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oyster dressing

So: where is your favorite recipe source for oyster dressing? I thought sure I'd see a good one in the old "New Orleans Cookbook" by Underground Gourmet Richard Collin and his wife. But there wasn't one. River Road? Maybe something newer with a twist? My first attempt, I want it to be good for my Thanksgiving bird!

Many thanks.

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  1. There isn't a oyster dressing recipe in The New Orleans cookbook, but I have made it with a combo of torn dry family style white and cornbread, chopped celery and onion, shucked oysters with their liquor, sage and thyme, beaten eggs, turkey or chicken broth and bake it separately from the turkey as dressing, not stuffing. For 10 cups of bread you need at least 1 pint of oysters or more, be generous with the oysters, drained and very coarsely chopped, and 4-5 eggs, about a cup each of the vegetables, a few cups of stock or broth, as needed, uncluding the oyster liquor, and season it to taste with fresh herbs, or you can use poultry seasoning, and salt and pepper. I basically make it up as I go along so it's quite moist and well seasoned. Bake it in a well buttered baking dish, at 350° for about 30 minutes, or until cooked through and puffed. It'll rise slightly like a souffle. It's a simple dressing with a nice flavor.

    Another options I've seen for oyster dressing is using saltine crackers as part of the bread in the dressing; never tried it. I would definitely use cornbread as part of the combo.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bushwickgirl

      we make ours just like yours except add a sleeve of saltines.
      We make one just plain and the other oyster>>>>must have both!

    2. Oyster stuffing was an integral part of my childhood Thanksgivings - Grandma Owen roasted two turkeys each year, one with plain sage stuffing and one with oyster. I always preferred the latter, which I think convinced half my relatives that I was one weird kid.

      I believe the only recipe I've seen for it was as a suggested variant to the basic bread stuffing in Joy of Cooking. That's how I make it, just adding chopped oysters to the mix and using the oyster liquor to replace some of the broth. This year I'm adding sausage as well.

      1. Oyster-chestnut dressing is my popular go-to. Those items marry so well. I poach oysters in their liquor with a little butter and then coarsely chop them into about 1/4 inch pieces and only use those pieces and not the goopy stuff. Earlier in the day I roast and peel chestnuts and break them into into 1/4 inch pieces. The basic stuffing mix can be whatever you want, but I don't think it has to be too tricked out because the oysters ( a few go a long way) and the chestnuts are the headliners. Plenty of sage, also. A few oyster pieces in the stuffing in the bird works fine, but just a few without the liquid so as not to permeate the poultry flavor. For a side pan of dressing, oyster lovers can load it up. You can devise a little foil divider and do a pyrex pan of dressing that is half oyster, half not when you mix the ingredients if some at your table don't care for them.

        1 Reply
        1. Here's a question -- can you make oyster dressing in a crockpot/slow cooker?

          It would sure solve a lot of "oven issues" for me to do the dressing in the slow cooker...any suggestions? I've found slow cooker dressing recipes, and I have the traditional oyster dressing recipe...but oyster dressing just enough out of the mainstream that I haven't found any recommendations for doing OYSTER dressing in a slow cooker.

          (I'm assuming it would be no problem, as by the time you get it hot enough to cook the eggs, it's hot enough to cook the oysters, but I guess I'm looking for someone to hold my hand for a few minutes.

          9 Replies
          1. re: sunshine842

            Yes, you can do oyster dressing in a slow cooker, start on high for 45 minutes-1 hour, then turn down to low for 4-5 hours, start it with the dressing room temp going into the pot.

            Was that enough hand holding to convince you that it's ok?

            1. re: bushwickgirl

              Yep. Thanks!

              I'd kind of deduced that from the other recipes I'd found, but there's something about the spectre of food poisoning for 30 people that tends to make one hesitant!

              1. re: sunshine842

                I hear ya; if you put the dressing into the slow cooker and get the SC temp up as fast as possible (preheating the crock helps, either that or cook on high for the first hour) you stand a excellent chance of avoiding that issue. If the dressing is made in advance and chilled, I would heat it up in the microwave and pop it into the well buttered slow cooker insert.

                Anything you can do to get the temp of the dressing up into the safe zone as rapidly as possible will give you peace of mind.

                1. re: bushwickgirl

                  Having all the ingredients at room temp is pretty easy -- my grandmother always used hot broth, so it warms everything up nicely...from there into a SC set on high, should have it bubbling away fairly quickly. (I have one of those enormous slow cookers designed for an army, and i believe it's a little overpowered, because it heats up FAST. That's one thing I've noticed about European DC current versus America AC -- resistance heating elements heat up considerably faster.)

                  1. re: sunshine842

                    Mm, sounds good. European DC, faster because it's direct current? I don't pretend to know much about electricity...just want to to work.

                    1. re: bushwickgirl

                      I don't know much about it, either -- all I know is that it's faster!

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        Big thanks, bushwickgirl - my dressing came out AMAZING and perfectly cooked. Eliminated the bottleneck at the oven, and ended up with lots of leftovers, which is the best part, anyway.

                        It helped, too, that I found enormous fat, juicy oysters from Normandy for a good price, too -- they were so fresh that not only was the seaweed clinging to the shells still green and viable, but they were a complete bitch to shuck, too -- which means they were really, really fresh. (that and that lovely sweet-salty smell that means that these guys are gonna be GOOD)

                        Best dressing I've made in years, actually...so thanks for holding my hand.

                        ;)

                        1. re: sunshine842

                          Wow, I'm very happy, and just a bit jealous of your great oyster find. We do have quite good oysters available in NYC, but not from NYC waters at this time, so not as fresh as yours.

                          I'm very glad it worked out well for you!

                          1. re: bushwickgirl

                            The other PS -- I forgot to butter the insert, and boy, did it stick.

                            Easy fix, though - fill the cooker with soap and water and crank it up to high. Soaked off all that baked-on crust in short order.

          2. We've always used the one from the Paul Prudhomme cookbook (I forget which cookbook, he has a few but only one that we regularly use, if you google his name and oyster dressing, you'll find it). His is great, though a little too soggy for me -- he uses breadcrumbs instead of breadcubes, the next time I make it I'll use half and half, and maybe 1.5 times the bread.

            1. 1 1/4 c chopped onion
              1 1/4 c. chopped celery
              1/2 c. melted butter
              1 T. dried parsley
              1 t. salt
              1/2 t. dried thyme
              1 t. rubbed sage
              1/4 t. pepper
              1 1/2 t. Worcestershire sauce
              1/2 lbs. bulk pork sausage
              8 c. dried bread cubes
              1 pint oysters, drained and chopped
              1/4 c. chicken broth
              1 egg, beaten

              Preheat oven to 325 F. Saute onions & celery in butter until tender. pour mixture into large bowl. Add parsley, salt, thyme, sage, pepper and Worcestershire sauce, mix well. Saute sausage in skillet until browned. Drain, crumble and add to veggie mixture. Add bread cubes and oysters, mix well again.

              Blend chicken broth and egg,pour over stuffing mixture and tooss until well combined. Pile into a well greased shallow baking dish, cover and bake for 30-40 min. uncover and bake 10 min longer. Serves 6.

              Adapted from Maryland 350th anniversary cookbook.