Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Culnary IQ: Wednesday, November 23, 2011; Turkey Sides

Does This Dressing Make Me Look Fat?

Now that you have decided how to prepare your turkey, the second most important decision is what stuffing will be the best accompaniment. After the stuffing, the gravy and then the mashed potatoes are next in importance.

The variety of stuffing or dressing recipes are almost endless. Will the base be bread or cornbread, or something else? Will there be fruit or meat? Nuts? What herbs to use? Many traditional stuffings are regional and were most likely derived from the availability of ingredients. Modern markets have ingredients from around the world available to you to use in your stuffings. I encourage you to use local, it is a great way to give thanks to your local farmers! I am sure you will find the perfect stuffing for your feast. I will share with you the stuffing that my family made for generations, you will have to use our own judgement when adding some of the ingredients:

Oyster Stuffing

2 12-ounce packages of seasoned stuffing or the equivalent in toasted dry bread

Cooked giblets from turkey, chopped, water reserved

1 small can oysters, chopped

1-2 tsp. dry chopped sage

1-2 tsp. dry oregano

2 eggs, slightly beaten

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place the stuffing or bread in a large bowl, chopped giblets, oysters, sage, and oregano. Add eggs and mix thoroughly. Add enough of the water from the giblets to moisten the stuffing and season with salt and pepper. Place stuffing in a large greased baking dish and bake until golden and heated through, 30-40 minutes.

When it comes to gravy and potatoes, the best are always the ones made just before the meal goes on the table. The pressure of getting the turkey to the table can often make it too stressful to be hovering over the stove to keep the gravy from getting lumpy. If you don't have enough helpers in the kitchen I suggest some make ahead options. I have used both of these recipes before with great success:

Make Ahead Gravy

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

I hope these suggestions will help you get the Thanksgiving meal on the table without stressing out to much. I will check back with you tomorrow to see how it is going. 

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