Every Thanksgiving, the great dressing vs. stuffing debate seems to emerge again. People all over social media have been debating the difference between the two, all month. My very simplistic (and unverified) answer is this: Both words describe a bread based side dish, traditionally served alongside poultry but "stuffing" is baked inside the bird and "dressing" is baked in a separate dish.
At the risk of offending the stuffing fanatics everywhere, I'll admit that I'm partial to dressing. My reasons have much more to do with logistics than they do personal preference.
1. Stuffed turkeys take longer to cook and honestly, who has extra time for cooking on Thanksgiving?
2. Since stuffing is exposed to uncooked poultry, I have to take extra measures to ensure that the stuffing is thoroughly cooked before serving it to guests.
3. And maybe the biggest drawback of all - stuffing tends to be soggy and I'm more of a crunchy dressing person. 😬
I credit my Ohio roots with my definition of a traditional Thanksgiving dressing: bread cubes, herbs, onion and thin slices of celery. I can't remember a Thanksgiving as a kid, where we didn't have this type of side dish. Then I moved to the south and my eyes were opened to all sorts of new kinds of dressings. Dressings with spicy peppers, oysters and cornbread!
I'm all for nostalgic - especially when it comes to Thanksgiving but, curiosity's gotten the best of me this year. The thought of a cornbread based dressing was just so intriguing that I had to try it. I'm not skipping the traditional dressing though. Never fear - this year, they'll be two options - a cornbread and a more traditional dressing. This will be a good test to see which one my guests prefer. (I'll update you on that after Thanksgiving.)
1 1/4 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoon fresh sage, minced
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Freshly chopped parsley, for garnish
This cornbread dressing is crazy good but it takes a LOT of pans. I felt like I was washing dishes for days. So my advice to you is this, find yourself a reliable dishwashing assistant before you make this yummy Thanksgiving side dish.
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