Next to the traditional Thanksgiving turkey, the classic holiday dinner is by no means complete without its mate: dressing. Dressing is a very controversial topic for many! All cooks who make dressing try to pattern it after their mother or grandmother’s methods, which many people swear by. There are variations of the theme, but dressing basically consists of cornbread and/or biscuit crumbs. In our family, my father was the “taste tester” for the dressing. My mother would make up the dressing mixture and have my father taste it for the right amount of sage, salt, and pepper. After my father passed away, I became the taste tester. My grandmother (my father’s mother) made the most sensational dressing for our family holiday gatherings. Because there would be about twenty people in attendance, I well remember the dressing being prepared in a dishpan.
This article includes three recipes for dressing. Each one differs according to personal taste, but all are very tasty. The first one comes closest to that my grandmother made. The second version has sausage in it and the sausage adds to the flavor and complements the seasonings in the dressing. The third also has sausage in it, along with diced apples, which some recipes include along with other fruits. The water chestnuts give it an added crunch. This version would also be a good dressing to serve with pork, in addition to turkey.
One footnote that applies to each of these recipes: I would suggest having some extra broth on hand to add in case the mixture appears dry. I find it’s better to have the dressing a bit too moist than too dry. Try to have the uncooked mixture about a medium consistency.
As we prepare for “Turkey Day”, let’s look at three ways to “dress up” the main course!
- 1/2 C. Finely Chopped Onion
- 1 C. Finely Chopped Celery
- 3/4 C. Melted Butter
- 4 C. Toasted Dry Bread Cubes or 4 C. Crumbled Biscuits (I prefer the biscuits)
- 3 C. Crumbled Cornbread
- 2 Tsp. Salt
- 1/2 Tsp. Pepper
- 1 Tsp. Poultry Seasoning
- 2 C. Turkey Broth (more if needed)
Brown the onion and celery in the butter; combine with bread cubes, cornbread, and seasonings; pour on the broth and stir lightly to blend; stuff fowl and roast according to the weight of the bird; this amount of dressing is for a 4-1/2 to 5 lb. bird. If desired, bake the dressing separately by placing in a greased 9×13 inch pan; cover and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes; remove cover and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Serves 6-8 generously.
- 8 Inch square of Favorite Type of Cornbread, crumbled
- 1 Stick Butter
- 1/2 C. Chopped Onion
- 1/2 C. Chopped Green Pepper
- 1/2 C. Chopped Celery
- 1/4 C. Chopped Fresh Parsley
- 1 Lb. Sausage
- 1 C. Chopped Walnuts (optional)
- 1 Tbls. Sage
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Approximately 1-1/2 C. Chicken or Turkey Broth (more if needed)
Crumble and cook sausage, then drain; saute onions, green pepper, celery, and parsley in the butter until they are tender; combine sausage, sauteed vegetable mixture; crumbled cornbread, and walnuts; sprinkle with sage, salt, and pepper; add enough broth to moisten; turn into a greased 2 qt. casserole and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serves 6-8 generously.
Variation: 1 Pint of Chopped Oysters or Sauteed Mushrooms may be added, if desired)
SAUSAGE & APPLE STUFFING
- 6 Tbls. Butter
- 1-1/2 C. Chopped Onion
- 1 C. Chopped Celery
- 5 C. Bread Crumbs
- 2 Tbls. Chopped Parsley
- 1 Tbls. Salt
- 1/4 Tsp. Pepper
- 1 C. Chicken or Turkey Stock (more if needed)
- 2 Large Eggs, slightly beaten
- 1/2 Lb. Pork Sausage, cooked and drained
- 3 C. Cubed Apples (not peeled)
- 2 8-1/2 oz. cans Sliced Water Chestnuts
Melt butter and saute onion and celery for about five minutes until the vegetables are soft; meanwhile, combine bread crumbs and seasonings; add the sauteed mixture and moisten with the stock and eggs; blend in sausage, apples, and water chestnuts and combine well; turn into a greased 2 qt. dish and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until firm in the center. Serves 6-8. (This also makes enough stuffing for a 12 lb. turkey.)
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