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Best dressing recipe?

So this is my first year doing Thanksgiving at our house and my in-laws are coming.

I hate stuffing/dressing (I know, I know) so have no good recipe to use. They're not exactly adventurous eaters. Once they were at our house and I did a basic sauté of zucchini and onions to go with some grilled chicken and it was a revelation to them. They still talk about it like, 'make your zucchini stuff, that was so different!' If it were up to them, I'd make Stovetop. I might dislike stuffing but I still want to make something I can be proud of.

I'm cooking the turkey in pieces so it will be dressing, in a pan. What's your go-to recipe? Thanks!

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  1. French bread, onions, celery, apple or pear, fresh sage.

    1. This recent thread has some great ideas:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/878950

      This one has some more simple ones as well:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/922455

      1. I've made Ina's Sausage and Herb Stuffing (dressing really) for the last few years. I think my sons would be disappointed if I didn't make it again. It makes a huge amount, so unless you're having a crowd, I recommend cutting everything in half.
        http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...

        1. I agree with magiesmom, but I would also add chopped roasted chestnuts (so delicious and nutty and crunchy, especially against the sweet apples). If you can't find chestnuts, walnuts are also great :)

          1. Turkey Stuffing Recipe -Turkey Dressing Recipe
            Recipe Type: Poultry, Oven Roasted Turkey, Thanksgiving Turkey
            Menu: Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner
            Yields: enough to stuff a 20-pound turkey
            Prep time: 30 min

            Ingredients:

            The below recipe is a only a guideline for making your turkey stuffing. Depending on your family's taste, add or delete ingredients (onions, celery, mushrooms, and or nuts) to make to your liking. Be creative!

            1/4 cup butter or margarine
            1 large onion, chopped
            2 cups chopped celery
            1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
            1 loaf day-old bread, toasted and cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 10-12 cups)
            1 egg, beaten
            Stock from the turkey giblets and/or chicken broth (approximately 1 to 2 cups)
            1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
            Salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste
            Dried crushed sage to taste
            Dried crushed thyme to taste

            Preparation:

            To make turkey giblet stock, place the turkey giblets (giblets and neck), water, and salt in a small saucepan over low heat; bring to a simmer and simmer for about 1 hour, uncovered. Remove from heat and strain the stock into a container for use with the stuffing. Alternatively, you can use chicken stock or just plain water with this recipe.

            In a large pot (large enough to hold all the prepared stuffing) over medium-high heat, melt butter or margarine. Add onion, celery and mushrooms; sauté until soft.

            Mix in bread cubes and egg with enough chicken broth to moisten. Add nuts, salt, pepper, sage, and thyme; stir until well blended. The stuffing should be moist, not dry, because heat destroys bacteria more rapidly in a moist environment.

            Proceed to stuff turkey in your usual way. NOTE: Do not cool the stuffing. Spoon it directly into the turkey cavity right after preparation. Stuff the turkey loosely — about 3/4 cup of stuffing per pound. Check out Advice on Stuffing a Turkey Safely.

            Immediately place the stuffed, raw turkey in an oven set no lower than 325 degrees F. To cook your stuffed turkey, check out Guidelines For Roasting a Whole Turkey.

            The USDA has come up with a one-temperature-suits-all for poultry safety: 165 degrees F. For safety and doneness, the internal temperature should be checked with a meat thermometer

            http://whatscookingamerica.net/Poultr...

            1. I would buy boxed cornbread dressing and add lots of onion, celery and sausage to it. Similar to your zuchinni success, keep it simple and savory.

              1 Reply
              1. re: sedimental

                How about making an onion confit? Brown a couple of cups of Panko flakes gently in butter with some fine chopped celery. Fold together gently and serve. Instead of Panko you could use a couple of cups of small roasted croutons.

              2. If you're in the American South (or your in-laws are), Paula Deen's recipe is very good, although I've seen plenty of versions on the web that call for 7 cups of broth instead of 2...I suspect an original typo somewhere! (7 cups of broth to 7 cups of cornbread will give you soup!). You'll have to adjust the amount of broth to the dryness of your cubes/crumbs.

                Whatever you do, DON'T use a "sweet" cornbread mix like Jiffy (*shudder*).

                And if you have time, DO toast both the white bread and the cornbread in the oven first.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Chowbird

                  I come from a long line of Southern cooks and we always add a lot of broth - "until it's soupy" as I was taught - which is usually anywhere from 4 -6+ cups depending how dry the cornbread is. It keeps the dressing nice and moist and isn't soggy at all if you cook it long enough.

                  Also, if I have leftover biscuits during the few months before Thanksgiving, I crumble them and keep in the freezer and use them in the dressing as well.

                  I agree that sweet cornbread is not the answer!!

                  1. re: Chowbird

                    Actually her dressing is soupy, I watched her make it on her show once and I literally had to look away from the tv it was so disgustingly soupy. Personally I hate mush dressing.

                  2. Thanks for all the ideas. You all are convincing me to give dressing another try!

                    1. I'm also a hit or miss dressing/stuffing lover. I think I love it when it's just right, but often it's too dry or too moist. Are there any signs to you when adding liquid that it's moist enough? I read somewhere that if you squeeze it in a ball and small drops of liquid fall that that's a good indicator.

                      1. The Silver Palate recipe is so good, the original recipe and many variations are available all over the web. For example:

                        http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

                        You need a big skillet and a big bowl.

                        If you do this, they may be asking for it every year!

                        1. If Stovetop is the flavor profile you want to recreate, just go with a basic celery/onion stuffing/dressing recipe like this one:

                          http://allrecipes.com/recipe/bread-an...

                          Use a couple of good quality Italian for French style white bread sold in the bakery section, not in the packaged bread aisle. Buy it at least a day ahead. Cut off the crust and cube the bread and let it dry out for a few hours.

                          For two loaves of bread, I'd use two sticks of butter with a large onion and 4 or 5 celery stalks, diced, and some fresh flat leaf parsley, and fresh sage. As the recipe I linked instructs, saute the onions and celery in butter, add the parsley, fresh sage, salt and pepper and about a teaspoon of poultry seasoning. Dump that mixture over the bread cubes and moisten with turkey broth, until you get the right consistency. It will probably need more than the one cup of broth recommended in the recipe. Taste and adjust seasonings with more salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Bake in a buttered casserole, with some more butter dotted over the top.