Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Family Dressing, or is it Stuffing?

I don't know why it's ours, but my mother must have learned this from my father's mother, my beloved Nana. Or maybe not, seems like Nana's would have been cornbread.  Maybe she just read it in a magazine.  They sure didn't have Thanksgiving in New Zealand.   And she called it "German" dressing.  Or stuffing.  I wish someone would tell me what's the difference.

Anyway, as all families have their own favorites, so do we.  Once I tried to serve an "experimental" dressing and it sat pretty much all by itself in the corner.  This is ours, and I think it's not unusual.  Since  I want to make mine now, I will put in the freezer for a couple of weeks and bake it on Thanksgiving day.
You start with sausage.  I like Jimmy Dean and since this year I bought "all natural" with no preservatives or MSG, I sure hope Jimmy won't let me down.  You brown it all up really well.

Then you use the pastry cutter to break it up.  You don't want big chunks of sausage in this dressing.
While the sausage is cooking you cut up the vegetables.  First the onions.  For some certain people in my family who don't cook, this is how to cut an onion.

Cut it in half from root to top.   Then peel the top skin back.
  Then you make vertical slices down,
and then you make slices across.

The layers of the onion cause it to make small dice.  Cool, huh?
Drain the sausage in brown paper,

and take a hunk of butter and put it in the sausage pan.  Melt the butter and put the onions in, medium heat, and go cut the celery. When it's cut, add the celery to the sautee, then ...

...the mushrooms. Then add the sage, parsley, tarragon and thyme.  Yum.

Let that all get familiar in the butter
and go find your biggest bowl.  A restaurant supply store is a good place for these.

Put your drained sausage in the big bowl,  then the sauteed vegetables then add your Mrs. Cubbison's or Pepperidge Farm cubes or crumbles, it doesn't matter.

 Stir that all up using generous amounts of Chicken broth.  But don't drown it.  You can always add more, but not the other way around.  And you might want to add more when it's baked.
 I cover it up and put it in the freezer.   When it's about an hour before Turkey time,  I pop it in a hot oven for about an hour, the last 15 uncovered.  By some magic it will be much darker and more flavorful then.  I can't wait!

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