November 17, 2010

Tip, Tidbits & Tricks: Dressing

Now, if you aren’t from the south you might be wondering what in the world is dressing? You might call it stuffing. But in the south we don’t stuff our turkeys. So we just call it dressing and serve it on the side.

Since that’s straightened out, let’s get into our first foray into Thanksgiving side dishes and one of my favorites.

- Don’t use fresh bread for your stuffing. You want stale bread. Don’t have any? Dry out bread cubes in a low oven (around 275) for 15 minutes. Do the same if you are making a cornbread-based dressing.

- If your recipe calls for rice, make sure to cook the rice first. Sautee any onions, mushrooms, or garlic before adding it to the dressing mix.

- Prepare dressing close to when you are cooking it. It’s not the best “make-ahead” side.

- If your dressing is too dry, add a little chicken broth. Too wet? Cook uncovered a bit longer to help dry out the dressing.

- The oldest recipe on record for dressing/stuffing is from Apicius, who lived in Rome in around the 2nd century BCE. His cookbook, Apicius de re Coquinaria, has a recipe for stuffed chicken, hare, pig, and dormouse.

- The USDA recommends cooking the turkey and dressing separately (meaning use these recipes and tips in this post for dressing and not stuffing). If it’s tradition and you just can’t have Thanksgiving without stuffing, the make sure that the stuffing reaches an internal temperature of 165 at the center.

- If stuffing the turkey: use warm/hot stuffing, stuff loosely, make sure the stuffing is quite moist, and immediately put the turkey in a hot oven after stuffing.


- Italian Chard Stuffing (what I’ll be serving as dressing, of course)

- Sausage, Apple and Cranberry Stuffing

- Cornbread Stuffing With Sweet Potato and Squash

- Wild Rice and Goat Cheese Dressing

What about you? Planning on stuffing your turkey, or serving the tasty dish as a side?


  1. I also saw that Ina puts apple cider in her dressing to help keep it moist. Of course, she also put apples in it, so that kinda made sense.