Last Thanksgiving, my Aunt Doreen made THE best stuffing I’ve ever tasted. It was light and delicious and different from the usual, traditional stuffings I had ever had. It also didn’t result in massive heartburn, which is a major win when you’re starting to get older.
(Side note: I haven’t made the stuffing this year yet, so I don’t have a photo. In lieu of that, I give you another one of my most favourite things: wine!)
Because it’s my Auntie’s recipe, and because she’s a fantastic cook, she makes it old-school style. That is to say, she really doesn’t have exact measurements.
So if you like to free-style it with recipes – this one is for you! If you’re completely thrown off by having to guesstimate ingredient portion sizes, you may want to try this one out a few times before serving it at a big holiday dinner.
Here’s what Aunt Doreen says:
1 small-to-medium sized onion
1 stick of celery
2 handfuls of oatmeal
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp sage
A pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper
1 loaf of day-old bread – Any type of sandwich bread you prefer, but it’s best to come from a bakery. Even better if it’s homemade!
Any amount of cranberries, halved – We use about a half a cup, but it’s really to your liking
Equal amounts of orange juice and either water, broth (if you have a homemade type you like to make) or soup stock. *See my notes below for further directions, but the reason this isn’t measured is because you just want to add very small amounts until you get the bread mixture just slightly moist. You don’t want it soggy.
Dice the onion and celery and brown in 1-2 tsp of olive oil.
When onion is soft and slightly browning, take the pan off the heat and allow it to cool.
Add the oatmeal. This gives the stuffing a delicious nutty flavour.
Add Italian seasoning, sage, salt and pepper and mix well.
Cut the bread into cubes and add to the mixture. Mix together.
Now – this is where the old-school magic comes in. My Aunt says she smells the mixture to see if there is enough seasoning. (This comes with practice).
Add cranberries and mix.
Add equal amounts of orange juice and ONE of the following: water, homemade broth OR soup stock. Broth or soup stock will give the most flavour. You want to add very little amounts until you get this just right. The mixture should be slightly moist. Not soggy at all. The idea is to steam it and make the bread soft. (So you would need the water, broth or soup stock to be warm or hot enough to do so).
Now you can put it into the turkey – but my Aunt swears by putting it into a buttered pot or casserole dish and popping it into the oven at about 325 F just as soon as the turkey comes out of the oven. It should take about 30 minutes to cook.
If you put this together before cooking it, wait to add the liquids until right before you’re ready to cook the stuffing.
Enjoy!! We love this recipe and especially love the finessing it takes to make it just right.