My feelings on this are strong. I am a proud non-stuffer. It is practically a religion for me. Non-stuffing has been a little easier coming out with this since it has won some support from many "real" chefs. They say it is a bacterial breeding ground and cite sanitary reasons. My stand is based a little more on emotion and possibly psychological dysfunction.
Number one, my mom was a non-stuffer. In fact, I had no idea why stuffing was called stuffing growing up because our stuffing was actually dressing, baked in a casserole dish and served alongside the turkey. I really had no idea in my formative years that people actually STUFFED food in the turkey in such a personal way. When I learned of it? I was shocked. And maybe a little sickened. I have a strangely weak stomach and am prone to fainting at the mere suggestion of many things. This is one of them. Please, people. Think of the turkey. Hasn't he given enough? Give him at least a little bit of dignity. What did he ever do to you anyway?
That brings me to my other point. Thanksgiving is one of those meals that you want what you had growing up. I have been known to have full blown temper tantrums in my adult years over certain side dishes. I may or may not share the details of one such tantrum over Jello salad with you tomorrow. I haven't decided just how much of my own dignity to give up in this project.
My mom's stuffing is a childhood favorite of mine and probably still my favorite part of Thanksgiving. It's a simple recipe. As far as I can tell, it is the recipe straight off the box of Mrs. Cubbison's Dressing. It is something like this:
1 box Mrs. Cubbison's classic dressing (two 6 oz bags)
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups broth
1. Combine dressing with butter and vegetables in large mixing bowl. Stir liquid in gradually and mix gently.
2. Spread dressing in greased casserole dish.
3. Bake, covered in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove cover and bake 10 minutes more.
Now because everyone seems to want what they grew up with, I have had to make some changes in my dressing that shall not be stuffed recipe. My husband grew up in a stuffing family, bless his heart. He now knows the error of his ways, however, and my revised dressing recipe has reformed him. The compromise I have made is making something a little moister and more complex. I think it works for him. But I am sure under the right circumstances - you know 1000 miles out of my earshot - my husband would say his mom's stuffing is better than mine, even though it does come from an unmentionable cavern inside of a dirty ol' bird.
Michelle's "Dignity For All" Dressing
5 cups cubed sourdough bread
1 pound Italian sausage (spicy or sweet)
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
2 teaspoons dried sage
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and diced
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1 1/2 cups broth
1/2 cup butter, melted
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread break cubes in single layer on baking sheet and bake 4 minutes. Stir and bake 4 minutes more until lightly toasted.
2. Meanwhile, in large skillet, cook sausage and onion until sausage is cooked through and no pink remains. Add celery and herbs and cook, stirring, about 5 minutes more. Remove from heat.
3. In large mixing bowl, combine bread and sausage mixture. Stir in apple, cranberries and parsley and mix well. Add broth and butter and mix gently.
4. Place dressing in buttered casserole dish. Bake, covered in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove cover and bake 10 minutes more.