We've been hosting Thanksgiving dinner for almost 40 years, and as I look back, I've noticed how our menu has changed and evolved. At first there was only turkey, but as the group grew bigger, we added a ham. Mom always brought scalloped oysters, but then as the guest list changed, this was omitted. Fruit salad was added as the grandkids came. Stuffing back then was placed in the bird. Now, since we fry the bird, the dressing is usually a simple bread, mushroom, and celery one so that the little ones can enjoy. But even back in the day, I always made an extra batch of stuffing with oysters and still do. This one will be on the table this year... —inpatskitchen
Test Kitchen Notes
Although I grew up with and love oyster dressing, whether made as stuffing in the bird or dressing separately, the rest of the extended family does not share my fondness for it. I was intrigued by this version with chopped oysters, oyster liquor, and fresh spinach. Fragrant with fresh sage and thyme and rich with diced mushrooms (I used cremini and shiitake), this dressing was fluffy, light, and moist. Non-oyster eaters in the family were amazed by how much they liked it. Hooray! A hit and new addition to our Thanksgiving feast! —love2cook
one 9- x 13-inch dish of dressing
stale 1-inch bread cubes (I used a French baguette)
butter, divided (4 tablespoons and 3 tablespoons) plus more for buttering your baking dish
finely diced onion
finely diced celery
brown or white mushrooms, rather finely diced
fresh sage leaves, minced
fresh thyme leaves
freshly ground black pepper
chopped fresh parsley
of your favorite shucked oysters, chopped (save the liquor)
In a large sauté pan, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter and add the onion, celery, mushrooms, sage, thyme, salt, and pepper. Sauté until the onions and celery soften.
Place the bread cubes in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sautéed vegetables and stir in the chopped parsley.
Crack the egg into a 2-cup measuring cup and whisk in the reserved oyster liquor. Add enough chicken broth to reach 1 3/4 cups total liquid. Pour this over the bread mixture and then stir in the chopped oysters and spinach, making sure to thoroughly incorporate all the ingredients.
Preheat your oven to 325° F and then butter a 9- x 13-inch baking dish well. Spread the dressing into the dish and cover tightly with foil. Once your oven has come up to temp, place the dressing in the oven for 30 minutes.
After the 30 minutes, raise the oven temp to 375° F and remove the dressing from the oven. Uncover and dot the casserole with 3 tablespoons of butter. Return the dressing to the oven, uncovered, and bake for about 20 minutes more to crisp the top a bit.
I think I get my love for food and cooking from my mom, who was an amazing cook. She would start baking and freezing a month before Christmas in order to host our huge open house on Christmas afternoon. I watched and I learned...to this day I try not to procrastinate when it comes to entertaining.
My cooking style is pretty much all over the place, although I'm definitely partial to Greek and Italian cuisine. Oh yes, throw a little Cajun in there too!