Dressing is and always has been my favorite part of Thanksgiving Dinner. I love it the day of and straight out of the fridge over the next few days.
It turns out Ray has missed dressing for the last few years.
I always make a cornbread dressing that is gluten-free without modification, but we both have been wanting a classic yeast bread-based dressing.
My mission for this Thanksgiving was to find a way. Happily, it turned out much easier than I thought. I used my go-to dressing recipe and substituted a whole loaf (14oz) of Schär’s White Bread. Do not buy it through that link. It’s much cheaper in the actual grocery store, I just included it so you could see what the packaging looks like. I found it at a Walmart Neighborhood Market. If you’re looking for it, give your favorite grocer a call to check for it rather than driving all over town.
(Oh, and we have some pretty big news. Ray proposed on Sunday, but not because of the dressing. That’s just a coincidence. While I made it on Sunday, we didn’t eat that until last night.)
As Sunday’s experiment was just a quick test rather than company fare, I omitted the apples and dried cranberries of the original recipe. I’ve included the original recipe from years ago below. You can modify this dressing recipe all day long to fit your dinner’s flavor profile and try to keep the proportion of wet to dry ingredients the same.
You can absolutely use chicken stock, but if you have time, try roasting turkey necks to make a really rich stock.
Using GF bread will require a little more stock. You don’t want the cubes disintegrating, but they need to be evenly moist. Add a conservative amount, stir, check, and repeat until you’re happy with it.
Have you made your Thanksgiving shopping list yet?
Are you almost ready for the big day?
- 5 cups of cubed bread
- 1 onion, diced (approximately one cup if you diced everything ahead of time)
- 2 – 3 celery ribs, chopped (including the leaves)
- 4 – 6 fresh sage leaves, chopped (dried works well, too)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary (fresh works better, use slightly more)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 Granny Smith or other tart apple, cored, peeled, and chopped
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds – toasted
- 1 - 2 cups turkey stock (if using homemade, you’ll need 1 tsp salt per cup)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (divided) + extra to grease the baking dish / roasting pan
- Spread the cubed bread on a large baking sheet and toast at 350. This takes in the neighborhood of 5 – 7 minutes. Watch it carefully the last few minutes. Dump the toasted cubes into a large bowl and set aside.
- Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish with the reserved butter. You may not use all of it, toss it in the pan with the rest of the butter if you wish or save it for another recipe.
If you haven’t already, toast the almond slivers, either on a baking sheet in the 350F oven for just a few minutes 3 – 5 or in a dry skillet. Watch them carefully, it is very easy to cross from toasted to burnt. Err on the side of caution.
- In a large skillet heat 4 TBSPs of butter over medium heat. Just when it starts to foam, add the onions and celery, and turn the heat to low.
- Stir frequently, cook just until the onions are soft, then add the apple, sage, rosemary, and thyme. Cook until the spices begin to smell really good.
- Turn off the heat, and add the cranberries, almonds, and butter. Stir until everything is coated. Pour the contents of the skillet into large bowl with the toasted bread cubes. (If you’re using the sausage add it now, too). Mix everything thoroughly. The butter has picked up a lot of flavor from the herbs and this must be well mixed.
- If you are using homemade stock to which no salt has been added, stir a tsp of salt into the stock per cup).
- Pour 2/3 of the stock over the bowl and mix again. Spread the mixture into the baking dish, drizzle with the remaining turkey stock, and cover with foil.
If you are making this ahead of time, place this in the refrigerator (you can make this up to 24 hours ahead). Allow it to come close to room temperature before baking.
- If it’s going directly into the oven bake for 40 minutes, then remove the foil and broil or continue baking until lightly browned.