Cook's Country (November 2013)
Do you serve "dressing" or "stuffing" at your Thanksgiving table?
If you're not sure of the difference, here's the deal: Stuffing is cooked inside a bird, while dressing is cooked outside. That's it.
The two of us grew up solidly among "dressing" folk. It's not that we're opposed to cooking stuffing inside a bird (we have tried it), but it just seems fraught with potential problems for the Thanksgiving table. We have enough trouble getting our turkey up to temperature -- we don't need the added concern of whether the stuffing is up to temperature as well.
The dressings we each grew up on, made by our grannies, were dense, moist and cakey (like the one we wrote about in this post). There were no special bells and whistles. They did not have "crispy" bits -- instead, they were just uniformly wet.
But we were intrigued by the idea of a crispy stuffing. And Cook's Country's new method for an extra-crispy one was all the excuse we needed to give it a whirl.
And it works. The dressing is indeed crisp, both on top and bottom. If you like a crispy dressing, this one's for you.
As for the taste, we were a little underwhelmed. We made the basic version of this dressing (broth, celery onion, and herbs). We enjoyed the finished product, but we would have liked it better with more flavors, something a little more "wow." We'd actually love to try Cook's Country's suggested alternate take on this recipe, Extra-Crispy Skillet Stuffing with Sausage and Apples (that recipe is free on their website).
That slight twist might give this stuffing the boost it needs, an extra hit of flavor to match its great crispy texture.
Are you a stuffing or a dressing person? Do you like yours crispy or moist? Let us know in the comments!
INGREDIENTS1 1/2 pounds baguette, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (18 cups)
3 3/4 cups chicken broth
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 onions, chopped fine
3 celery ribs, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh sage
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 teaspoon pepper
INSTRUCTIONS1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Arrange bread evenly on rimmed baking sheet and bake until light golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes, stirring halfway through. Let bread cool completely.
2. Whisk broth and eggs together in large bowl. Stir bread into broth mixture until evenly coated. Set aside, stirring occasionally, to saturate bread.
3. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onions, celery, and salt and cook until browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in thyme, sage, garlic and pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir onion mixture into bread mixture.
4. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in now-empty skillet over low heat. Add stuffing to skillet, pressing down firmly into even layer with spatula (skillet will be very full). Cook until bottom of stuffing is browned around edges when lifted with spatula, 7 to 10 minutes.
5. Melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter in microwave and brush evenly over top of stuffing. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until center of stuffing is hot and top is golden brown, about 20 minutes, rotating skillet halfway through baking. Let cool for 10 minutes. Serve.