Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that sneaks up on you. I usually go straight from making my Halloween costume to shopping for Christmas and, in the middle of all that, I try not to forget to get on a plane and go home for Thanksgiving. That’s one reason the Quest for Claire’s Thanksgiving Day Dressing is so great — it’s my own little countdown to Turkey Day.
We kicked things off last night with Sourdough Stuffing. For a pretty traditional recipe, this was packed full of flavor — you could really taste the tartness of the bread. The entire process took about two hours, from cleaning the mushrooms to sneaking the first bite. That’s not bad when you consider that one person did most of the work and that an hour of that was oven time (aka downtime). If you’re not afraid of a little chopping, I’d say this recipe is downright easy.
That being said, I did have one little snafu. The recipe calls for a one-pound loaf of bread and, that being a pretty standard size, I figured that what I bought at the bakery would be fine. But after I chopped it, my bread cubes only covered one baking sheet instead of the two that the recipe suggested. I considered halving the entire recipe, but decided against it to preserve some sort of scientific integrity in this experiment. In the end, the bread to vegetable ratio was right on, but the texture was totally off.
I took the pan out of the oven after 40 minutes, as the recipe suggested, and the bread was pretty soggy. I baked it for another 20 minutes, thinking that would firm things up. When I took it out, the top was nice and golden, but the bottom was slimy.
This is what I suggest: when you combine the bread and broth, let it soak for about five minutes. Then use a spoon to transfer the solids from the bowl to the baking dish and discard the remaining liquid. That way, you’re sure to have enough liquid to keep the bread moist, but not so much as to completely drown it.
One down, four to go!