The way I see it, dressing is when you cook the stuffing outside of the bird. Stuffing is when you cook the dressing inside of the bird. But f you are used to calling dressing stuffing or stuffing dressing, carry on. I am glad to help clear that up.
One drawback of stuffing the dressing into the bird is that the cooking time for having a nice moist turkey won’t allow the stuffing to get hot enough to kill any bacteria that may be present. Another drawback is the turkey doesn’t hold much dressing.
The only drawback I can see of baking the stuffing separately is you don’t get all the flavor that seeps into the dressing from the turkey while it is roasting. The upside is you’ve reduced the odds of making anyone ill.
One of my favorite Thanksgiving Day memories is of my Dad gently simmering the neck and giblets in a sauce pot in order to make a broth to moisten and flavor the dressing. He would cook chopped onions and celery until soft in a margarine bath and then combine them with perfectly cubed and seasoned dried bread (thanks to Brownberry). Dad would pull the meat from the long-simmered neck and chop that along with the giblets, adding both to the stuffing in the bowl. He would then measure out the perfect amount of his fresh broth and stir it until the liquid had mostly been absorbed by the dried bread cubes. The dressing would then get stuffed into the bird with the extra placed in a baking dish, covered with foil and set aside to bake later when there was room in the oven. (Stuffing and dressing!)
I sometimes make stuffing and dressing. I just don’t serve the stuffing to anyone on Thanksgiving. I take it out of the bird and hoard it because it is so good. Then enjoy it later as fresh leftovers. What our guests get is dressing which is usually pretty darn good anyway. I am sure I will hear about this later. Happy Thanksgiving!
Here is a recipe for a delicious stuffing that I have made in classes previously. I think I am going to do something similar this year but may not. So if you will be at our home for Thanksgiving Dinner, don’t look forward to this.
Sausage and Caramelized Onion Stuffing
2 tablespoons butter
2 large onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, diced
½ pound cooked ground or diced sausage (optional)
8 cups dried bread cubes, (any kind work, I have potato bread I am using this year, maybe)
2-3 cups chicken stock or broth
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon sage
Salt and pepper to taste
Method: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook the onions in the butter until the onions have caramelized. Add the garlic, celery and sausage (if used); cook another 10 minutes. Mix the eggs with the stock. Combine the bread cubes, onion mixture, thyme, basil, sage and salt and pepper in a bowl. Add the stock and egg mixture. Stir to combine well. Place in a well-greased pan. Bake at 350ºF for 45 minutes covered, then uncover and bake another 10-15 minutes. Enjoy the dressing.