Stuffing is one of the many foods that just never looks as good as it tastes. Actually, I should say that it starts to look very good but only after you know how it tastes. When I was a kid I always shied away from the stuffing. It looked “wet” or “icky” or there was “stuff” in it. Now, the exact same stuffing recipe makes my mouth water when I see a batch, because I know how good the flavorful bread and veggie mixture really is.
This particular stuffing is a Roasted Garlic Stuffing, and one of my Thanksgiving side dishes for this year. It looks plain, as stuffings go, but has a lot of flavor. I used an entire head of roasted garlic in the stuffing, so it tastes a bit like garlic bread mixed in with the sage and vegetable mixture I used as a base. It goes great with both turkey and gravy. It has a crispy top and moist interior, as this is baked in the oven in a casserole dish before serving. I used a mixture of whole grain and plain white bread for the stuffing pictured and would recommend using white bread or another mild-tasting bread for this stuffing because a strong, multi-grain bread might overwhelm the flavor of the garlic a bit.
The only problem with baked stuffings is that you usually have to wait until the turkey is done before putting them in the oven. One of the best things about this recipe is that it allows you to multi-task by roasting the garlic while the turkey cooks, so you can have everything ready to go in when the bird comes out.
Roasted Garlic Stuffing
1 head of garlic, top trimmed off
3 tbsp butter
1 cup onions, diced
3/4 cup celery, diced
1 tsp rubbed sage
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
8 cups white or other mild bread cubes
1 1/4 cups vegetable, chicken or turkey stock
salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350F.
Wrap trimmed garlic clove in aluminum foil and roast for 60-75, until very tender. Garlic can be prepared in advance.
In a saute pan over medium heat, cook butter, onions and celery until onions are just tender, about 6-8 minutes. Stir in sage and cayenne. Squeeze all roasted garlic from the garlic head and into the saute pan. Mash garlic with a spatula to soften, if necessary.
Place bread cubes in a large bowl. Add in garlic mixture, stock and salt and pepper. Stir well with a spatula to evenly distribute ingredients.
Pour mixture into an 8×8-inch casserole dish, lightly greased. Cover with aluminum foil.
Bake for 20 minutes with foil, then remove foil and bake for additional 15 minutes to crisp the top of the stuffing.
*Note: This recipe can be doubled and baked in a 9×13-inch pan.