...because why should stuffing be just for the holidays?
Ok, so I just need to preface something here. This recipe is technically "dressing" until you stuff it into the cavity of a bird or other stuffing-deserving food item like a roast, cabbage leaves, squash...possibilities are endless.
As all of my family is from the South, I tend to be a bigger expert on cornbread dressing, so I tend to rely pretty heavily on my amazingly talented, lovely, and brilliant wife (I love you dear) when it comes to traditional stuffing. Recently, Megan made this for a Friendsgiving and it was a total hit. The rye bread gave it just enough punch to keep the stuffing interesting...the bacon didn't hurt either. I'll let Megan take it away, because this really is her masterpiece.
Since we're not stuffing, our "dressing" recipe is as follows:
2 cups cubed, day-old caraway rye, or other rye bread
5 cups cubed, day-old maestro loaf, or other sour wheat
(or store-bough dried bread cubes...I won't tell)
1 cup bread crumbs, or if you like your stuffing a bit chunkier use more cubed bread
1 slice thick cut bacon, sliced 1/4" thick
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
2-3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 tsp each fresh thyme, rosemary, sage, parsley finely chopped
2 cups chicken broth, or broth of your choice
S+P to taste
Start by cubing up your day-old (or older!) left over bread. If you don't have day-old (let's be honest, I can never stop eating fresh bread) you can use fresh. Just cube it up and leave it uncovered to dry for several hours, or place in 350 degree oven for 10-minutes or until lightly browned.
Pre-heat oven to 375.
In a large sauce pan, render bacon on medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add butter, onion, and celery and cook until tender and translucent, another 3-5 minutes. Add chopped herbs, salt, pepper, and 2 cups of broth. Cook until lightly simmering.
Add cubed bread and bread crumbs to a large bowl and add in all of the onion, bacon, and celery from the saucepan to your bowl (a large slotted spoon works great!). Then, gradually add liquid by the ladle-full to your bread, tossing to coat between each ladle. You want to do this gradually so that the bread evenly coats. Keep adding liquid until the bread retains it's shape without getting too soggy. It may take all of the broth, or not even half. That's ok! Just keep adding it slowly.
(DISCLAIMER: I love really moist stuffing. To accomplish this, keep adding liquid until the individual cubes start to resemble a slightly wet sponge. It may take more liquid than the 2 cups, so I like to keep an extra box of chicken broth on-hand. You can always use the extra to start some gravy or turkey noodle soup with your leftover bird! If you are stuffing a bird of course...)
Scoop your mixture into a 9"x13" deep baking dish and bake uncovered for 25 minutes or until the center is set.
Serve along side a lovely roasted turkey, mashed potatoes (with goat cheese maybe?!), and brussell sprouts and topped with gravy for a to-die-for feast.
Or simply scoop into a bowl and let the buttery, herby, bready-goodness warm your soul :).