The age-old tradition of arguing over wither this dish called “stuffing” or “dressing”, let me settle it now and forever. Like my grandmother always said if it’s in a dish on the side of the turkey it’s dressing and if it’s in the bird then it’s stuffing. OK cool, now that that’s settled can we argue the fact stuffing is gross? Reason one, you have to take this perfect side dish and put it into the raw turkey. Reason two, stuffing the turkey makes it longer to cook which then drys out the breasts (which is probably why I grew up a dark meat girl). Reason three (which is a two-parter), in theory, the idea of the turkey juices being absorbed into the dried bread sounds appealing but two things happen there. One (3.1) raw turkey juices being absorbed how do you know that all the parts of that that could make you sick cookout? Yes, you could temp the center of the stuffing to make sure it’s cooked enough (165˚) but see reason two for why that’s not great. Two (3.1) if the stuffing is absorbing the juices, what’s left for gravy? The only thing that belongs inside is aromatics, like onions, garlic, lemon, sage, thyme, rosemary, almost anything but stuffing.
Sorry to go on a stuffing rant but I’m very serious and passionate about dressing. If you ask me it’s really the only reason to have Thanksgiving. My grandmother’s dressings were the best. She’d make the standard sausage dressing which was my family’s favorite, but she’d also make the holy grail of dressing, oyster dressing. I’m not sure when or where the oyster stuffing was introduced to oyster stuffing since from what I have found via Wikipedia (the most trusted website ever) it’s a New England dish. As far as I’ve looked into my heritage there’s no ties to New England, but I’m not mad about it. Unfortunately, my grandmother passed away before I learned her ways so this is off of memories alone plus a little bit of extra did bits. Also fun fact, I have now developed a fun food allergy to oysters so when developing this recipe I had to rely on my friends (who I trust) to taste test for me. Do me a favor and eat and enjoy all the oyster dressing for me.
- 12oz bag of Sourdough Bread Cubes
- 1 qt Chicken stock
- 3 stocks of Celery, diced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 3 cloves Garlic, minced
- 6 strips of Bacon, diced
- 8oz jar Oysters
- 1 stick Butter, divided
- 3 sprigs Thyme, stemmed
- 1 spring Sage, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a medium saucepan bring chicken stock, garlic, thyme, sage, and 1/2 the butter to a simmer and let simmer while preparing everything else.
- In a medium fry pan on med-low heat render the fat from the bacon, then cook it to crisp remove from pan place in a big bowl and fat but reserve the fat.
- In the same fry pan that the bacon was cooked in cook the mushrooms until the liquid has been cooked out and slightly browned.
- Check the fat level if the mushrooms absorbed the fat add a little more bacon fat then the celery, and shallot until tender, salting as you go.
- While the veggies are softening, Clean the oysters making sure there are no bits of sand or shell, potch the oysters in the simmering broth for 2-3 minutes. Just cooked enough to stiffen them up so they're easier to chop. But also they release a little bit of their briny goodness. Remove than chop the oysters to bite-sized pieces.
- With some of the remaining butter a 9x13 casserole dish.
- Add oysters, celery/mushroom mixture and the bread to big bowl that the bacon is in. Add about 1/2 a cup of stock at a time into the bread mixture, tossing so make sure the bread is evenly soaking up the broth. Dotting the dressing into the casserole dish and top with the remaining butter. Cover with foil and place on a cookie sheet then place in a 350˚ oven for 45 minutes then remove the foil and cook for another 15 minutes or until the sides are bubbling, the liquid is absorbed and the top is golden brown.
- Allow to cool before serving and garnish with turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and gravy.
Oysters, bacon, mushrooms, and bread, what could be better?