The next installment in my 2014 Thanksgiving faves is this incredible stuffing. It’s half family tradition, half my own twist.
What’s your favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner? The turkey? Cranberry sauce? Potatoes? Gravy?
Mine is the stuffing. Hands down. My mom ALWAYS uses a bag of stuffing mix, and I’ve tried to make stuffing using my own breadcrumbs and seasonings, and I never like it as much as the bagged stuff. Probably because that’s what I grew up eating. It tastes like home. My sisters completely agree. If you’re into making your own breadcrumbs and such, though, absolutely go for it. This is just what works for me.
Despite the fact that I used the regular ol’ stuffing mix from years past, I did put my own spin on the flavors. My mom always cooks the stuffing according to the bag’s instructions. She makes half to stuff inside the bird (which is the BEST), and half to put in an extra pan. My sisters and I have all declared it the best part of the meal, so extra stuffing never goes to waste.
I wanted to tweak my mom’s standard version slightly and add an apple-cranberry flavor twist. And as much as I hate change, this one rocked. It was the best of both worlds. It still tasted like tradition to me but had a sweet and tangy kick that was absolutely delicious. My husband and I both loved this version. I have been eating it all week, simply warmed up in the microwave with a glug of gravy. And because I only made a turkey breast for my husband and I, we didn’t have any bird-stuffed stuffing…and it was still perfectly moist and flavorful!
It is holiday comfort food at its finest.
Apple Cider & Cranberry Stuffing (makes 4-6 servings)
4 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely minced
2 celery stalks, finely minced
2 apples, cored and diced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
1 tablespoon chopped sage
2 cups apple cider
1 cup chicken stock
1 (14-oz) bag of stuffing mix (I like Pepperidge Farm’s plain herb variety)
1 cup dried cranberries
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350°F and butter a 2-quart baking dish (use one that has a lid).
Sauté the onions, celery, and apples in 4 tablespoons of butter until they are translucent. Add the garlic and herbs and cook for another minute.
Add the apple cider and chicken broth, bring to a simmer, and turn off heat.
In a large mixing bowl, add the stuffing mix and pour over the hot cider mixture. Add in the cranberries and mix everything to combine. Transfer to a covered 2-quart baking dish.
Bake, covered, for 30-40 minutes. Remove the lid during the last 5-10 minutes if you like a lightly browned top.