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In the Kitchen: Do you prefer dressing or stuffing
Stuffing

When I was growing up, we always called dressing “stuffing,” even though we never stuffed it inside the cavity of the turkey. It wasn’t until I was older and started doing much of the holiday cooking that I learned if you cook dressing outside of the bird, it is called dressing.

Either way, dressing is probably my favorite part of the holiday meal. I love both bread dressing and cornbread dressing — I love them both so much I can never decide which one to make, so I solve the problem by making both. I always stuff the cavity of the turkey with squeezed lemons, onions and herbs.

Don’t miss next week’s annual Turkey brining column.

 Here are some of my favorite Thanksgiving Day dressings. The amount of liquid you use varies depending on the type of bread you use. You want the dressing to be moist — even very moist, so adjust accordingly.

Sausage and herb dressing

16 cups bread cubes (use a good quality loaf, cubed)

8 tablespoons butter

2 onions, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped

1/4 cup parsley, minced

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

3/4 pound spicy Italian sausage, casings removed

3 cups chicken stock

3/4 cup dried cranberries

 

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spread bread cubes out on two baking sheets and bake for eight minutes. Remove from oven and raise temperature to 350 degrees. In skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, apples, parsley, salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine toasted bread cubes with onion/vegetable mixture. In same skillet, cook Italian sausage until done, about 12 to 15 minutes. Add cooked sausage to bread/vegetable mixture. Pour in stock and stir in dried cranberries. Pour mixture into 9- by 13-inch pan and bake in 350-degree oven for 30 minutes.

Caramelized onion and cornbread dressing

Cornbread:

1/4 cup butter

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1/2 cup flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup milk

1 egg

1 tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put butter in a cast iron skillet and place in the hot oven. Meanwhile, whisk together cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, milk and egg.

Add buttermilk mixture to cornmeal mixture, stirring just until combined. Carefully remove hot skillet from oven and pour in cornbread batter.

Return to oven and bake for 20 minutes until set. Remove from oven and cool completely on rack.

 Dressing:

 2 tablespoons butter

2 onions, chopped

1 egg

1/3 cup fresh sage leaves, minced

1/4 cup heavy cream

3 cups chicken stock

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

 Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until onions are golden brown, about 20 minutes. In a large bowl, crumble cooled cornbread. Add caramelized onions, egg, sage, cream, chicken stock, salt and pepper. Add more stock if mixture is too dry. Pour into 9- by 13-inch dish and bake in preheated 375-degree oven for 30 minutes.

Bacon prune and chestnut dressing

 1 stick butter

6 slices bacon, chopped

4 stalks celery, chopped

2 onions, chopped

2 cups pitted prunes, chopped

1 ½ cups cooked chestnuts, chopped

3 tablespoons rosemary leaves, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

3 cups chicken stock

16 cups bread cubes (preferably from a sourdough loaf)

3 eggs, lightly beaten

 

Melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat and add chopped bacon. Cook for five minutes. Add celery and onions and cook until softened, about eight minutes. Add prunes, chestnuts, rosemary, salt and pepper. Cook another five minutes.

In a large bowl, combine bread cubes with cooked vegetable mixture. Add chicken stock and eggs, stirring to combine. Pour into 9- by 13-inch dish and dot with remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Cover with foil and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven. Remove foil and continue baking for another 20 minutes.