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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.

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  1. 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.

    1 Reply
    1. re: AnnieWilliams

      Hey, great idea about roasting turkey thighs on top of your dressing! Bet there was a lot of great flavor there. Thanks for sharing!

    2. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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!

          1 Reply
          1. re: FriedClamFanatic

            I'm bumping this thread in anticipation of another Thanksgiving a bit more than a month away, and to respond to your love of stuffies. I've loved stuffed quahogs since college, which I attended in RI, and being close in Boston to the stuffie epicenter in the RI/Fall River/New Bedford area, I know that all great stuffies have to have linguiça in them. Must be an Azorean thing, and the lusophone contributions to our food culture in southern New England are loved and treasured by me.

            So I may just try chopped quahogs (instead of oysters) with that linguiça in my dressing this year. But I won't lose the sage, just because I can't imagine dressing without sage, even as I've changed from the cornbread base from my native South to the bread base in these parts.

          2. I make a stuffing with pancetta and chestnuts that I got from Giada on the Food Network, recipe here...

            http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/gi...

            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).

            1. 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!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Willa

                LOL, just finished reading this post and thought, "That is exactly how I like my stuffing!" I then realized that this was my own post. Duhhhh!

                Sometimes we have two stuffings. Cornbread, kale and chestnut. Goes in the neck cavity. Oyster in the main cavity. Can't wait until Thanksgiving!

              2. We always have two stuffings on the table for Thanksgiving. One is always a hamburger and rice stuffing and the other is sausage and hamburger. We have never been a bread-based dressing family even though I love a few that I have tried, especially the cornbread ones.

                1. 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.

                  1. 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!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: littlemissmuffin

                      I do something similar but add diced apricots to it. It gives it a little sweetness.

                    2. We make this chard and sausage dressing every year. http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/itali...

                      1. 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.

                        1. 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!!

                          1. I go for the dead simple. Day old bread, cubed. Sautee finely diced onion and celery in a mixture of olive oil and butter. Add the bread, mix thoroughly, and season with salt, pepper and sage.

                            For the cooking - I have to cook my turkey in pieces to fit in the toaster oven, so I've found that making the dressing in a sukiyaki grill works really well. The prepped stuffing goes in the pan, the heat goes on the lowest setting, and it gets drizzled with hot turkey broth periodically. After 3-4 hours, it comes out remarkably like the version made in the turkey - moist and fragrant.

                            1. maternal grandmother's stuffing, essentially, enriched some by me. White bread, dried. Chopped onion sautéed in butter, sage, Oysters, for what must have been 50 years, a can of them chopped or squooshed up with their liquids. Raw egg, hot broth poured over and stirred as the broth is being stirred over.

                              I have discussed somewhere on CH my wonder at how oysters got into rural MO dressing (and that was what we called it; it was cooked both in and around the bird). My first riff was to double the oysters. When DH came along, he wanted fresh oysters. Fine. Also suggested mushrooms - I had some duxelles in the freezer, so that went in one year. and a pinch of thyme.

                              The key to this version is that it's essentially a savory bread pudding and gravy was never served with it. My grandmother's scalding disdain was never so heated as when she had to be polite about most other dressings. "You could choke on it!" I can hear her saying.

                              The only time I use the packaged cubes is to go under pork chops or on top of a spinach casserole. Just can't do it, but that's just me

                              1. Mine is cornbread, mixed with bagged 'stuffing', onions, celery, chicken broth... And I think that's all. My grandmother's recipe. Very simple, but oh so yummy.

                                1. Our stuffing is a combination of cornbread and leftover bread, mixed with onions, celery, Granny Smith apples, fresh cranberries, toasted pecans, butter, sage, apple cider, and sometimes mushrooms.

                                  1. Mine is loose and rustic, and features big chunks of baguette, whole roasted shallots, porcini and cremini mushrooms, roasted fennel, and crumbled sage sausage, seasoned with tons of fresh sage, parsley, rosemary and thyme, plus finely minced mirepoix that just melts into the whole (I strongly dislike chunks of cooked carrot and celery, but I like the flavor). The whole thing is moistened with a LOT of butter and chicken stock. I only make it once a year because I eat SO MUCH of it.

