Classic sausage dressing becomes a luxe stuffing with the addition of meaty and briny oysters. Shucked oysters in their liquor are available in 8-ounce containers at many supermarkets and at fish markets. Each container holds approximately 12 oysters.
Slideshow:More Holiday Stuffings and DressingsPlus:Ultimate Thanksgiving Guide
Two 1-pound loaves of sourdough bread, crusts removed, bread cut into 1-inch dice (20 cups)
6 large celery ribs, peeled and thinly sliced crosswise
2 large sweet onions, diced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup dry white wine
2 dozen medium to large shucked oysters, halved, 1/2 cup liquor reserved
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped thyme
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped marjoram
2 1/2 to 3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter two 9-by-13-inch baking dishes. Spread the bread on 2 large rimmed baking sheets and bake for 20 minutes, stirring a few times, until crisp; let cool. Transfer to a very large mixing bowl. Meanwhile, spread the pine nuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 5 minutes, until golden brown. Increase the oven temperature to 400°.
In a large skillet, cook the sausage meat over moderate heat, breaking it up with a spoon, until no pink remains, about 10 minutes. Continue to cook the sausage, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes longer. With a slotted spoon, add the sausage to the bread in the bowl.
Add the 4 tablespoons of solid butter to the fat in the skillet and heat. Add the celery and onions, season lightly with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the onions start to soften, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the celery and onions are completely softened, about 20 minutes. Add the wine and simmer over high heat until reduced by three-fourths, about 4 minutes. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
Add the vegetable mixture and the pine nuts to the bread cubes and sausage and toss. Add the oysters and their liquor, the thyme and marjoram and enough stock so that the bread is very moist but not overly soggy; season the stuffing with salt and pepper. Transfer the stuffing to the prepared baking dishes. Brush the tops of the stuffing with the melted butter.
Bake the stuffing in the upper third of the oven for about 15 minutes, or until hot. Preheat the broiler. Broil the stuffing 6 inches from the heat for about 2 minutes, rotating the baking dishes as needed, until nicely browned on top. Serve right away.
The stuffing can be prepared through Step 4 up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated. Reheat and crisp the tops of the stuffing before serving.
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