Yup, it's that time of year again, a time when many ponder what to call it or where the name comes from. Romans are credited with the first mentioning of stuffing foods, mainly meats with vegetables, herbs, nuts and a type of cereal known as spelt. The term dressing came about in Victorian England.
Now, in our family, this time of year we make dressing. It is a side dish. We do not stuff the bird. Period. If we do, maybe Cornish hens, then we call it stuffing, but never do we put out a casserole and call it stuffing. Why, it just ain't done. And to be honnest here, I suspect where you live or rather, where your mother was born, determines if you call it stuffing or dressing. You see, I think
north of the Mason-Dixon line folks are liking to call it stuffing even though as a casserole, it's not stuffed at all. Here in the south, if you (or your mother) are from these parts, dressing is the favored name. And another sure way I know the difference is in it's appearance. If the texture is tight, moist and compact - that's dressing. If the mixture is loose, falling from the spoon and more importantly, now here's the real test, if it is cooked on the stove, then that sho' ain't dressing - that's stuffing.
I have made many dressing recipes over the years and my favorite of course is my Grandmothers version found in our family cookbook. I have only posted one recipe here, a squash and andouille one last year which you can find under breads I believe. This one today uses a type of andouille sausage too along with toasted pecans and elements of Grandmother's recipe. Enjoy!
Sausage and Pecan Dressing
Dressing at it's best with flavors of the south
serves 6 to 8
6 cups crumbled cornbread (I like buttermilk cornbread)
1 1/2 cups torn day-old French bread, small pieces
1 small onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, diced
2 garlic toes, minced
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup toasted pecan pieces
4 cups chicken stock
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 tablespoons salt-free Creole seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup melted butter
3/4 cup diced andouille smoked sausage, small diced (I used Johnsonville's brand)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl combine the cornbread, French bread, onion, celery, garlic, green onion and pecans. Fold in about 2 cups of the chicken broth. Add seasonings and taste. Add more salt if needed. Whisk the eggs with about 1 cup of chicken stock and fold into the dressing mixture. Fold in the melted butter along with the sausage. (Because I used Johnsonville's sausage and cut in a small dice, I did not precook the sausage as I believe it would have dried out too much when cooked in the dressing.) Add enough of the remaining chicken stock to make a very moist dressing but not too liquified, nor stiff.
Spoon into a 3-quart casserole and bake for 45 minutes or until center is set and top is brown.