Stuffing vs. Dressing!
Discovering the secrets behind the debate of the ages!
STORY BY: KRIS BEASLEY
I grew up in Vienna, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, DC. From the time I can remember, Thanksgiving was always my favorite meal.
Even sitting at the card table, I felt like a queen with my plate piled high with everything from juicy turkey to stuffing!
There – I said it! Stuffing! Yes, I grew up with stuffing. Small cubes of bread mixed with celery and onions and seasoned perfectly with chicken broth and herbs. My mother, Barbara Adams makes the best. And she would make wet and dry stuffing. The wet would be stuffed in the turkey and baked right along with and then scooped out and served as wet. The dry (which was always my favorite) was placed in a shallow pan and baked and served as dry. I would love to ladle my mom’s homemade gravy (another one of her specialties) over the crispy stuffing, next to the mashed potatoes with the melted butter lagoon in the center. Oh my, I am drooling! Many years later I married a Southern Boy and experienced dressing for the first time. I can still remember the day I ate it for the first time, at his family farm in Loris, South Carolina. The table was packed with all the usual Thanksgiving fare – including dressing, a solid bread like consistency that was scooped out with a spoon. What was this foreign substance? I served myself a spoonful and was pleasantly surprised – it was delicious. It was light, moist and flavorful. The flavor was similar to the stuffing I knew, but the consistency was different.
Now, after 21 years of marriage, I have grown to love both stuffing and dressing alike! I reached out to both of my Moms – Barbara Adams and June Beasley to get their recipes to share. Whether you are a stuffing fan or a dressing fan, I think you will find both these recipes will not disappoint!
BARBARA ADAM’S STUFFING –
Here is what I remember about preparing a stuffed turkey for Thanksgiving. I I have no idea about exact measurements of the ingredients because it was all about what my mouth told me after each addition. I tasted the raw stuffing constantly until I said, “Aaaaah! That’s right on”!
- 1 18-20 lb. Turkey
- Dry bread cubes in a bag, or day old or more sliced
bread cubed. Amount depends on how many are eating.
Guesstimate would be 2 Cups per person.
- 1 or 2 onions roughly chopped
- 1 bunch of celery, including green leaves, roughly
chopped (or about same amount as onion)
- 1 bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1 or 2 cup chicken broth, to moisten a bit
- Poultry seasoning to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
If it tastes good after mixing all these ingredients together, it will taste great after baking inside the turkey or in a casserole. Lightly salt the inside of the turkey cavity and lightly press the stuffing inside. Skewer the skin from the neck over the stuffing. Put the remaining stuffing in a casserole and cover with a lid or tin foil and bake along with the turkey.
Bake at 325 in oven or until thermometer reaches 165 when inserted in turkey thigh. Approximate baking time for a 16-20 lb turkey (stuffed) would be 6-9 hours.
This recipe has served my family well for over 50 years.
JUNE BEASLEY’S DRESSING –
It is hard for me to give exact ingredients as I make it by taste but here is the basic recipe I use. And I always make the cornbread by scratch. I do not buy the cornbread crumbs.
For the cornbread:
1 cup yellow Corn Meal (I like House Autry)
1 cup Self-Rising Flour
1 cup Milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Combine the dry ingredients and mix with the wet ingredients. Pour in a greased 8 inch pan. Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 25 minutes. Cool.
For the dressing:
Medium onion – chopped
2 celery stalks – chopped
1/4 cup of melted butter
1 raw egg
2 cups of chicken broth
3 slices of white bread
1/2 tsp of pepper
Baked Cornbread from above. Crumble cooled cornbread in a large mixing bowl. Add 3 slices of white bread by crumbling with your fingers. Beat egg and add to the dry mix. Add pepper. The add onion and celery. Then pour chicken broth in and mix with a spatula until it is a pudding consistency. You may have to add more chicken broth to get it to the pudding state. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for an hour.
If you want you can add these ingredients: Rice, Leftover Biscuits, Pecans, Turkey Broth, Turkey or Chicken pieces and Oysters.