A delicious Thanksgiving stuffing chock full of crisp celery, plump dried apricots and crunchy pecans.
Whether you call it dressing or stuffing, one of the most important side dishes at Thanksgiving has to be this one. Thanksgiving stuffing is also one of the sides I used to find the most intimidating. The seemingly endless variations on this classic dish meant I never knew quite where to start . Bread based stuffing or rice? Moist or crunchy? Also – and it’s confession time here – my favourite stuffing used to come from a box. That is, until I tasted Apricot and Celery Stuffing.
The Story Behind My Thanksgiving Stuffing
I first had Apricot and Celery Stuffing at my late mother in law’s house one Christmas. I loved it so much I asked for the recipe. Of course, I can never leave a recipe alone, and every year I experimented a little bit more. When I first blogged this recipe back in 2013, it had become Celery, Apricot and Pecan Thanksgiving Stuffing made with French bread and savoury seasonings. It’s now simply referred to as ‘that delicious stuffing you make’ and I’m often asked to bring it along to celebration dinners.
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Insider Tips For Making My Thanksgiving Stuffing
Even if you have never made stuffing or dressing before, this recipe is easy. The recipe makes enough to serve 6, but I often double it and make a larger pan or two pans full.
Because we like a bit of crunch to our stuffing the only moisture I use in this recipe is melted butter. However if you prefer a stuffing that is more moist, simply stir in a quarter cup of chicken or vegetable stock with the bread cubes before baking. With this recipe, you really can please everyone. In fact, my Thanksgiving stuffing is so delicious, I make it every Christmas too!
Be sure to mix the bread cubes in really well, so they take up the butter and seasonings before baking.
I’ve re-photographed the recipe this year. You may notice that in the older photograph the apricots are bright orange.
In the newer one they are darker in colour. I discovered that non-organic apricots are treated with sulphur dioxide before being dried to keep them orange. I wasn’t super comfortable with this, so I’ve started to use organic apricots, which naturally go a darker colour as they are dried.
If you need to make the recipe in advance, simply prepare it up to the point where you would put it in the oven. Then cover it tightly and keep it in the fridge until you need it. Bake it right before serving. You can make this recipe up to 24 hours in advance. Cool any leftovers to room temperature promptly and store in the fridge.
- ¼ cup butter
- 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 cup finely chopped celery
- 1 cup ready to eat dried apricots, cut in quarters
- ½ cup pecan halves, roughly chopped
- ½ teaspoon celery salt
- ½ teaspoon onion salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground if possible
- 2 cups cubed day old French bread (do not cut off the crusts)
- Prepare and chop all the ingredients as directed above.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (170°C).
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the chopped onion and sauté gently until it begins to soften but not brown.
- Add the celery, apricots, pecans, celery salt, onion salt and pepper.
- Stir everything together thoroughly and cook gently until the celery begins to soften.
- Grate in the nutmeg and stir.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the bread cubes.
- Transfer the mixture to a casserole pan (approximately 11 x 7 inches).
- Bake for 30 minutes or until crisp and golden on top.
- Serve warm.