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Holiday Dressing or Stuffing

Dressing or Stuffing

From now until just before Thanksgiving I am going to be posting recipes that I make for the big day. This is my dressing or stuffing recipe. I say stuffing but I don’t stuff a turkey, I always bake it outside the bird but in case you like to stuff you certainly can, just make sure you follow safety guidelines (stuffing should be the same temperature as the turkey).

This recipe is quite a few years in the making, it took a lot of tweaking, changing, and manipulating to get the results I wanted and by jove I got it, about 10 Thanksgivings worth of experimentation really.

Growing up, the mainstay of our Thanksgiving meal was pasta, primarily because of my Italian Father but my Mom always roasted a capon, made cornbread dressing and other side dishes along with the pasta. I always loved cornbread dressing and that is the base from which I started. You will see a lot of ingredients, don’t be intimidated, it really comes together fairly quickly and if you have a food processor it’s even quicker. I add a lot of nuts, walnuts and pecans. herbed bread cubes, vegetables, fruit, bacon or pancetta (your choice) and flavor with sage. It is so delicious and if I ever chose not to make this on Thanksgiving my family would be very upset.

Makes A lot of dressing/stuffing

Double your favorite recipe for cornbread

4 cups  cubed herbed bread

2 cups  ground walnuts

2 cups  chopped pecans

1 Chopped white or yellow onion

1 Chopped Granny Smith Apple skin removed

2 cups chopped celery

1 Pomegranate with the seeds removed its approximately one cup.(OPTIONAL)

1 pound good quality bacon cooked until crisp

2 tbs bacon fat

2-3 cups chicken stock (add in installments you don’t want your stuffing to wet)

2 large eggs lightly beaten

1 cup whole milk or half and half

2-4 teaspoons dried sage (If using fresh sage increase the amount to suit your taste)

2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper (black, mixed, your choice)

4-6 tablespoons butter to saute vegetables

  1. Double a recipe for cornbread, I like to bake it a day or two before I make the stuffing cut into cubes or break off small chunks and set out on a baking sheet to dry or you can scatter on two baking sheets and bake in a 200 degree oven until dried.You can also air dry uncovered but its quicker in the oven.
  2. You can make your own herbed bread cubes by cutting a day old loaf of artisan bread into cubes, toss with some chopped herbs (I like sage) and bake in a 200 degree oven until bread is toasted or you can use bagged cubed herbed bread if you wish
  3. Grind walnuts in food processor and brown in fry pan on low heat careful not to burn, You will know they are done when you can smell the walnuts.
  4. Chop pecans, onion, apple and celery. Melt butter (You can use olive oil if you like) in saute pan add the onions and celery saute until onions are translucent then add the pecans, pomegranate,apple and the sage continue cooking until the ingredients are cooked through but not mushy. Fry the bacon until its crisp break into bite size pieces set aside.Reserve 2 tbs of bacon fat and add to dressing.
  5. In large mixing bowl add the cornbread and bread cubes. Add all the other ingredients Toss to mix careful not to over mix you want the breads to retain its shape as much as possible. Now add the chicken stock, eggs and milk and mix everything together. Adjust seasoning, add salt if you wish or more sage to suit your taste.
  6. Butter your casserole or baking pan and put your dressing in. Bake covered with foil in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 45 minutes then to crisp the top drizzle some of the pan juices from the turkey on top and put in broiler for a few minutes until the top is crisp. You can make this a day ahead and then refrigerate.(Let sit at room temperature for an hour before baking) NOTE: I like to cover and bake then crisp in the broiler you can with very good results just bake uncovered for 30-45 minutes.
  7. I like to use as few pans as possible, in the morning I add the dried cornbread and bread cubes to a large mixing bowl and add what I cooked to the bowl as I go using the same saute pan for everything. Since there are so many steps here I find this makes sense. In the end I only have one saute pan to wash.
24 Comments Post a comment
  1. This sounds delicious! I am making the turkey this year so I think I will try your recipe out. Thanks!

