Herby Apple Stuffing | Holiday Recipes: Make Ahead

Happy Friday! Thanksgiving is less than one week away which means that Christmas is 5 weeks away. It’s the countdown of the year and I seem to get a little bit more excited every day. We already have one Christmas tree up and the kitchen is decorated all festive. I have my schedule pretty much in place for the rest of the year unless, of course, something comes up which isn’t uncommon. Many people who are entertaining for Thanksgiving have already been preparing for next week. Any groceries that can be bought are sitting on their own shelf in the pantry and freezer. Decorations are bought and ready for display. It’s exciting! For those of you looking to take something off your plate the day of Thanksgiving, this stuffing recipe is not only super tasty, the bulk of the work can be done ahead of time.

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**This post may contain affiliate or brand partner links. Read our full disclosure here. Thank you to Raw Spice Bar for providing complimentary spices.**

The best part of this recipe is that the ingredients are pretty basic. They’re easy to find and you might even already have several. I used a loaf of french bread that I left on the counter a few days to get nice and stale but any bread will work. Get creative with loaves that have dried fruit and nuts, go eggy with a loaf of challah, or keep it classic with ciabatta. Regardless of the type of bread, the one consistent thing should be that the bread is stale. If you grabbed a loaf last minute and it’s not quite dried out enough yet, cube the bread and lay it on a baking sheet to dry out in the oven for a few minutes. The dried bread will soak up all the butter and chicken stock where as fresh bread will get soggy.

Let’s talk seasoning for a second. Fresh herbs are always lovely but dried herbs are just as great and they’re easier to come by year round. This recipe in particular calls for one spice mixture: poultry seasoning. It’s the perfect blend of spices to flavor the stuffing and complement the main course. I used the Poultry Seasoning from Raw Spice Bar, a nifty company that delivers spices right to your door. With more than 75 global spices, Raw Spice Bar offers spice kits, individual spices for sale, and a spice subscription service. All spices are high quality, ground, and packaged in small batches for the best possible quality. This isn’t my first go round with Raw Spice Bar, but every time I get to work with them, it’s always an exciting and tasty experience.

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What’s great about Raw Spice Bar is the variety of options they give you. The Spice of the Month Club allows you to sign up for 3, 6 or 12 month plans to receive two different spices each month. This is great to try different flavors in the kitchen regularly and it also works as a wonderful gift. The monthly subscription service is similar except you get 2, 3, 6, or 12 spices on a monthly, quarterly or bi-annual basis. The subscription offers the option to get a mystery set of spices or you can choose which spices you prefer to receive. It’s completely customizable which is an ideal gift for someone you know loves to cook but you’re unsure of their taste or current pantry situation. I received the 3-pack spice kit complimentary which included the Apple Pie Spice, Poultry Seasoning, and Garam Masala. Clearly, the Poultry Seasoning came just in time for this Herby Apple Stuffing because the original recipe I wrote used fresh herbs. Oddly enough, I think it turned out better with the seasoning.

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Back to the recipe. Stuffing doesn’t seem like a make ahead dish but it is. Prep it up to the part where you would add chicken stock and store. You can store it in the fridge overnight or up to 2-3 days or you can store it in the freezer. Make sure that it’s airtight so that the bread doesn't get freezer burned. When you’re ready to finish baking, let the stuffing come to room temperature before finishing. The majority of the work is in the prep so if you can get it out of the way, you’ll keep on track. See below for the full recipe and let me know in the comments what you’ll be whipping up for Thanksgiving this year.

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Herby Apple Stuffing
8 tbsp. Butter, divided
1 large Onion, diced
3 Celery Stalks, diced
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 tsp. Poultry Seasoning
1 loaf (6-8 cups) Stale Bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 Granny Smith Apple, diced
1 ¼ cups Chicken Stock

1 - Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a skillet. Add the onion, celery, garlic, and poultry seasoning. Cook 10-12 minutes until the vegetables have softened. Add to a large bowl with the bread cubes and apples. Toss to combine well.

**If you’re preparing ahead of time, at this point, store the stuffing in the fridge up to 2-3 nights in advance or freeze for no longer than a few weeks. Make sure to seal air tight before storing. Bring to room temperature before moving to step 2.**

2 - Drizzle ½ cup of stock at a time over the stuffing and mix together. Continue adding stock until the stuffing just starts to come together, about 1 ¼ cups but feel free to add more ¼ cup at a time until the consistency looks good. Pour the bread mixture into a baking dish and drizzle the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter over the top.

3 - Bake covered with foil at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10-15 minutes until crisp and golden brown on top. Let sit for a few minutes before serving.

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