The Great Thanksgiving Debate: Dressing vs. Stuffing

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What do you call America’s most beloved Thanksgiving side dish: is it dressing or stuffing? Much like the whole “soda” versus “pop” versus “coke” debate, people are passionate about this Thanksgiving dish, what to call it and how to fix it. Of course, they are generally divided North versus South.

In the North, many people say stuffing has to be cooked inside (or stuffed) in the turkey, but others maintain that it’s still stuffing whether you cook it in the turkey or not. The main difference between how you make dressing versus stuffing comes down to whether you use cornbread or a loaf of bread as the main ingredient. People who love stuffing think that cornbread dressing is much drier in comparison.

But in the South, you’ll be hard pressed to find a Southerner who will agree. People who love cornbread dressing say it’s much sweeter and yummier than stuffing. This side dish is cooked in a separate pan, never, ever, in the turkey itself.

Of course, it stands to mention that there are other regional variants. Some recipes include sausage, cranberries, mushrooms, walnuts, or even oysters.

Regardless of whether you make dressing or stuffing, one thing is for sure: it’s a labor of love. Always made from scratch and usually the recipe dates back farther than anyone can remember. In fact, many times the recipe has never been written down, and even if it has – it calls for milk and butter with no specific measurements. How much milk or butter? That’s the mystery. Everyone who makes dressing or stuffing knows just how much, and everyone agrees, the more butter you add, the better it will taste.

Perhaps the best way to end this debate is to make both dressing and stuffing and decide for yourself.

Mama’s Cornbread Dressing Recipe

Ingredients:

About 2 cups chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

2 cups butter

6 boxes Jiffy Mix cornbread

Milk – for making cornbread

10 eggs (6 for the cornbread and 4 to boil separately)

4 slices of white bread

4 slices of wheat bread

8 cans chicken broth

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. thyme

½ tsp. sage

¼ tsp. pepper

1/8 chopped parsley

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sauté onions and celery.

Prepare Jiffy Mix cornbread as directed on box. Crumble cornbread into large pan and add cooked celery and onions.

Tear up four slices of white bread and four slices of wheat bread and add to mixture. Add 2 cups of butter, salt, thyme, sage, pepper, and parsley.

Boil 4 eggs. Chop eggs and add to mixture.

Add 8 cans of chicken broth to make it soupy. If it still isn’t soupy add more chicken broth.

Bake in large, shallow pan.

Cook at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes to an hour (until dressing is cooked through and not soupy in the middle).

Ohio Celery Stuffing (should work for a 10 lb. turkey)

Ingredients:

1 or 2 raw eggs

Minimum 4 cups finely diced celery

2 cups meat broth

2 cups finely diced onion

½ cup butter

About 4 quarts day old breadcrumbs

Approximately 5 tsp. of poultry seasoning

1 Tbsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

At least 1 tsp. sage (or to your taste)

Canned or fresh Mushrooms (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place celery in pan and cover with broth. Bring to simmer. Cover with lid and simmer for 20 minutes.

Sauté onion and mushrooms in butter over low heat (without browning).

Mix breadcrumbs and seasonings. Add 1 or 2 raw eggs and then mix all remaining ingredients together.

Stuff the turkey cavity with stuffing.

Place the turkey into a roasting pan on the middle rack of the oven and roast for 45 minutes.

Then reduce to 350 degrees and cook for 60 to 75 minutes.

Make sure the internal temperature of the turkey is 170 degrees and the temperature of the stuffing is a minimum of 165 degrees.

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