Amy’s Sage Stuffing

Amy’s Sage Stuffing Traditionally Bad
I can’t speak for your family, but in my family there are holiday traditions that are sacred. And these cannot be messed with without serious repercussions. The rules are more strict for Christmas, but the other holidays still have their musts.

There must be Gam’s purple glasses on the table for Easter and, of course, a ham. There must be warm Gingies and Ebleskiver for Christmas. (There is no wiggle room for this one. Ebelskeiver in the Summer is a capital offense—though I have noticed a relaxing of the rules a smidge in recent years…) Thanksgiving is no different, though I do think it’s time for some thought and self-reflection on this one. Here’s why…

For my entire childhood, there were creamed onions on the dinner table for Thanksgiving. The only people who liked them were my grandfathers. And it baffles me to this day that they did. They smelled horrible as the onions bubbled in their sauce on the stove. And, the taste made me gag, Still does—even worse than red cabbage. (Seriously. I am gagging as I write this…) Of course there were always left overs, ’cause after my grandfathers had their serving, that was it. No one else went within five feet of ‘em.

Despite their position as the Thanksgiving pariah, the onions were still there year after year. My grandfathers have been gone for a while now, and I think it’s time that we consciously uncouple from the onions…as a public service. Who’s with me?

So, I asked a number of my friends if they had similar experiences with their Thanksgiving feast. I was pleased to know that my family wasn’t alone in it’s tradition weirdness. Not surprisingly, the one Thanksgiving side that avoided any bad press was the stuffing. I mean it makes sense. How can you go wrong with seasoned buttery bread goodness? And if you make your own not from a mix? Forgeddaboutit!

It’s got to be simple though. None of that newfangled stuffing. If you get funky with the stuffing, we might have problems…

Amy’s Sage Stuffing
Serves 6
This recipe for Amy’s Sage Stuffing tastes best with fresh sage, and is only as good as its ingredients. But it’s so good…

1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
8 tablespoons butter, plus more for buttering dish
1 good-quality baguette (1/2 pound)or Challah loaf, cut into 1-inch cubes (8 cups)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 cup good quality turkey stock or chicken broth (We recommend Kitchen Basics.)
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F, and place a rack in lower third. Butter a 1 1/2-qt shallow baking dish or gratin dish.

Warm the stock in pan on the stove.

Melt in 7 Tablespoons of butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onion, celery, salt and pepper to taste. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened (about 8 to 10 minutes). Transfer to a bowl and toss with bread cubes, and sage, then allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Pour in the warmed stock, then toss with bread mixture until all the liquid is absorbed.

Transfer to baking dish and dot top with remaining tablespoon butter.

Bake, covered with foil, for 30 minutes. Then remove the foil, and bake until top is golden (about 10 minutes more).

Make Ahead
Stuffing can be assembled (but not baked) 1 day ahead and chilled (covered once cool). Bring to room temperature before baking.

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