Sage and Celery Dressing

I grew up eating "dressing," not "stuffing;" It was always cooked outside the turkey, and it was always made from cornbread. I am not a big fan of cornbread, so when I started making my own, I switched to regular bread instead. But i still cook it by itself, because I like the crunchy bits on the edges that only happen when it's cooked on its own. You can adjust the proportions of white and wheat bread and the ratio of celery to onions--I LOVE celery so tend ot go a little overboard with it.

1 pound white bread -- sliced and cut into rough chunks (don't worry about being exact)
1 pound wheat or multigrain bread -- sliced
1 pound unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups celery -- chopped
1/2 cup celery leaves, chopped
2 cups chicken or turkey stock
6 sprigs' worth thyme leaves
20 leaves sage -- stems removed, cut into thin strips
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

The night before cooking, spread all the bread out in a single layer on sheet pans or towels and allow to dry out. (or toast in a 350°F oven for about 15 minutes until light golden.) Transfer bread to a large mixing bowl.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut the sage leaves into thin strips

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat, making sure not to burn it. Add the celery, celery leaves, and onions and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Add the stock. Increase the heat to moderate and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and allow to cool for 3 minutes.

Pour the mixture over the bread. Add the thyme and sage to the bread mixture. Add the salt and pepper and mix well.

Cover the pan with foil and bake the stuffing for 30 minutes. Remove foil, bake for another 30 min. (Can be done 1 day ahead. Reheat, uncovered, and serve alongside roast turkey.

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