Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mom's Turkey Dressing

My mom passed away in November 1995 just before Thanksgiving. My brother, and my sister and I were faced 
with making Thanksgiving dinner without her. 
Pat and Zach Moran, Thanksgiving 2013
Thank goodness my brother Pat had asked mom for her Turkey dressing recipe before she died. We were able to recreate it from his memory and then capture it in writing to share with other generations. We miss you mom.

In 2013 Pat, Zach and I made this together and refined the recipe a little further.

Chestnuts are the key to this recipe. You may need to order them as some grocery stores do not carry them. Allow time for this.

1 pound bread crumbs, less if turkey is under 14#
2013 in Minocqua
8 celery stalks, finely diced (6 -8)
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 stick butter, 1/4 cup
giblets from the turkey
Buy an extra turkey back
Salt and pepper, to taste
Sage, to taste
1 pound fresh chestnuts

  1. I suggest preparing the chestnuts the night before. This is "putsy" work, get a helper.  We have always placed the chestnuts in a large pan, cover with water and then cook for about 15 minutes. The next time I make this, I plan to roast them in the oven.  Remove the hulls.  Look for some shells within the layers as well. You will likely need to chop the chestnuts to a small consistency.
  2. This is a good thing to also do the night before. Cook the giblets in a large sauce pan covered in water, about 1 gallon. Cook slowly until tender. This will take about 2 - 3 hours. The liquid will reduce to 2 - 3 cups. Save this liquid you will use this to moisten the stuffing. This is key!
  3. Put all the scraps from the celery and onion into the stauke above. Melt the butter and saute the onion and celery.
  4. Finely chop the giblets.
  5. Mix the bread crumbs with the giblets and slowly add the reserved liquid in a large pan. You are working to develop a certain consistency. Add salt, pepper and sage to taste. Save some of this liquid to baste the turkey.
  6. There is a little different thinking about whether the turkey should be stuffed with dressing or not. Mom always stuffed the turkey and often cooked some dressing separate. If you do stuff the turkey do not pack it inside too tightly. I like to put the remaining stuffing in muffin pans.  I put it in the oven with the sweet potato casserole after the turkey comes out.
  7. In 2013 we tried something a little different with the turkey.  I put a dry brine on the turkey 2 days before we cooks it.  After we stuffed the turkey we coated the outside melted butter then placed it in a 450 degree oven for 45 minutes.  Turned the heat down to 350 degrees after that and continued cooking until the internal temp reached 170 degrees.
  8. If cooking on the grill coat with peanut oil. Baste the turkey with the reserved liquid from the giblets.

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