Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mollie Does Dressing

After a 'seasoned' thirty three years of marriage, I've morphed a recipe for dressing that seems to please the family.  We all wanted a bit of meat in our dressing, but we also wanted giblets for the gravy.  What to do?

When I was a young wife, I watched AM Northwest regularly.  Maryanne Bauer, a domestic wonder, often gave recipes for the holidays that were both tasty and economical.  She had one for dressing with Italian Sausage that I tweaked to appeal to my family.

Every year I've prepared a turkey for Thanksgiving - we've had very few Thanksgivings where I haven't produced at least one large turkey.  In the past, we've smoked a turkey (really good) or deep-fat fried a turkey (also really good), but I've always manage to stuff one in the oven (so to speak) as well, simply because I can't imagine turkey without dressing.

Well, here we go.  After umpteen years of turkey magic, this is how I usually stuff a turkey.

First, I boil the giblets.  I use the meat for the gravy, but the broth that results from the boiling (usually 2 quarts) is used to moisten the breading.

So, here we go - this is what I'm doing this year, to a 14 pound turkey.

1 package of dried bread for stuffing a turkey (you chose - there are a bunch out there, personally I like Pepperidge Farm)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 pound ground sausage (your choice, this year I'm using an herbal pork)
Approximately 2 quarts of stock from boiling the giblets
1/2 cup dried cranberries (I love craisins)
1/2 cup nuts (pecans or walnuts are best IMHO)

Saute the sausage and the onions, set aside.  In large mixing bowl, moisten the breadcrumbs with the broth until it's moist and easy to form into a ball.  Add sauteed pork and onion, then the dried cranberries and nuts.

Taste the mixture.  There is usually enough seasoning in the sausage to replace the poultry seasoning that's normally used.  And once the turkey juices start oozing into the bird, you will have plenty of flavor.  Except, of course, if you want more!

Stuff the turkey, but be sure it's not overstuffed.  You've cooked the sausage already, but it's nice to have a little circulation going on inside the bird to allow the seasonings to balance out.

Voila, a dressing that's tasty and a little unusual.  Did you notice that there's no celery?  After 58 years of failed dieting, I HATE celery!


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