Monday, November 28, 2016

Who Says You Can Only Have Dressing at Thanksgiving?

I didn't try it until I was in my teens, but when I did, I fell in love with stuffing (in the bird) and dressing (out of the bird). I've had both in multiple forms and formats including:

  • Wonder bread cubes (hi Janet!)
  • Pre-seasoned bread cubes, which are a bit salty, even for me, and Nexx will tell you I put salt on my salt.
  • Rice, usually a mix of short grain and wild rice, which isn't rice at all.
  • Cornbread, which is not my thing. So very not my thing.
  • Stovetop out of a box. Again, a bit salty, but convenient as all get out, and if you add a few things, you can spread the salt among the other ingredients.
  • Leftover bread from that Italian place in Stamford. Fabulous food, and we ordered delivery one evening and they send us enough bread that I was easily able to fill my 9x13 baking dish.
Getting into ingredients, and I'll * the ones I've used. This year's ingredients are in blue:
  • Celery*
  • Onions*
  • Chunks of roast pork (yum!)
  • Oysters*
  • Chestnuts (not my thing)
  • Walnuts*
  • Apples* (I adore apples and onions together)
  • Hard-cooked eggs
  • Breakfast sausage--before you say "wrong kind of sausage," note that a lot of breakfast sausage has a nice measure of sage)
  • Smoked sausage* (a personal favorite)
  • Kielbasa* (bring on the garlic!)
While Nexx was trying yet another store to find us a turkey breast, I asked him to pick me up some bread. He came home with a sliced round loaf of "country bread," which was perfect. The ingredients on the package said, "wheat, yeast, salt." Not sure how sugar got left off the label to feed the yeast, but it was nice that it wasn't the first ingredient.

I spread out the slices on a baking pan on Tuesday night, put it in the oven and ignored it for 24 hours. One Wednesday, I cut it into cubes (we need a serrated knife, sweetie), but the actual creation didn't get going until the duck was in the immersion circulator.

  • Bread cubes from above
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2.5 Cups chopped onions
  • .5 pounds of kielbasa--about half a package (I wanted smoked sausage, but let Nexx have his way), chopped into .75" pieces
  • .5 pounds of shucked oysters, chopped. We had a can, and reserved half the oyster liquid
  • zest of half a lemon (I wanted a little brightness to counter the richness of the oysters)
  • 1 quart turkey stock
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter to be melted 
  • 1 egg, beaten (I'm honestly not sure this is necessary, but it seemed like a good idea).
  • 2 Tablespoons Rosemary
  • 2 shakes of garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon Fines Herbes 
Saute the kielbasa over medium heat for about 5 minutes, to the point where it starts releasing fat & juices, but take out of the pan before it gets brown. 

Chop your vegetables. Put them in a bowl, no need to separate

I used our stew pot, as our biggest bowl was too small. Put in the bread cubes and the herbs in your and toss until well-mixed. Next up, the vegetables and meat, a little at at time, stirring constantly with a rubber scraper.

Add the melted butter and stir in, then add the broth one cup at a time, continually stirring until the bread cubes are damp and soft. Put in 9x13 baking pan, cover with foil. Bake at 400 F for 60 minutes, remove the foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes until top is crispy. The most fun thing about dressing, to me, is the interplay of all the different textures.

Next time, more oysters, but otherwise I'm very happy with this. I think Nexx is too because he's been very busy the last few minutes scarfing the leftovers.


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