Your Thanksgiving Dressing/Stuffing?
We all know that Turkey Day isn't ultimately about the bird: it's about the dressing. (BTW the only difference between dressing and stuffing is that stuffing is cooked inside the bird, dressing is cooked separately.) So please do tell about what made your stuffing/dressing great this year.
I'll start with mine: a base of store bought Whole $$ stuffing mix with these additions: parboiled (in chicken stock) white pearl onions, chopped celery, shucked oysters with their liquor, browned linguiça, chicken stock-braised carrot and lots of fresh minced sage. Not only good with my Turkey Day smoked pheasant yesterday, but even better panfried in lots of butter today for lunch.
I made the William Sonoma boxed cornbread stuffing/dressing following their recipe. It was a little sweet and not a very big hit for my family. I'm not generally a fan of bready stuffing/dressing hence the reason that I wanted an easy way to satisfy my guests.
My favorite dressing is my mothers oyster rice dressing. Saute' green onions and celery, add cooked white rice to rewarm, add shucked fresh oysters with enough chicken broth to keep the dressing a little loose. Parsley is stirred in, as well as salt, black and red pepper. This isn't her recipe exactly, but I think this is close enough. I sure did miss it this year!!
I have to brag on my wife and on her stuffing, a tradition now for over 30 years.
"Fresh Fruit Stuffing," from an old Family Weekly Sunday supplement section, 1977. No packaged stuffing mix base. We dry out white or wheat loaves. And the "fruited" part is based on 4 or more apples and 2 or more cups of red seedless grapes, halved. 4 eggs. And of course, butter, celery, onion, sage, thyme. A bit of chicken stock poured on top. I think she improvises the measurements from year to year, but tries to be generous with the "fruited" part. If there is a handful of red grapes left in the bag, they end up being added to the creation. The original recipe called for chopped pecans or walnuts, but that was dropped early-on, with my wife allergic to nuts. She stuffs some stuffing in the bird, and does an almost-overflowing crockpot of the stuffing as well (and we have a large slow cooker!) BTW, the batch this year was about the best; Moistest ever.
I don't cook on Thanksgiving anymore but a few times a year during cold weather I make turkey and stuffing. I brown a roll of sage sausage, then in the same pan brown diced onions and thinly sliced mushrooms. I mix the bagged Pepperidge farm bread cubes with the sausage, vegetables, broth, a beaten egg, celery salt, sage, etc and cook in a pan til crusty. It is delicious, but really, I have never had a stuffing I did not like!
It's a dressing here, i.e., cooked entirely outside the bird.
Cube a loaf of whole grain bread, dry in the oven on 220. Soak some golden raisins in sherry and/or orange juice. Cook some brown rice or warm up already-cooked rice. Chop celery and onion, saute in butter and olive oil. Add chopped thyme and sage (preferably fresh, but good-quality dried is fine) to warm through, then reserve veg, leaving some butter in the pan; dice a Granny Smith apple and saute. Combine all in a big bowl.
'Deglaze' pan with homemade chicken stock and half-&-half, then mix into bowl. Season with salt and pepper as needed.
Cook covered in casserole for 45 minutes to an hour in medium oven. [I usually do the day before up to this point.] Before serving, add turkey or chicken drippings to the top and cook uncovered a half hour. On the occasions I do a smaller vegetarian version, using veg. broth, I dot the top with butter for the final cooking.
Very simple, but excellent. All the flavors shine and combine. As with most cooking, the better the ingredients, the better the result.
Our stuffing was the star of the show this year. We always stuff the bird, cavity and neck, but there is always more stuffing than we can fit in the bird. So we bake the extra in a pan.
We make a dark turkey stock a few days before Thanksgiving. Most of that will be used to supplement the gravy and some will be used to moisten the stuffing.
This year, used several varieties of bread, shredded into big pieces and left out in pans to dry the night before. Sauteed onions, celery, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper in plenty of butter. I mean plenty. In a separate pan, sauteed crumbled sweet italian sausage. Mixed the onion, celery, butter mixture, sausage, and bread. Beat six eggs, added stock and a little cream, whisked until smooth and added to bread mixture. Sauteed chopped kale and a few mushrooms, well seasoned, until the kale was within seconds of burning and came out crispy and richly flavored. Stirred into stuffing. Then, shucked two dozen lovely fresh RI oysters, chopped very roughly if at all, and added to stuffing with the liquer from the oysters. Saved an additional two dozen for a quick surprise oyster stew today when my brother and his son arrived from Michigan. Yes, we ordinarily adore freshly shucked oysters on the halfshell with nothing but lemon. It was hard to toss the oysters into the stuffing. We also had 6 oz. of shucked oysters in their liquer from the fishmonger. It was SO worth it to shuck the oysters for the stuffing! In the overflow pan for roasted stuffing, we gently piled the extra stuffing and then roasted with two deboned turkey thighs on top, stuffed with more oyster, sausage and kale stuffing. Now I'm starving thinking about it!
I make a stuffing with pancetta and chestnuts that I got from Giada on the Food Network, recipe here...
It also calls for a loaf of ciabatta bread, but I have made it in previous years with a baguette or other types of Italian bread. There is also a variation that includes mushrooms and what I sometimes do is omit the pancetta and make that as a vegetarian alternative (also by swapping vegetable broth for the chicken broth).
Lawd..............Here I was, about to lambaste you about a waste of good oysters,,,,,,,,,,,,,and you said the magic word............................LINGUICA! I do a Linguica cornbread apple mix that I truly love.....and the rest of the family turns up its nose in favor of Traditional.to which I add apples, onions and cook ion chicken stock.
Change your recipe to Quahogs and a water/clam juice mix and you got GREAT stuffed Quahogs! Cut back on the sage and serve it as an appetizer!.........Nirvana!
I do my family's recipe for stuffing. Saute plenty of onions, celery, and peeled apples in a stick of butter. Toss good-quality white bread (cubed) with lots of poutry seasoning and extra sage, along with freshly ground pepper, and, the surprise ingredient: a quarter cup of granulated sugar. Beat up 4 eggs with 2 cups homemade chicken stock and throw it over the bread, along with the cooked veg/apple stuff. Stir really well, salt to taste, and you have it.
I always use my mother's recipe for stuffing. I brown diced bacon, then saute celery, onion, mushrooms and the turkey liver in the bacon fat. Add all that to cubed french bread that I've dried already, along with sage, thyme, savory and pepper. Pour over that a few cups of chicken stock, two eggs beaten and a half stick of butter, melted. I always stuff the turkey, and can't help but make too much, so some goes in a casserole dish, too.
I made mine the usual way. Started with bagged stuffing mix and added sauteed onion and celery, salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. I then moistened it with chicken stock and melted butter.
We have been smoking our turkeys in recent years, so we haven't been stuffing them. It's a bummer though because stuffing is my favorite, and it's the best when it's cooked in the bird. So this year, I bought a pack of turkey thighs and roasted them on top of the stuffing in the pan, then removed and browned for another 20 minutes. It was almost as good as stuffing from the bird!
And I will always call it stuffing, just because dressing sounds funny to me, haha.