Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Grandma Shirley's Bread Dressing

I started my dressing two nights before Thanksgiving. First, I cut up a loaf of stuffing bread. I’ve never used stuffing bread before, I usually just use a loaf of stale white bread. However, I saw stuffing bread on the shelf at the grocery and thought, “why not?” I don’t think it made any difference in the taste…but then again, it’s been a whole year since I tasted this recipe.

Okay, so I cut up the bread and put it in a bowl to get stale. I stirred it a couple of times over the next 36 hours, just to make sure that all of the bread was getting a little air exposure. You can also put the bread on a baking sheet in the oven and achieve the same stale or toasted effect in a more timely manner. In honor of my grandma, I do it exactly the way she taught me, which means that bread sits on my counter for a day or two.

When the time comes to assemble the casserole, chop 2 cups each of celery and two cups of onion.

Then melt a stick of butter in a skillet,

And sauté those veggies.

Now dump a bag of stuffing mix into a large bowl.

Top that with the stale bread, sautéed veggies, and herbs and spices. I used parsley, nutmeg and sage.

Melt another half a stick of butter. Beat in a few eggs and dump that over the dressing.

Now start pouring in the chicken broth. I think I used about 1 and ½ large boxes of broth. Keep stirring as you add, so that you can gauge the consistency of the mixture. You want everything very moist, but you don’t want standing pools of broth.

Now I add milk. I don’t know why. That’s just what my grandma does. Since I like her dressing and want mine to taste similar, I just do what I’ve watched her do over the last 30 or so years. So...milk it is. I just dump in a little so that I’ve met grandma’s milk requirement. Then I stir it all up really well. Last of all, even though I know that there are three raw eggs in it, I taste it to make sure that it is adequately seasoned. Hey, the integrity of my stuffing trumps possible danger of contracting salmonella at this point.

Next, I spread it into a couple of casserole dishes and bake at 350 until it’s done. That’s what the recipe says. Until done. I think mine took an hour or so.

Unfortunately, I failed to photograph the finished product. It was nice and golden brown on the top and tasted delicious, just like my grandma's.

Grandma Shirley’s Bread Dressing
Plain white bread, dried and cut into 1 in. cubes
1 bag of seasoned stuffing mix
2 cups of onion and 2 cups of celery sautéed in 1 stick of butter
1 teaspoon of sage – you could go more on this. We’re just not big on sage here.
3 eggs, slightly beaten
½ stick of melted butter
Chicken broth

Combine all of the ingredients and bake at 350 degrees until done!

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