                                    1. I generally call it stuffing. Cooking in the bird give the best flavor, but even outside the bird "dressing" can be great.

                                      I do a really basic celery/onion/bread stuffing with the best ingredients. First off, I make my own bread a few days ahead. I have a bread machine (from about 1984) and a great recipe for "turkey stuffing bread", it is a wheat flour bread with some cornmeal, diced onion, poultry seasoning, sage, and celery seed to mimic the flavors of traditional "stuffing".

                                      I make the bread and also make a stock with some turkey pieces a few days ahead.

                                      On the day, I cube the bread, saute onion and celery in a lot of butter. Add some homemade turkey broth to the onion celery mixture and add fresh chopped parsley and sage, a little fresh thyme.

                                      Pour the onion/celery mixture over the bread cubes, add more broth to get the right consistency. Taste for salt/pepper/poultry seasoning. Stuff what I can into the bird, with a few pats of butter. Put what is remaining in a buttered casserole pan with a few pats of butter on top, to be baked the last 1/2 hour before dinner.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: Springhaze2

                                        If i saw that stuffing bread for sale i would buy it! And i mean to use for sandwiches.....:)
                                        Sounds brilliant and delicious!

                                        1. re: Ttrockwood

                                          Great Harvest Bread Company is a franchise bakery all over the USA. For Thkgvg and Xmas weeks, they make a wonderful stuffing bread, which is their mainstay honey whole wheat dough to which sage, fresh onion, and fresh celery have been added. It smells like the holidays and is wonderful for sandwiches. Around here, if you want to be sure to get some, you need to call and reserve it the week before.

                                        2. re: Springhaze2

                                          I agree with ttrockwood. Would you be willing to post your recipe for Stuffing Bread?

                                            1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                              The Turkey Stuffing Bread recipe that I use is on the King Arthur Flour website. Sorry I am using a Tablet and can't post a link. It is a bread machine recipe written by Donna Rathmell German.I adjust the recipe by adding 1/2 teas. more yeast, some chopped celery instead of the seeds and increase the flour a bit until the dogh has the right consistancy.

                                          1. Canadian Thanksgiving is done now, yesterday. We tried a new dressing (cooked outside the bird) this year as the local wild mushrooms and fresh crop of hazelnuts were in the farmer's market - http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... . As there was only two of us we cut the recipe in half but it still made a lot. If we do it again I'll roast the hazelnuts longer so they have more crunch, they were so fresh from the market that the 10 mins in the oven did little to roast them and they were still very moist in the dressing.

                                            The past couple of years we've gone with a chestnut, leek & apple dressing (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...), and it is the best of the "not a family tradition" recipes we've done. We usually pick up extra roasted chestnuts from vendors when we're out and about and then use them in this recipe. Oddly with all the nut trees here (SE Czech Republic), chestnuts are never available at the market, I think the locals are collecting and hording them for themselves. We will need to learn to be more local.

                                            The cheesy mashed potatoes were a real hit this year, definitely doing them again.

                                            1. I think my mom has always made the recipe from the old red-checked Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. I love that stuffing and always will, but I'm going to make my own this year and am looking to try something different. After reading these ideas, I think I might have to try two!

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: Kontxesi

                                                HI THERE !!! THATS the RECIPE I am LOOKING FOR !!! I lost my whole file :0 Could you please help me ? Thank-You :)

                                                1. re: Mikaela326

                                                  I have the book...still use it.but there are about 10 stuffing recipes....which one did you want?

