Do I dare travel down the debated path of dressing vs. stuffing? Probably best that I leave it alone or I may be here all day. No matter what you call it, it’s still a staple at the Thanksgiving dinner table. In my case it’s dressing, and it might just be one of the top reasons I look forward to Thanksgiving each year.
While my family’s Thanksgiving celebration might not be the most traditional celebration, it is in fact an interesting one that we make special in our own way. While many families are tucked indoors sitting around the dining room table feasting on delicious food, my family is standing in the middle of a field bowing our heads to pray for the bountiful harvest and the food (especially the dressing) we are about to consume. Growing up in a farming family I have found that holidays, birthdays, and weddings are no excuse to quit harvest. So we make the most of the time we have and we load up the back of my Dad’s truck bed full of Thanksgiving delicacies, most importantly the dressing, and head off to the field with all the women and kids to meet the men for a feast.
Now, this dressing I have been obsessing over is not just any ordinary dressing, but it’s my Great-Grandmas recipe that my Mom has come to perfect over the years. Although, there are a couple of things that my Mom has slightly tweaked, and that is stuffing the bird, as well as throwing the whole oyster thing to the way side (thank goodness). If you are an oyster fan though, go for it!
To begin you need two to two and a half stale loaves of bread torn into pieces. The tearing can be done ahead of time if the bread isn’t quite stale yet, just make sure it has plenty of time to dry out.
When you’re ready to make the stuffing here is what you will need: the pieces of bread, butter, celery, onion, eggs, fresh dried sage, oysters (if you’re a fan), baking powder, chicken broth, and even an apple for flavor if you would like.
First chop up 2 cups of celery and 1 cup of onion and sauté in 1 cup of butter.
Once those are all buttered up and full of calories you can add the mixture to the bread pieces. Mix it all up and then add 2 beaten eggs. Next, in a separate bowl you will want to crumble up your fresh dried sage and combine with oysters (like I said, optional) and ½ teaspoon of baking powder. Combine the sage mixture with your bread.
After combining you will want to add in some chicken broth, enough to moisten it. In my Grandma’s recipe it says to add in some milk with the mixture if it isn’t quite “sloppy” enough.
The last ingredient is completely optional, an apple. My Grandma would always add it in and my Mom does as well, gives the dressing a great “extra” flavor!
The rest is easy as can be, pop it in the oven at 350° and let it bake for about an hour. My Mom always makes sure to stir about halfway through to make sure it is all the same texture!
While this may be a very simple recipe I am here to tell you it still tastes wonderful, even standing in the middle of a dusty field in the chilly fall air. Like they say “simple is better.” If you’re looking to impress at Thanksgiving I hope you try this out, I promise you will be THANKFUL after taking your first bite. Cheers to another safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving!
Illinois State University student