hether a stuffing is a dressing, or vice versa, is as much about semantics as whether cooked inside or outside the bird. One thing is certain; both are tasty, fragrant, comforting and satisfying ... and required for the holidays. Read on for stuffing and dressing tips, ideas and recipes.
Expand on Basic Stuffing
While recipes for many holiday dressings tend to build on bread, plenty call for grains like rice or wild rice, or even cooked chestnuts as a primary foundation. Our Chestnut, Walnut and Fennel Sauté recipe is a perfect example.
A dressing also presents you with an opportunity to add a few choice ingredients that can elevate the whole meal. Take advantage of the bounty of autumn harvests, and include fresh ingredients such as crisp apples and pears, wild chanterelle and black trumpet mushrooms, or truffles like the White Alba and Winter Black which are available in fall and winter.
For a full-on gourmet departure, fill your bird with a simple loose dressing of just a few choice yet intense ingredients; for example Wild Boar Sausage and minced bits of turkey liver sautéed with prunes plumped in black tea, and golden raisins darkened in port - you will, of course, throw the port in too.
Recipes with Stuffing or Dressing
- Our Wild Boar Sausage and Apple Stuffing recipe is a classic and a favorite at Thanksgiving.
- Enjoy the sweet, buttery flavor and savory bits in this Brioche Stuffing with Duck Sausage and Pears recipe, perfect for stuffing a whole bird, or inside a turkey breast roulade.
- Try preparing your turkey with a 4-sided roasting technique and this heavenly Bourbon and Pecan Stuffing recipe.
- This Roast Goose with Spiced Pears recipe has stuffing that is rolled into balls and roasted after the goose gets cooked.
- Feeling fancy? Alsatian-Style Roast Goose is loosely packed with pork, veal, bread, chestnuts and foie gras. It’s superb for a holiday meal.
- For a true delicacy, consider a boned bird or turkey breast filled with a duxelles of fresh wild mushrooms as in this Turkey Breast with Mushroom Stuffing recipe.
Not Stuffing the Bird?
If you decide to forgo stuffing altogether, and brave the ensuing riot, or cook your dressing outside of the bird in a baking dish, you can still make good use of the cavity. There is a method of stuffing intended only to add flavor to the meat. Simply place rough chopped onions and carrots lightly sautéed with a sprig of fresh tarragon, or tart apples with the skins pierced, inside the cavity. You then remove and discard these dressings after cooking.
One of Ariane’s favorite things to do when not cooking the stuffing inside the bird is to instead put a few pieces of garlic confit in the cavity. To make garlic confit, melt enough rendered duck fat in a saucepan to generously cover your peeled cloves of garlic, and simmer gently over medium heat until the garlic becomes soft. You’ll be delighted with how delicious these little babies are, without that sharp garlicky edge. Make a big batch and keep them in the refrigerator to use for everything from spreading on bread to flavoring your mashed potatoes.