Sunday, November 15, 2015

Thanksgiving Stuff'n or Dressing - Whichever it is, it is good!

The house is prepped for company. The food for various favorite dishes has been bought and is ready to be prepared. The table will be set in glorious splendor. We're about to indulge in a tribute to the bounty that has been provided for us. It's Thanksgiving!

And part of all this glorious good stuff is the stuff of dreams - the stuffing that is in the bird. Stuffing! Dressing! Inside the bird. Outside the bird. With various things comprising its makeup from types of bread to chestnuts or oysters. Stuffing or Dressing is various things to various people.

Well, mostly around here, we call it stuffing because when we bake the turkey we usually "stuff" it into the bird-cavity. However, when we make it we have to prepare more than will fit inside the bird so some of this delectable dish is really "dressing."

I do something a bit different from most folks when I make our stuffing. I gave up years ago on baking my own cornbread, biscuits, and toasted bread to make the stuffing. I purchase several bags and varieties of bread stuffing - cornbread, sage, and mixed-bread. I combine these and then I make my difference.

To us stuffing calls for butter, onions, celery, and grits. Yep! You heard it right - grits.

I chop (smallish but not tiny) the onions and celery and then cook them a bit in the melted butter until slightly cooked. Then I add enough chicken broth (canned - salted and unsalted, but mostly low-sodium) for the 1 cup of grits that I add. (This is usually a 4 to 1 ration - 4 cups broth to 1 cup grits. I like Quaker grits.) I bring it to a slow boil and add the uncooked grits and simmer until the grits are done.

I have now a pot full of onions, celery, grits, and butter. This is then poured over the bread crumbs with additional chicken broth (canned or homemade). Since I'm using the packaged stuffing bread I usually don't need more sage. But I do kind of check to see if it needs a bit more spice. Since all of this is safe to do a taste test on, I can determine if it needs a bit of salt, pepper, and/or sage.

If I am roasting the turkey in the oven, I stuff the bird about 3/4 full leaving room for expansion as it cooks. The remainder is placed in an oiled large, flat baking dish and baked until brown on top. If the turkey is smoked on a grill/smoker, we do not stuff the bird so all the stuffing becomes dressing baked in a pan.

Get the picture. Whichever way you cook it, it is still mighty fine eating.

(NOTE: If you are making a small batch of stuffing, you won't need a full cup of grits. 1/4 cup or 1/2 cup according to how large a batch of stuffing you're preparing. I use several packages of bread/stuffing to this 1 cup of grits. The amount of butter is according to that which is needed to prepare the bread packages as is the liquid. Just factor in a bit more butter and broth. Use onion and celery according to your taste. Extra pepper is almost always needed.)

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