The difference between dressing and stuffing is a fiercely debated one in many food circles. Some prefer dressing because of the crunchier exterior and the lowered chances of food poisoning. Others prefer stuffing because it has the more moist texture and it’s packed with that great turkey flavor. What if we could get the best of both worlds, though? What if we could get the crunchy, browned exterior of dressing with all the flavor of stuffing without having to worry about food poisoning? Best of all, freeing up the inside of the turkey means you can cook the turkey for a shorter amount of time to end up with juicier, more tender meat!
It turns out there are a few tricks that can be combined to get the dressing of your dreams. First of all, use sandwich bread lightly toasted in the oven to get the perfect consistency. To get that turkey flavor, brown turkey wings on the stovetop, then place the seared wings on top of the uncooked dressing. The fat and flavor from the wings will deep down and you’ll get perfectly moist dressing every time. Finally, to make sure the heat is as even as possible, place the baking dish on a baking sheet so you don’t end up with a burnt bottom. Keep reading below for this fantastic Thanksgiving dressing recipe!
Photo courtesy Flickr user Maggie Hoffman
Thanksgiving Dressing Recipe
Serves: 10 to 12
- 2lbs white sandwich bread cut into 1 1/2″ cubes
- 3lbs turkey wings, divided at the joints
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the baking dish
- 1 large onion, chopped fine
- 3 celery ribs, chopped fine
- 3/4lb sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
- 2 teaspoons table salt
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh sage leaves
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 3 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves
- Preheat the oven to 250F. Spread the bread cubes in an even layer on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Bake until the edges have dried but the centers are slightly moist ( about 45 to 60 minutes), stirring several times during baking. Transfer to a large bowl and increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees.
- Use the tip of a paring knife and poke 10 to 15 holes in each wing segment. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until it begins to shimmer. add the sings in a single layer and cook until golden brown (4 to 6 minutes). Flip the wings and continue to cook until golden brown (another 4 to 6 minutes). Transfer the wings to a bowl and set aside.
- Add the sweet Italian sausage to the skillet, and cook, stirring the sausage occasionally until it’s just browned. Transfer the sausage to a separate bowl and set aside.
- Heat butter in the skillet over medium heat. When the foam subsides, add the onion, celery, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, but not browned (7 to 9 minutes).Add the thyme, sage, garlic, and pepper. Cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add 1 cup broth and bring to a simmer, using a wooden spoon to scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the vegetable mixture to the bowl with the dried bread. Add the sausage, and toss to combine.
- Grease a 13″x9″ baking dish with butter. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, the remaining 1 1/2 cups broth, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and any accumulated juices from the wings until combined. Add the egg/broth mixture and parsley to the bread mixture and gently toss to combine. Transfer to a greased baking dish. Arrange the wings on top of the dressing, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and place the baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet.
- Bake until the thickest part of the wings registers 175F (60 to 75 minutes). Remove the foil and transfer the wings to a dinner plate and reserve for another use. Using a fork, gently fluff the stuffing, and let rest 5 minutes before serving.