Jerri’s Turkey Dressing

As I may have mentioned before, we always have roast turkey for our Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. The day before the big day, Jerri bakes the pumpkin pie, makes the cranberry sauce and prepares the ingredients for the turkey dressing. Sometimes I help out by making the pie crust or chopping things for the dressing.

When I asked for her dressing recipe, she rolled her eyes in exasperation and told me that she really did not have one. So I offered to watch and note what she does. This is not a very good idea, as I have trouble resisting the urge to make suggestions, but she agreed on the condition that I keep my mouth shut.

The quantities listed below can be modified to suit your taste, but my advice is that you follow her recipe the first time you make the dressing and adjust proportions when you make it again. Commercial dressing mixes are certainly edible, but the one you make for your table will end up tasting better, though you may need to make a couple of batches until you balance everything to your taste.

INGREDIENTS:

20 slices bread
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped celery
3 T butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Dash of allspice
Dash of cloves
2 tsp. rubbed sage
1 can chicken broth
1 bouillon cube dissolved in 1 cup water

PROCEDURE:

Dry the bread slices in a warm oven for an hour or two, then cut the bread into half inch cubes. Dissolve the bouillon cube in a cup of hot water. Set the bouillon aside to cool.

Clean and chop the onion and celery into an eighth to quarter inch dice. Melt the butter in a skillet and cook the onion and celery over low heat until they are soft but not browned. If you are preparing the ingredients a day in advance, refrigerate the onions and celery and warm them before you add them to the bread cubes.

In a large mixing bowl, pour the bouillon and a cup of broth on the bread cubes. Sprinkle on the salt and spices. Toss with your hands and a cooking spoon. Add extra broth or water until the bread is moistened but not mushy. If you are going to stuff the turkey, you should have rubbed some salt inside the cavity. Fill the cavity with dressing and the remainder in an ungreased baking dish or put all the dressing into the dish if you prefer not to stuff the bird.

About 45 minutes before the turkey is done, put the baking dish with the dressing in the oven. Cook until it has browned on top and is firm.

NOTE: Bread slices differ in size. Twenty slices of a standard loaf of commercial white cut into half inch cubes produce about twelve cups, but you may want to use a different variety of bread. Just make sure that you have about twelve cups of cubes when you add the spices and liquids.

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About Chuck Rang

Born in Ashland, Wisconsin, grew up near Hayward, lives in New Richmond, messing around in kitchens more than 60 years.
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