                                                  1. re: Mikaela326

                                                    She just emailed it to me the other day, luckily. :)

                                                    1 cup finely chopped celery
                                                    1/2 cup chopped onion
                                                    1/2 cup butter or margarine
                                                    1 teaspoon poultry seasoning or sage
                                                    1/2 teaspoon salt
                                                    1/8 teaspoon pepper
                                                    8 cups dry bread cubes
                                                    3/4 to 1 cup chicken broth (or water)

                                                    Cook celery and onion in butter until tender but not brown; remove from heat and stir in poultry seasoning or sage, salt, and pepper. Place the dry bread cubes in a large mixing bowl and add the onion mixture. Drizzle with enough broth or water to moisten, tossing lightly. Enough to stuff a 10-lb bird, or bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, covered. Makes 8 to 10 servings

                                                    1. re: Kontxesi

                                                      one suggestion............diet probs aside.........USE THE BROTH! makes it so much more flavorful..........in fact, I use the Swanson's Stock, not broth

                                                      1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                        Definitely. I can't imagine using water.

                                                2. We do two. One very traditional and safe, and the other is a recipe from my greek family that i have never seen any recipe remotely close to. We just call it greek dressing. Hamburger, potato, sweet potato, onions, carrots, parsley, green onion, walnuts, apples, raisins,tons of butter, olives. Total pain to make, but i love it sooo much

                                                  1. Our stuffing for the past several years has been Sunset magazine's Sourdough/Artichoke Stuffing. It's one of their most requested recipes. Since I first made it, it's the only recipe my family wants! Looking forward to it again this year.

                                                    1. Haven't made a turkey for a while, but what I used to do was a cornbread/sausage/apple dressing.

                                                      I didn't really have specific amounts...just kinda tossed it together, and it came out well every year!

                                                      - sage sausage, browned
                                                      - onion and celery, sautéed in the sausage fat (and butter)
                                                      - Granny smith apple, peeled, dice and tossed w/the veg
                                                      - Jiffy cornbread mix, cooked the day before and crumbled up
                                                      - 1 bag of Pep. Farms stuffing (or white bread, dried and cubed
                                                      - sage, thyme, lemon zest
                                                      - turkey or chicken broth
                                                      - salt & pepper
                                                      - more butter, to taste

                                                      It makes really good stuffing sandwiches the next day, with some mayo and cranberry sauce.

                                                      1. Last year, I made 2. The traditional cornbread, and one (using Pepperidge Farm Stuffing), that I added sausage and potatoes to. The sausage and potato stuffing was AWESOME!

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: luvcubs

                                                          Potato! Interesting! Raw? Diced or chopped? Peeled?

                                                          1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                            Small bite size pieces; and if they were regular potatoes, then I peeled them; if they were red-skinned potatoes, then I didn't. I just sort of made it up as I went along, because I had read (from someone on here, prob'ly), about putting potatoes and sausage in their stuffing. And any time I can add potatoes to anything: I'm happy.

                                                            I sauteed the potatoes a little, because I like the color, and to cook them a bit, then just added them to the rest before cooking. (I cooked in a crockpot for about 4 or so hours, maybe on low?). I was definitely winging it!

                                                            I'm doing this again this year.

                                                        2. This year will be my first ever time celebrating Thanksgiving in the US and I was just reading about stuffing/dressing today in a magazine! I find it a bit odd that it's called dressing but I am willing to give it a go (cooking stuffing inside turkey is frowned upon these days in the UK)

                                                          At Christmas we used to do sausagemeat-based stuffings (but cooked outside the bird) studded with dried cranberries, pistachios, herbs, softened onions, breadcrumbs.

                                                          I fancy doing a cornbread one with pecans and cranberries.

                                                          1. We do two. One very traditional, safe, and delicious. The other is strictly for my husband and myself. I grew up with a greek family and i know it as greek dressing. Hamburger, olives, onions green onion, potato, sweet potato, carrots, parsley, raisins, walnuts, olives.. im forgetting things. Tons of butter, apples. One of my favorite things, but a huge chore and a must. Sorry for typos. Phone acting up

                                                            1. I don't normally host Thanksgiving but when I did, I made this Classic Bread Stuffing with great success. Simple but very good.

                                                              http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2010/11...

                                                              And I have never made this but I always think it sounds good.

                                                              http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/gi...

