This will be enough to stuff a large turkey 18lbs and up. You can bake extra in a baking pan along with the turkey. Lately there have been recommendations against cooking the stuffing in the bird but it really doesn’t taste as good done separately. Just make sure you don’t stuff the bird until it is ready to go into the oven. Letting the warm stuffing sit in a cold bird for a long time can cause bacteria to grow. I have never had anyone get sick from my stuffing in 40 years so “I ain’t gonna change now”. You can tweak this to any way you like it best.
- One or two large bags of Pepperidge Farm Seasoned Stuffing Mix (depending on the size of the bird)
- One large onion, chopped
- One small bunch of parsley, chopped
- Turkey liver and heart (found in the neck of the bird usually) chopped. Reserve the giblet and neck for broth to add to the gravy.
- One pound of bulk sausage (Jones is the best but there are others)
- Three pounds of chestnuts, cooked, peeled and cut into pieces. Trader Joe’s now has them all ready to cut up. You will need to adjust if you buy these. I usually buy them with shells so it adds up to at least three pounds before cooking. I like the chestnuts alot so I use alot.
- A lot of butter, at least one stick
- Dried thyme-about one tbsp or more if needed. I like a lot of thyme.
- Dried basil-about 2 tsps
- Two eggs, lightly beaten
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a large cast iron pan, cook the onion in two tbsps butter until soft. Crumble and add the sausage to the pan. Cook until sausage is no longer pink and onion is browned. Add the parsley and the chopped heart and liver and cook very briefly until heated and no longer pink.
Pour the dry stuffing mix into a VERY large bowl or spaghetti pot. Add the entire contents of the pan and stir it up well. Add the chestnuts and mix. Add the eggs and mix all up well. Melt more butter in the cast iron pan and add to moisten the stuffing. Add the thyme and basil. Salt and pepper to taste. If the stuffing seems dry add water until it is nice and moist and a bit sticky. Some people use chicken broth, but I use water. I also try to moisten with the butter which will help to flavor the turkey. I usually use my hands to do the final mix so I can tell if it is moist enough. Dry stuffing is yucky.
Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water. Pat the inside dry and with your hands put the stuffing inside the body cavity and in the neck cavity. I usually push in as much as I can so that the stuffing expands and some cooks outside the body cavity. The neck stuffing should be covered by the loose flap of skin. Rub the outside of the bird with more butter and generously sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover the tops of the legs and the wing tips with aluminum foil to avoid burning and cook the bird immediately. I cook at 15 minutes to a pound at 350 degrees. Baste the bird often during cooking and remove the aluminum foil during the last hour or so of cooking. Check for doneness by slicing into the leg joint. If the juices run clear the bird is done. Allow it to rest for about a half hour before slicing.