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Thanksgiving Dressing/Stuffing

The first thing on Thanksgiving, I make stuffing. This year was no different even though we weren't at our house. It's not mom's recipe as I used dried bread stuff from the box (18 pound turkey - 2 boxes.) In my childhood, mom would start drying and saving bread crusts as soon as summer ended. We'd wind up with a entire bag of ends and bits and pieces. My mom saved, and used, everything.

Back to the recipe - Dump these two boxes into a large mixing bowl.

I also bought boxed chicken stock. If I'd been home, I had frozen homemade stock, but we were hosting the meal in a rental house this year. So I had to make due.

First thing, chop a small onion and three/four stalks of celery. Put that and butter (2 tbsp) into a large stock pan. Let it sweat on medium heat for a few minutes, then add the entire box of stock with the rest of a cube of butter into the pan. Add the turkey neck and let cook.

My mom used to also chop and add the sweetbreads (?). Do chefs call the gizzard/liver/heart of turkeys sweetbreads? I'm not sure. But since I don't (and never have) liked the taste, I throw that stuff away. I know, she'd be yelling at me right now. She used to make me a side bowl of dressing without the other stuff. Or she told me it was without it and I believed her. I never found chopped up heart in my dressing bowl, so I think I believe her.

Add some salt/pepper - to taste - (which means I eyeball it and don't measure so I can't tell you what the measurement really is.) Then let the flavors simmer and melt together for about fifteen minutes on low heat. Your kitchen will start smelling like Thanksgiving and you'll have time for a cup of coffee. Turn the heat off, let the mix cool, then take out the neck (and discard.)

Pour the mixture over your bread crumbs and stir. Add an egg to the mix and stir more. This is a gentle stir, you don't want to turn the mixture into mush.

If you're using bread crumbs (and not boxed stuffing) you'll need some more seasoning at this point. A tbsp of poultry seasoning along with about a tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of ground pepper. Again, it's to taste. I cook with salt. The Cowboy came from a family where you only added salt later at the table. The thought makes me crazy and I tend to add salt to things he's cooking when he's out of the kitchen.

Anyway, then the dressing (I guess it's actually stuffing since WE put it in the bird to cook), is ready to bake. It turned out amazing this year. (The picture is from a free stock photo bin. We do not put tomatoes around the bird. I didn't take any pictures this year which I'm already regretting.)

Are you a fan of stuffing? What do you call it?


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