A Southern Favorite: Oyster Dressing
Thanksgiving would not be the same had there been no Oyster Dressing; actually, Granny’s Oyster Dressing. She did not always make it with oysters, but on occasion she would surprise my family with this briny addition to the dish.
Seriously, I don’t think any dressing on earth compared to hers. I love the fact that during her later years, she would come to my home for Thanksgiving and watch me cook the dressing. She would taste it as I prepared it and correct my seasonings and make little changes here and there. This was a tremendous help. Not just everyone could get away with that, but throughout her life she let me get away with many many things so I listened and I am certainly thankful that I did.
I continue to this day to hear her telling me how to add a piece of white bread to give it the right consistency or to add more chicken broth. Isn’t it amazing what one little change to a recipe makes.
In the South, dressing is a must for Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Many people say that dressing and stuffing are the same thing, but not to me. Dressing is different than stuffing in that it seems a bit thicker (perfect with giblet gravy) and it does not have the “crunch” that stuffing seems to have. Stuffing also tends to taste sweeter than dressing. There are as many variations to dressings as there are to Bolognese in Italy, but the base of this dressing, whether you use oysters or not remains my family’s favorite.
Not only is this dish a favorite for the holidays, but for Sunday dinner special occasions as well. I like to keep left-over turkey in a freezer zip-top bag and mix it in the dressing mixture in place of the oysters- turkey dressing! It has a very nice texture and flavor. I love serving this with coleslaw with mustard and apples and fried wild turkey.
Oyster Dressing Ingredients:
6 cups cornbread, crumbled
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cup chopped onions
1 1/2 cup chopped celery
3 cups oysters, shucked and roughly chopped
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
4 pieces white bread, cubed
1 Tablespoon poultry or Creole seasoning
1 can mushroom soup
1 Tablespoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3. Melt butter in a skillet and sauté onions, celery. and oysters until vegetables are translucent and oysters are cooked through, about 8 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk eggs.
4. Add eggs, onions, celery, oysters, broth, white bread, poultry or Creole seasoning, mushroom soup, salt and pepper to the cornbread. Mix thoroughly and spoon into prepared casserole. Place in pre-heated oven for 35 – 40 minutes or until golden.