Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving Dressing or Stuffing?

We call it dressing as we don't stuff our turkey.  Every family has their own recipe and they are just as varied as each of those familes.
This photo is not of our dressing as we haven't made it yet, but it looks pretty close, although we tend to use round bowls for baking.
Our dressing is made with white bread, the cheaper the better.  For a good sized get together we use 2 loaves of white sandwich bread.  I let it lay out all morning to get somewhat stale and then it is broken up into small chunks by hand in a very large bowl. 
Next you want to get some of the turkey drippings ready, or you can use chicken broth.  Heat it in a saucepan on medium with the neck and giblets for flavor.  Then you need to ready your bowls for baking in the oven.  Either grease with butter or use a spray.  Then pour some hot broth into the bowls to about 1/4" depth.
Next chop 1 medium onion and a couple ribs of celery in a small dice.  I have found that sautéing them with a little butter after dicing makes it even better.  Just add to the bowl of bread chunks.  Then comes seasonings.  Salt & pepper to your taste.  Then rubbed sage or poultry seasoning, but be careful as a little goes a long way.  I've never measured this but I would say no more than 1 tablespoon, probably a bit less.  I also like to add a bit of garlic powder, about 1 teaspoon. 
Now comes the messy part and some people like to wear gloves, not me.  But if you wear rings, take them off first.  Pour in about a cup of warm broth and about 1/2 cup of cool water and start mixing with your hands - trust me nothing else will work as well.  Combine until everything is mixed well.  If your stuffing is too dry add some more broth and water a little at a time.  It should still look like bread chunks but with everything sticking together like a dough, not falling apart. 
Just pick up handfuls and place in the baking dishes.  You may need to add a bit more broth, you want to see the liquid around the edges.
Bake at 350 degrees about 30-45 minutes depending on the size of your bowls.  You want a nice brown top that is getting crusty.  The oven baking bowls will also make the sides and bottom crusty.  While these are baking and everything else is done, and your turkey is resting before slicing, make your gravy. 
We use the turkey broth brought to a boil with the neck and giblets removed.  With the broth at a boil, mix some flour with cold water and whisk to get rid of any lumps, it should be as thick as pancake batter.  I usually use a large measuring cup a whisk will fit into.  Slowly pour your thickener a little at a time into the boiling broth whisking continuously.  You can always add more thickener if you need to, or a bit of water if it gets too thick.  Remember gravy will thicken more as it cools down.  This gives a nice substantial gravy that will mostly stay where you put it.
Hope your Thanksgiving feast is wonderful no matter what kind of dressing your family likes!

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