Monday, November 23, 2009

Turkey and Dressing

This is my husband’s family recipe for dressing.  I think it is referred to as oyster dressing.  Although today’s version doesn’t have oysters, but giblets and sausage.  It has a variety of ingredients that make it one of the best dressing recipes around.
Like most of the dressing recipes, you do need to add a batch of already baked cornbread.  There are three different ways to do the cornbread:  make it from scratch, make it using Pioneer ready mix, or you can buy a bag of Pepperidge Farm cornbread crumbs. It will taste great with any method.  The hardest thing about this recipe is getting the seasonings right, so I usually get my seasonings adjusted before I add the raw egg, that way, I can taste if it is right or not.


1 bag Pepperidge Farm seasoned bread crumbs
1 already baked batch of cornbread (or Pepperidge Farm cornbread crumbs)
1-32 oz container of Chicken broth
3-4 stalks celery - chopped
1 onion - chopped(optional)
1 apple – grated with peel on
1 package Jimmy Dean sausage with Sage
Kosher Salt
Course Ground Black Pepper
Allspice seasoning
Ground Nutmeg
2 Eggs
½ - ¾ cup chopped Pecans
½ cup of cooked chopped giblets


Cook the sausage in a skillet like you would ground beef.  Drain and reserve the fat for sautéing the celery, onion, and apple.  After sautéing them, add them back to the sausage and set aside and let it cool off (we will be adding egg, so we don’t want it to cook the egg if it is too hot).
In a large mixing bowl, combine ½ bag of Pepperidge Farm seasoned bread crumbs and the corn bread.  Use about the same amount of cornbread and bread crumbs.  Add 2 cups of the chicken broth and combine.  If you need more liquid, add water or more broth.  It needs to be really moist, like a thick batter.  Add your sausage mixture and seasonings before the egg, so you can taste if the seasonings are right.  I always eyeball the seasonings.  I would start with 1-2 teaspoons Kosher salt, 1 tsp black pepper, 1-2 tsp Allspice, and go light with the Nutmeg about ¼ - ½ teaspoon.  Taste it. You will probably need more Allspice, salt, and pepper. After you get the seasonings right, add the 2 eggs slightly beaten.  The last step is to add the nuts and giblets. You can bake this in a 13 x 9 pan or a disposable foil pan. If you use a pan larger than 13 x 9, you may need to increase the ingredients in this recipe.

The dressing will need about an hour to bake at 350 F.  You can also stuff the turkey with some of it.  You may need to cover with foil to keep it from over-browning on top and getting too dry.  Take the foil off towards the last 15 minutes of cooking time.

Since we bake the turkey at 325 F, you may need to add more time for the dressing, say 1-1/2 to 2 hours, if you want to bake it with the Turkey.  Just watch that it doesn’t get too brown or dry.

To bake the Turkey:

Allow 20 minutes per lb.  A 16 lb turkey at 20 minutes per lb would take a about 5 hours and 20 minutes up to 6 hours to roast.  The key to roasting a turkey is to thaw it out completely in the refrigerator (this may take 1-2 days) and remove everything on the inside before stuffing it and roasting. When I roast my turkey, I baste it with melted butter and seasoning every 30 minutes of cook time.  Take a turkey baster or a brush and brush the skin so it turns a nice golden brown.  Use the baster to get inside of the turkey.  Some people buy injectors to inject it with flavor.  I think you can purchase them at Bed, Bath, and Beyond for under $20. Stuffing is optional.  Add your uncooked dressing to the large empty cavity before roasting. Turkey is usually done when the juices run clear and the thermometer pops out. The ultimate test is if it is falling off the bone – delicious. The easier it is to get off the bone, the better it is, and that is a sure sign that the turkey is done.

Some of the best seasonings to use on a thanksgiving turkey are:  Rosemary, Thyme, Poultry Seasoning, Garlic powder, Basil, Sage (optional).

Once the skin has turned a nice beautiful brown, cover the turkey with foil until it has finished roasting. When I roast a 4 lb chicken, I usually flip it.  I like to allow the skin on the bottom to get golden, too.  I usually roast it upside down first, and then flip it.  If you are unable to flip it, don’t worry about it, just make sure you have the top bake last, so that it is nice and golden. If you have a large, long wooden spoon, you can insert that into the cavity and use tongs to rotate the turkey. Get assistance because it is heavy and it is going to be hot!

You can cook the giblets in a pan of water on the stove until done.  Drain, chop, and set aside to use in the dressing or in the gravy.

I don’t make my gravy from scratch –  I buy the McCormicks packets at the store.  However, if there is any extra juices, they can be added to the gravy or reserve them and make your own gravy.  We like to add hard boiled egg and chopped giblets to our gravy.

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