There is no one right recipe for stuffing, turkey's perennial partner, just a general formula: Mix a dry base such as day-old bread with sauteed vegetables, meat (if you like), herbs, and seasonings; then add a binder such as stock or eggs, and gently toss. Tailor stuffing to your family and friends' palates to make it irresistible.
1 one-pound loaf of bread set out overnight (or 1 1/2 pounds cornbread)
4 cups (2 pounds) chopped vegetables
1 cup fresh herbs, predominantly parsley, sage, and thyme
2 cups or less liquid (or 3 eggs)
1 pound meat
Butter and/or olive oil
4 cups or less fruit, vegetables, and nuts
3 tablespoons seasoning
Stuff turkey just before roasting it. Use 1/2 to 3/4 cup stuffing for each pound of turkey. Don't pack stuffing tightly; it expands as it cooks. Use a thermometer to ensure that stuffing reaches 165 degrees; remove as soon as turkey comes out of oven. Bake any extra stuffing in a covered buttered baking dish at 375 degrees until heated through and top is golden, 30 to 40 minutes.
Most stuffing has the same foundation: bread. Beyond that, combine complementary flavors, such as citrus rind and fruit juice, or those that contrast, like pecans and dried cherries. Use a variety of colors and textures, too. For best results, include plenty of vegetables, herbs, and spices.
Vegetables add nuance to the flavor of stuffing and can change its texture, depending on how they are cut and whether they are cooked before being added. Fennel gives a note of sweet anise; mushrooms yield an earthy flavor and a meaty texture.