Thursday, November 05, 2009

Countdown to Thanksgiving: Old Fashioned Cornbread/Oyster Dressing

Thanksgiving isn't Turkey Day as far as I'm concerned. It's Dressing Day. The big bird is just an excuse to carb-load sage-laced breadcrumbs. So I'm always eager to test stuffing/dressing recipes.

This one would make my grandmother proud. I don't think I've had oyster dressing (Is that a Midwestern thing?) since she fixed it in the days we had the feast at her house in Tulsa. It add a twist new to me also...herb-infused half and half that makes the final product extra rich and delicious.

Don't worry if you're not an oyster fan. Just leave them out...the recipe is still fantabulous.

Oyster Dressing
Makes 12 servings.

Two 8½-ounce boxes corn muffin mix (such as Jiffy)
2 large eggs, for the muffin mix
2/3 cup milk, for the muffin mix
1 stick unsalted butter
One half onion, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
2 cups half-and-half
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 pints fresh raw oysters
Salt and pepper

Follow the package directions for making the cornbread with the eggs and milk. Let cool and break into large chunks.

In a large, deep skillet, melt 6 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion and celery and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the half-and-half, parsley, sage, thyme and basil and bring to a simmer. Add the oysters with their liquid and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the cornbread chunks and gently toss to coat.

Spoon the stuffing into a buttered casserole dish, dot with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes.

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