Stuffing is crucial to a traditional holiday meal. It plays so many critical rolls: soaking up random gravy and other goos, accompanying other foods into your mouth for great flavour combinations, requiring little to no chewing so that you might continue to eat even though you're so stuffed (ha) with food that your comatose brain can't direct your jaw to properly open and close.
I've never been opposed to store-bought boxed stuffing. In fact, sometimes I whip some up and eat it just cause. If you mix it with mac and cheese it's pretty mind blowing but, this is all beside the point, which is that I have created for all of you a most magical, homemade stuffing. I've made a version of this recipe quite a few times but I made an addition recently that, I think, really makes a difference. It went from good to party-in-your-mouth status.
Savoury Sage Stuffing
12 cups fresh bread chunks*
1 cup Earth Balance
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 cup celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh sage, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp ground flax seeds
1 cup vegetable broth, plus extra just in case
1 cup walnut creme**
Spread bread chunks evenly on one or two baking sheets. Toast at 350° for 10-15 minutes - until moisture is gone but, don't burn. Remove from oven and transfer to a large, rectangular baking dish. Leave oven at 350°.
Over medium heat, melt Earth Balance in a large frying pan. Sauté onions until soft and translucent. Add celery and sauté 5 minutes more. In a large bowl, combine vegetable mixture with parsley, sage, salt, pepper, flax, broth and walnut creme. Pour mixture over bread chunks and toss to evenly coat. Cover dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 30 minutes more.
* I slice a fresh loaf and then cut one inch cubes. You don't have to make your bread chunks this big. You can even pulse your bread down to a coarse crumb.
** Take 1 cup of walnuts, put them in a container and just cover with water. Allow to soak for 30 minutes to overnight. Blend water and walnuts. Voila! Perfect walnut creme, every time!