    November 13, 2012
    • Thank you so much Cindy, I hope you like it as much as we do if you give it a try. Happy Thanksgiving!

      November 13, 2012
  2. Oh wow this sounds delicious!! I love the addition of apple and sage!! I’ve never had that in stuffing before……yummy!! I am salivating….

    November 13, 2012
    • Thank you, it’s not exactly healthy but certain things can be omitted to make vegetarian or vegan and more healthful. Happy Thanksgiving!

      November 13, 2012
  3. petit4chocolatier #

    I love your recipe and am going to try it. I adore the bacon, pecans, sage, walnuts and apples in the stuffing. This is superb! The best I have seen. It is obvious that you took extra care to create this recipe. All that tweaking worked well my friend. Bookmarked it!

    November 13, 2012
    • Thank you so much, it was a labor of love for my favorite holiday, would love to know what you think if you give a try. Thanks you again, so appreciate the kind words.

      November 13, 2012
  4. Bring on lots of delicious recipes my friend good start 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

    November 13, 2012
    • Thank you so much, my very favorite holiday! Lots of wonderful food!!!

      November 14, 2012
  5. Wonderful recipe, I love dressings with apples, bacon and nuts, thanks for sharing yours!

    November 14, 2012
    • Thanks Linda, it’s an homage to my Mom’s but really the similarity ends with the cornbread base. I love dressing and yes the apples, bacon and nuts are so delicious in this recipe. Thank you again.

      November 14, 2012
  6. Girrrrl, you’re speaking my language here. I always say I don’t really need turkey on Thanksgiving, just pass the stuffing! I love it! But I’ve never had or made it from scratch. Probably is tragic but I don’t know the difference (yet). This sounds so good and I love you put sage in it, I love sage in stuffing!

    November 14, 2012
    • I know what you mean, my family say’s the same, just give us the stuffing, but I need the turkey for the gravy to spoon on top of the stuffing though. Thank you so much.

      November 14, 2012
  7. Oh, I’m a big fan of dressing/stuffing too, I can see why your family would be disappointed if you didn’t make this. Your recipe sounds delicious. I have made my dressing to perfection over the years also. I have sausage in place of your bacon. One thing I am really, really wanting to try though is the pomegranate, that sounds very tempting and like a secret ingredient 🙂 Looking forward to your other holiday recipes. I always like to get ideas from what other people do on holidays and I just like to see what others do as tradition or non-tradition.

    November 14, 2012
    • Thank you so much, I always look forward to seeing recipes from others, always looking for something new. I always have to same menu but try to introduce at least one new dish every year. I would love sausage in the dressing, what kind do you use?

      November 14, 2012
      • I use the Jimmy’s Dean with sage. I don’t know if they make that all year or just around the holidays (I only buy it during the holidays). That way the sage is right in the pork and I just cook it up and crumble it 🙂

        November 14, 2012
      • That sounds perfect, I will have to see if they sell Jimmy Dean’s sausage around here, I bet it’s amazing in the stuffing. Thank you.

        November 14, 2012
  8. This needs to be on my holiday table!

    November 14, 2012
    • Thank you very much, I only make this once a year at Thanksgiving and everyone loves this dressing. Happy Thanksgiving!

      November 14, 2012
  9. Sounds like a very delicious stuffing. I love apples and bacon in this recipe.

    November 14, 2012
    • Thank you, apples and bacon along with the other ingredients are delicious, a little sweetnesss from the apples and smoky saltiness from the bacon. It tastes so nice together.

      November 15, 2012
  10. Great sense of taste! Who wouldn’t like bacon?! Goes well with almost everything.

    November 15, 2012
  11. Stuffing is the best part of the Thanksgiving dinner (well, tied with pumpkin pie)! I like the apples and nuts in yours – sounds divine. All your tweaking paid off!

    November 15, 2012
    • Thanks Hannah, I also love the apples and nuts, especially the nuts, it gives the dressing such a great flavor.

      November 16, 2012

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