Monday, December 26, 2016

New Favorite Recipe: Turkey Dressing

This Christmas dinner we tried something new, and it worked out unbelievably wonderfully, so we would like to share this with you.

We very very rarely touch breads, but Christmas dinner is one time where we will splurge a little... with dressing. But the turkeys we made were smoked long and slow, so doing the stuffing inside the birds is next to impossible. The question then is how do you get that stuffed turkey taste from dressing made in the oven?

It is actually quite easy... fat! The realization came from thinking "what gives dressing cooked inside the bird that amazing flavor?". The main difference is, dressing inside the bird soaks up all the fat that renders out while cooking, fat from skin and suck. Based on that, I came up with the following recipe and it was nothing short of AMAZING.

Broth - make your own by boiling some giblets (hearts, gizzards, livers, etc) in a small amount of water with a few peppercorns, a quartered onion, and a pinch of salt. The amount is roughly 2 cups per box of bread crumbs, but check the dressing box for recommend proportions.

Fat - remove all the fat possible from inside the turkey. A heritage turkey properly raised will have about a handful of orange or deep yellow fat inside the body cavity and around the neck area. pull all that you can out and put in a small pot to render slow on the stovetop. If there is not enough rendered fat for the amount of dressing desired, add sticks of grass fed butter to it. Again, use the dressing box as a guide, but use about 50% more total fat then they suggest.

Veggies - my favorite is equal parts onion, carrot, celery. Chopped to quarter inch or so pieces

Garlic - Peel an entire head of garlic and mince it up with a knife

Stuffing mix - we use 1/3 wheat dressing, 2/3 corn dressing

Now your ready to build... First mix the chopped veggies and garlic to the dry dressing mix. Gently mix this together in a large bowl by slowly flipping.  Then add the liquid broth slowly as you continue flipping gently. Be gentle as to not break up the bread any more than necessary.  When it is all uniform and the moisture is pretty much all soaked in (about 10 to 15 minutes) then add the liquid  fat, preferably warm. Again, flip slowly to coat all evenly without breaking the bread apart.

Now just shovel this into a flat glass baking dish and cover with foil. Then into a hot oven at 350 degrees for about half an hour.  Check, it should be bubbly at the bottom. If so, remove the foil and continue baking another half hour or so, until the top is brown and a little crispy.

There you go! The best dressing ever, made in the oven, taste like it comes from a bird.

NOTE: do NOT try this with a storebought turkey. They wont have enough fat, and what they do have is not healthy anyway due to raising and feeding.  This will only work with a heritage turkey raised where it can get access to lots of bugs.

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