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Turkey Dressing*

There is no right or wrong to this recipe.  The key is to TASTE it as you go along:

  • Fry 1 pound pork sausage until browned.  Drain on paper towels and allow to cool. When cool, process in food processor until fine.
  • In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter (butter lovers can double this amount if they wish)
  • Slice and dice 2 or three large yellow onions.  Add to melted butter and fry over medium heat for a few minutes
  • Slice 3 or 4 stalks celery.  Add to onion/butter mixture.  Continue to saute several more minutes until onions are transparent and celery softens a bit.
  • Add a teaspoon or two of salt
  • Add about a teaspoon of sage
  • Add about a half teaspoon of poultry seasoning
  • Add fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • Add about 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Stir well. Taste.  Add seasoning as needed
  • Put this mixture in a LARGE bowl. 
  • Add sausage mixture.
  • Add one or two 6 oz. jars of sliced mushrooms (you can use fresh if desired....just add with the celery)
  • Stir the mixture and check for seasoning.  It should be a little on the "not salty" side, as the chicken broth may add a lot of salt, too.
  • Add about a pound of stale bread crumbs (I prefer to make a loaf of bread in my bread maker the previous day, cut it into small cubes, let it dry overnight, and use this.  If you buy seasoned bread crumbs, you will have to adjust the seasoning. If you buy unseasoned bread crumbs, you will miss the fun of using your bread maker.  But, to each their own....)
  • Gently mix the mixture in a large (large, large, large) bowl.  Luckily, I have a humongous bowl that my sister, Mary, gave me years ago.  If it ever breaks, I'll invest in a 55-gallon drum!)
  • The mixture will be quite dry yet. 
  • If desired, you can add other accoutrements, but be careful to not add too many.  For example, maybe leave out the mushrooms and add one or more of the following:
    • dried cranberries
    • raisins
    • pecans
    • hazelnuts
    • walnuts
    • shredded carrots
    • apples
    • mushrooms (ok, you can add them back in if you wish)
    • be imaginative.....
  • When mixed, it's time to add some liquid:
  • beat one or two eggs and add. Mix well
  • If desired, you can add a cup of milk or half and half
  • Add about a quart of chicken broth.  I prefer to use chicken base to make my own (since I rarely have the real thing).  Be careful of canned chicken broth--it can be very salty.
  • Add liquid until the mixture becomes rather gooey.
  • Turn into a greased 3 or 4 quart baking pan. 
  • Cover or cover loosely with foil, and bake until hot. 
  • You can bake this in any temperature oven,  since all the ingredients except the egg are already cooked, all you need to do is heat it and get it to set a bit. I'd recommed about 350 degrees for 45 minutes should be just about right.  If you want a bit of the crust, cook it uncovered the last 15 or 20 minutes.

That's it.  Pretty simple, huh?  All it takes is some time and a bit of imagination.  Serve as an accompaniment to Turkey or Chicken, or as a substitute for mashed potatoes....or.... hell.... it even makes a great meal by itself (though a wee bit of gravy over the top sure is nice, too).  This recipe does not last long in our house.  Hope you enjoy!

*Based on Mom Konieczny's Turkey Dressing: she deserves the credit, she taught me how to cook, and to love to cook!

 

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