Thursday, November 25, 2010

Stuffed or Dressed

Happy Thankgiving.

Anyone watching the new show, "Raising Hope", with the most wonderful Martha Plimpton, will have some insight into my growing up life.  It wasn't fancy.  And most of my "traditions" are centered around going to my grandparents where there was always a hodge-podge of pot-lucked midwestern, lower middle-class fare: green bean casserole, scalloped potatoes, and my beloved mother's mammoth mound of cheese-ball.

But it wasn't until I met my husband and his mishpokhe that I came into some typical turkey and side-dish traditions.  The huz's mum is one of those fabled Jewish mothers who can whip out a meal with only some water, bread, salt, and good motherly guilt.  I've seriously never seen anyone cook as easily or better than Charlotte.

So on this Thanksgiving day, I'm offering up my all-time favorite T-day food: Charlotte's stuffing/dressing recipe.  So simple and good that I dare you not to just eat it out of the pan when it comes out of the oven.  True confession: I make this comfort food throughout the year and eat it out of the pan, over the stove, especially when I'm blue and just totally want to go there with myself.
Recipe after the jump:

Charlotte's Best Stuffing / Dressing

2 loaves day old bread, 1 inch cubed
5-6 eggs
chicken or vegetable stock or water
butter, butter, butter
2 cups carrots
2 cups celery
2 cups onion

For dressing: pre-heat stove to 350-degrees.

Cube the day old bread (I make a Challah special just for this and let it age.  It adds a little sweetness to the dish) and in a bowl, soak it with enough stock or water (stock is better and adds flavor) to make it moist but not swimming.  Let sit for a bit.

Heat up a skillet and melt the butter.  While the butter is melting, chunk up the carrots, celery, and onions, and throw into a food-processor. Pulse until it's ground down to a consistency you like.

Saute the carrots, celery, and onion in the butter until a bit soft.  Remove and let cool a bit

Take handfuls of the wet bread and squish out as much of the stock with your hands.  Discard the stock.  Mix in the eggs with the bread.  Add in sautéed vegetables.  Salt and pepper to taste.

If making a dressing, butter a 9 x 13 oven-safe dish, then throw in the raw dressing.  Bake at 350-degrees, covered, for about an hour with the last 5-10 minutes uncovered to brown the top.  Watch closely towards the end.  You want a moist, just done dressing.  Not under or over-cooked.

If using as a stuffing, stuff the bird per your usual tradition or recommendations and cook with the turkey.  

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