.  In a large bowl, toss the bread with 3 Tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.   Pour out onto a large rimmed baking sheet and toast in a 375 degree oven, tossing occasionally,  for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Don’t wash the large bowl yet because you’ll need it again in a few minutes!

2.  While bread is toasting, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the shallot, onion and celery and saute , stirring occasionally, until softened, about 15 minutes. Pour the softened vegetables into the large bowl you used earlier.

3.  Add the toasted bread cubes to the vegetable mixture.  Add the parsley, chives and thyme and mix well.  Stir in the chicken broth and toss to combine.

4.  Transfer the bread mixture to a greased 9 by 13 inch pan and cover with foil.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes.  Remove foil from the pan and bake for another 25 minutes or until browned on top.

Bread cubes and other ingredients for Rustic Herb stuffingStuffing all mixed up and ready to go in the pan

This recipe was way more expensive than the boxed stuffing due to the high quality of bread used and the inclusion of so many fresh herbs. It did make more servings than the boxed though, so I will break down the cost per serving.   It also takes a lot more time and effort than boxed stuffing.  That being said, the tasters unanimously agreed that this stuffing is worth it!  The boxed stuffing didn’t seem worth eating next to this homemade variety.  The comments about the Stove Top stuffing were almost entirely negative, peppered with adjectives like “overwhelming”, “mushy”, “very salty”, and “uninteresting”.  Meanwhile, the homemade stuffing was a big hit and described as “fresh”, “flavorful”, and (my personal favorite) “scrumptious”.

Bottom Line: Although the convenience of boxed stuffing makes it a tempting choice, the flavor and texture are not worth the time saved.  Homemade stuffing is worth the extra effort and is a great way to bring more flavor and “scrumptiousness” to your Thanksgiving table.

Homemade Stuffing                                                                        Stove Top Turkey Stuffing

Cost:  $1.83                                                                                                  Cost:  $0.23

Time:  1 1/2 hours                                                                                      Time:  10 minutes

I couldn’t resist posting a photo of our desert for mini-Thanksgiving:  Apple Tart with Caramel Sauce.  This was a delicious fall dessert, try it out and let me know if you like it as much as we did.

Apple Tart with Caramel sauce