Season this stuffing with as much or as little garlic as you like—either way, it's delicious.
7 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. Asian sesame oil
3 small yellow onions, peeled and chopped
2–7 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1⁄2 bunch celery, ribs separated and chopped
1⁄2 lb. shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps diced
1 1-lb. loaf challah, cut into 1⁄2" cubes and set out to
let dry for 2–3 days
1 1⁄2 cups jarred peeled roasted chestnuts, diced
1 cup canned water chestnuts, drained and diced
1–2 tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted
4 tsp. sweet paprika, preferably Hungarian
1 egg, lightly beaten
Leaves of 1⁄2 bunch parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp. chopped leaves of one fresh herb or a mixture,
such as thyme, oregano, savory, tarragon, and basil
1⁄2–1 cup chicken stock, warm
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Heat 6 tbsp. of the butter and sesame oil together in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring often, until onions are soft, about 8 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, add celery, and cook, stirring often, until celery is softened, about 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until most of their liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes.
2. Transfer vegetable mixture to a large bowl, add challah, and toss with a kitchen spoon until well combined. Add chestnuts, water chestnuts, sesame seeds, paprika, egg, parsley, and fresh herbs, season to taste with salt and pepper, and toss well.
3. Set 4–5 cups of the stuffing aside if stuffing the turkey. Mix in just enough stock to stuffing in bowl to make it moist but not dense and packed together.
4. Grease a medium baking dish with the remaining butter. Spoon stuffing into dish, cover with heavy-duty foil and bake until hot, about 30 minutes. Uncover dish and bake until golden on top, about 15 minutes more. Garnish with a sprig of parsley, if you like.