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How To Make The Perfect Classic Stuffing For Thanksgiving

Step one: Put away the box. Get the full Thanksgiving menu here.

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Lauren Zaser / Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

This is the ultimate, old-school stuffing: The one you might remember from a box, except it's...not from a box. It's even more delicious than that.

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1. Tear the bread (crust and all) into large bite-sized pieces.

Lauren Zaser / Via BuzzFeed Life

You know how English Muffins are the fucking best? Well, that's because of those little things called NOOKS AND CRANNIES. Using your knife to cut bread into cubes will never ever give you N&C. But tearing will.

You want craggly edges and uneven surface, so there is maximum absorption in each piece of bread, which will also lead to maximum crispiness on top.

2. Let the bread sit at room temperature for about 6 hours to dry out—if you can do this overnight, even better.

Lauren Zaser / Via BuzzFeed Life

This is so the bread doesn't fall apart into mush when you add all that liquid (more on that later).

If you forgot to do this or don't have time, just put the bread in a 325° oven for 20-30 minutes, tossing occasionally until the bread feels a little...well, stale.

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7. Season with salt and pepper. Once the vegetables are softened (about 5 minutes), add rosemary and sage and cook another minute or two.

Cooking the vegetables like this is called "sweating." You're not trying to brown them, you just want them to soften and release some moisture.

8. Now, the liquid: Whisk a bit of the stock into the eggs first. Then pour the egg mixture into the rest of the stock.

This makes sure the eggs are well blended into the stock, so you don't have any pieces of cooked egg inside the stuffing (not what you are going for).

Season this mixture with salt and pepper, too.

10. Now season this all once more with salt and pepper and GENTLY mix everything together.

Lauren Zaser / Via BuzzFeed Life

This isn't a HULK SMASH kind of situation. Be gentle. You want the bread to stay relatively intact.

That said, it's really important you mix enough to make sure that all the liquid has been absorbed by the bread and that the vegetables and herbs are all evenly distributed.

11. Transfer the stuffing to a 3-quart baking dish (that's a classic 9- by 13-inch rectangular dish), cover with foil and pop it into a 425° oven for 25-30 minutes.

Covering with foil protects the stuffing from drying out.

12. Remove the foil and continue to bake for another 10-15 minutes. This is how you get the top all golden brown and crispy.

Classic DIY "Stove Top" Stuffing

Recipe by Alison Roman

Serves 8

1 loaf crusty white bread (french bread, ciabatta, etc)

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

4 celery stalks, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 onions, finely chopped

Salt and pepper

2 Tbsp. finely chopped sage

1 Tbsp. finely chopped rosemary

2 large eggs

2½ cups chicken broth

Tear the bread into large bite-sized pieces (crust and all) and place on a baking sheet. Let it sit out at least 6 hours, preferably overnight (if you don't have time for this, don't panic: just throw bread in a 325° oven, and toss occasionally until croutons feel pretty dry but are not toasted, about 30 minutes).

It's important that the bread is dry so that it will absorb the liquid without falling apart.

So, once your bread is ready:

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and add the celery, garlic, and onions. Season with salt and pepper and stir to coat. Cook, stirring pretty frequently until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sage and rosemary and cook another few minutes, until everything in the skillet gets to know each other.

Crack the eggs into a bowl and pour the stock into another bowl. Whisk a little bit of the broth into the eggs. Then pour the egg mixture into the bowl with the stock. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer the bread to a large bowl and add your celery-onion mixture and your egg-broth mixture. Using your hands, spatula or spoon, mix everything together. You want to be gentle yet firm — you don't want to mush the bread, but you also want to make sure the bread is absorbing all the wonderful things (for a perfect stuffing experience in every bite).

Preheat the oven to 425°.

Transfer the stuffing mixture to a 9- by 13-inch baking dish (or any 2 ½-3 quart oven-safe vessel) and cover with foil. Bake the stuffing for 25-30 minutes then remove the foil and return to oven for another 10-15 minutes to get the top all golden brown and crunchy (obviously the best part of the stuffing).

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