                                                              And my sister made this one last year. Sausage, Dried Cranberry and Apple Stuffing. It was delicious so I have been keeping the recipe in my file.

                                                              http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/da...

                                                              1. Does anyone call it filling? When I moved to PA I saw filling and potato filling on menus at restaurants and my boyfriend at the time had to explain it. In MD it was called dressing and K thought we were eating salad dressing with our tuekey until I saw it that year. In CT it was stuffing in or out of the bird.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: melpy

                                                                  Mr. Pine calls it filling! He didn't grow up with Thanksgiving, turkey, or stuffing (from India), so I always chuckle when he says filling--didn't know it was used anywhere in the U.S.

                                                                  One year, we were in India mid-November, and various stuff happened, flight was cancelled, we ended up there for T'giving. His family tried valiantly to make a U.S. T'giving dinner for me--no turkey, but a tiny little, fatty chicken with a "filling" of day-old chappatis. Made me smile.

                                                                2. The sausage is an important ingredient at our Thanksgiving dinner. Our daughter's mother-in-law always includes Italian sausage in her stuffing (dressing). I always took a big helping of the stuffing, and if leftovers were being doled out, we took some home. The Portuguese sausage that you mentioned works just as well.

                                                                  1. Cornbread and sausage dressing. We never stuff dressing into our birds because there is a possibility of the stuffing not cooking thoroughly and can have live Salmonella from the birds juices in it and what we like inside the bird are aromatic herbs and veggies that can give the juices a rich flavor for making gravy. Got to have the gravy.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Candy

                                                                      Agreed! My daughter's mother-in-law always baked the stuffing in a pan, not in the body cavity.
                                                                      Of course, the salsiccia (sausage) was always rendered before the stuffing was mixed and baked.

                                                                      Vivi, ama, ridi e specialmente mangia bene!
                                                                      (Live, love, laugh and especially eat well!)

                                                                      Buon Giorno del Ringraziamento!
                                                                      (Happy Thanksgiving Day!)

                                                                    2. Bread. Butter. Celery. Onions. Fresh Sage. Salt. Pepper. Perfection.

                                                                      1. Classic PA Dutch filling:
                                                                        Part 1: Make mashed potatoes from scratch. Set aside.

                                                                        Part 2: Spread out a loaf of cheap white bread out day before to get stale. The drier the better.
                                                                        Saute onions and celery until soft.
                                                                        Stale white bread cubed, toasted in pan with an obscene amount of butter. Toast until bread cubes are pretty dark and you have started to build a lovely little pile of darkened breadcrumbs in the bottom of the pan. Add the onions and celery. Mix.

                                                                        Part 3: Mix equal parts of the mashed potatoes and the bread mixture. Maybe a slightly higher ratio of bread mixture - I just eyeball it. Spread into baking pan. Dot with more butter. Bake at 350 until warm, golden on top.

                                                                        Best part of Thanksgiving and even better as leftovers with tons of gravy.

                                                                        PS - mom uses bacon in her version. Because bacon makes everything better.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: lidunn

                                                                          I have never heard about this but I SOOO want some now. With or without the bacon

                                                                        2. A few years ago, I made the effort to use real Italian bread (crusts included) .. cut into 1 inch chunks and lightly toasted in oven. I saute finely chopped onion and celery (include the leaves), (in unsalted butter) lots of finely chopped parsley, some fresh thyme and fresh (chopped) sage. Small chunks of fresh, peeled, Rome apple. lightly toasted almond slivers (not slices).

                                                                          My big secret: sliced FRESH WATER CHESTNUTS. You have to peel off the bark first, which is not much fun, but they stay a bit crunchy throughout the baking. Love the stuffing that is baked INSIDE the turkey BEST. (I can find these in Asian Markets around the holidays)

                                                                          This stuffing and Bourbon cranberry sauce (from Food & Wine) are what I most look forward to...

                                                                          1. I just ran across this thread. At the risk of stirring things up, the use of the terms 'dressing' and 'stuffing' is a regional thing and has nothing to do with where and how the food in question is cooked. The National Turkey Federation says so.