Holiday Dressing

This started out as my grandmother’s recipe. But, in the several times I’ve made it, it has become my own. While I keep it traditional for Thanksgiving, I play around with it at other times.  It’s a great way to use up stale bread of any kind. It is another recipe that is very adaptable to whatever you can imagine. Play with it.  I’ve made a Greek dressing using extra garlic and oregano.  Next time I make it, I want to try a Ruben-esque theme- rye bread, caraway seeds, and corned beef.

Holiday Dressing
  • 1 whole loaf of crusty bread (french, baguette, ect)
  • 2 Tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 1 cup walnuts, mildly crushed (opt)
  • 1 lb  Sweet Italian, Hot Italian, or Breakfast sausage (opt)
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • 4 onions, chopped
  • 1 box golden raisins (or half cranberries)
  • 2 T rubbed sage
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons brandy (opt)
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Tear the bread into bit size pieces, cover with a towel, and leave out  at least overnight to dry.  Having the bread dry with keep it from absorbing too much liquid later and becoming soggy.  It gives your dressing a nice texture.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Bring a mid-sized skillet up to a medium-hot temperature.  
Add the fennel seeds and allow them to toast until fragrant.  As soon as you smell them, take them off the heat.  Remove the seeds to a small dish, then add the nuts to the same hot, dry skillet and allow them to toast 3-5 minutes, taking care to stir them constantly to prevent burning. Pour the nuts off into a large bowl.

Add olive oil to the same skillet, then fry the sausage until it is cooked through (about 8-10 minutes). Remove the sausage to the same large bowl containing the walnuts.

Add the butter to the skillet, allowing it to melt and blend with the sausage drippings. If you’re not using sausage, add an extra tablespoon butter or bacon drippings.

Add the onions, sauté 2 minutes, then add the raisins and sauté two minutes longer, or until the raisin are plump.

Sprinkle the sage over the vegetables, sauté 1 minute, then add the garlic and toasted fennel seeds.
Sauté two minutes longer, then add the entire mixture into the large bowl with the walnuts and sausage.

To the same big bowl, add the bread, eggs, salt, pepper and brandy. Add enough stock to thouroughly wet the ingredients, but remember, you can always add more.  You don’t want it to be too soggy. Prepare to get messy. Using your hands (or salad servers), thoroughly mix all the ingredients. Think toss rather than clump.  Squeezing the stuffing will destroy its texture.

Butter a 13 x 9 inch baking pan, add the stuffing, then cover tightly with a piece of buttered aluminum foil.

Allow the stuffing to cook 35 minutes, then remove the foil and allow it to bake 30 minutes longer, until the top is nicely crisped, lightly browned, and no liquid bubbles up when you press the crust.

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Posted in Uncategorized 14 years, 7 months ago at 12:59 pm.

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  1. David Campbell Dec 24th 2009

    Since I have made this with you I know how good it is. Very creative recipe.

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