Sometimes the best part of a holiday meal is not the turkey--it's the stuffing!
The main component of stuffing is starch-potatoes, rice, or bread. Most people use bread as the main ingredient for stuffing, adding other items to suit their personal taste. If a recipe calls for dry, cubed bread, slice your bread into cubes and bake the cubes on a cookie sheet on low heat for about 10 minutes.
Stuffing can be very simple, or more elaborate, involving fruit, nuts, seafood, wine, sausage or veggies.
Don't use raw, uncooked ingredients when making stuffing. Veggies, meat, seafood, and even rice should all be cooked beforehand. If you want to save time, you can chop and cook ingredients the day before, cover and refrigerate. Then, combine the ingredients and stuff the bird right before you cook it.
You can go beyond bread and butter when it comes to stuffing. Meat stuffing, especially sausage, is quite popular, but if you are looking to spice things up a bit, try using bacon or oysters.
Fruit is a great option if you want a sweeter stuffing. Use apples, raisins, cranberries currants or pears. You can also add nuts, such as macadamias, chestnuts or hazelnuts.
Instead of using broth as a liquid ingredient, consider using wine or whisky (in moderation, of course).
You should always be careful when cooking with poultry. Whether you are making a spicy or fruity stuffing, the same rules should always be followed to ensure that you are cooking safely.
Fill the neck and body cavities lightly. There is no need to jam the stuffing in and pack it tightly. If it is packed too tightly, it will not heat and cook properly. Stuffing expands when it bakes, so as a rule of thumb, use Â¾ cup of stuffing for every pound of meat.
Do not stuff the turkey the night before; stuff it right before you pop it in the oven. Turkey juices may ruin the stuffing, even if it is refrigerated.
Make sure you cook the stuffing long enough to kill bacteria. When you remove the turkey, check the temperature of the stuffing with a meat thermometer (when it comes to stuffing, don't use the pop-up thermometer that comes with the turkey). The stuffing should reach a minimum of 165° F. If it needs some extra time, scoop it out and cook it in a casserole dish.
Stuffing should be moist, not dry. Moisture is needs to help kill bacteria while cooking.