It is time to share one of my favorite holiday dishes: the stuffing, or in this case, the dressing. This is a recipe my mom has made for as long as I can remember, which she got from her grandmother, my great-grandmother. My great-grandmother called it her celery onion dressing, but this is so much more than just onions and celery.
We don’t stuff the turkey with it, which is why we call it dressing, since we serve it on the side. You could stuff a turkey with it, but just remember that it will substantially lengthen the time you have to cook the bird to ensure that it’s safely cooked through.
When I asked my mom for this dressing recipe, she told me she didn’t actually have it written down and just made it from memory. In my opinion, these always seem to be the best recipes, especially when my mom is involved, because she is seriously one of the best cooks ever. I’m not joking. She’s never made a bad meal and she can pull all the leftovers out of the fridge and make the best meal you’ve ever eaten in your life. Of course, she’ll never be able to repeat it again, but you know the next meal will be just as delicious. Even though she always made this recipe by memory, she humored me and wrote it down.
• 1 large round loaf of sourdough or French bread
• 2 yellow onions, chopped
• 3/4 cup mushrooms, chopped (assorted is best—button, crimini—and add some shiitake if you have them)
• 1 pound of spicy HOT sausage (Italian is great)
• About 5 stalks of celery, chopped
• 4-6 large cloves of garlic, minced
• 6-8 eggs, whisked
• 1/2 to 2/3 cup melted butter
• salt and pepper
• 3 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
• 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
• 1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
• 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
• 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
• 1/2 tsp curry
• chicken broth
• nuts, cranberries, or apples (optional)
1. Cut the loaf of bread into 1/2-inch to 1-inch cubes the night before and put them in a warm oven (a pilot light is sufficient) until the cubes are hard.
2. Don’t chop the vegetables too fine or the dressing will lack texture.
3. Sauté the sausage first then add the onions, mushrooms, celery, and garlic, cooking until the onions are translucent and the sausage is cooked.
4. Mix the bread cubes with the sautéed sausage and veggies then add the melted butter, eggs, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, curry powder, thyme, sage, rosemary, parsley, whatever other spices you might like, and fruit and/or nuts, if you want. Then add chicken broth until the mixture is quite moist but not mushy.
5. Put the stuffing in a covered casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes. Enjoy and happy Thanksgiving!
Rachel’s friends in college used to call her a Renaissance woman. She was always doing something crafty, creative, or utilitarian. She still is. Instead of crafts, her focus these days has been farming as much of her urban quarter-acre as humanly possible. Along with her husband, she runs Dog Island Farm, in the San Francisco Bay Area. They raise chickens, goats, rabbits, dogs, cats, and a kid. They’re always keeping busy. If Rachel isn’t out in the yard, she’s in the kitchen making something from scratch. Homemade always tastes better!
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