I called my mom on Skype last night to interview her about this recipe (beaming in all the way from Paris!). I was corrected within two seconds that no! It was not stuffing, but dressing! Pourquoi mommy dearest? Well! Because it is not cooked in the bird.
So there you have it folks:
Stuffing = Cooked in the Turkey!
Not to be confused with Dressing which is… you guessed it… not cooked in the bird!
The recipe has been passed down through three generations. My grandmother would actually make two 13×9 casserole dishes of stuffing. One for Thanksgiving, the other…. frozen for Christmas. ick! Not sure how I feel about that. Or was it a time-saving technique? hm.
My mom’s addition to the recipe: actual measurements! haha!
It’s actually unique in that it combines two
stuffing dressing traditions in the US. Dressing and Stuffing are based in bread. The North typically works with a white bread that has been dried out. The South.. the most southern thing there is- Cornbread! nom! My family’s recipe combines the two: half cornbread/half biscuits. hm but I guess biscuits are rather Southern as well. :-D So perhaps a bit more Southern than Northern.
I called my mom about three weeks ago for the recipe, right before they were planning on flying to London. I wanted to make it for our Parisian Thanksgiving celebration that weekend. What I received was a recipe that was three pages long. In typical Molly-style, I started it the night before the get together at about 8pm. At about midnight, three glasses of wine in, the dressing was done and had a corner missing, strategically not pictured in the photo below. ;-)
Top Tips from the Madre:
– Make the biscuits and cornbread the day before if possible or dry out the cornbread in the oven for about 30 minutes at 200 degrees after it has cooled.
– Don’t overcook the onions and celery! Mushy.. onions… stuffing..
– The recipe is made with a dryer cornbread. Most cornbread is sweet and contains quite a bit of liquid which doesn’t lend itself to dressing.
– Toasting the sage ups the flavor. To do this pick the leaves off fresh branches of sage. Lay on a parchment lined baking sheet in one layer. Toast in the oven for 20-40 minutes at 200 degrees until leaves are completely dried out.
– Adding dried cranberries is a dynamite idea.
– We usually half the recipe! The full recipe makes enough servings for 12 people.
Tips for Making Dressing/Stuffing in France:
– Sage is hard to find- dried or fresh! Ask at the market. You might just find some hidden. :-) I actually did the whole recipe just using the sage sausage and it turned out just fine!
– Marks & Spencer’s has sage sausage which is perfect for this recipe.
– Cornmeal is also difficult to find. You can substitute with polenta- it’s just a bit grainier. Here’s a Polenta Cornbread Recipe.
– For buttermilk, use lait fermente found at the supermarket or add some lemon juice to regular milk and let it sit for 5 minutes before using.
– Use Type 55 flour. If using other types, add just a bit more to make up for the difference in weight.
The Wilkinson Family Dressing Recipe:
3 1/2 cups cornbread, dried out and broken into medium sized pieces (read notes above)
6 cups of biscuits, cooked then broken into medium sized pieces
4-8 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 cups celery, finely chopped
1 1/2 – 2 cups yellow onion, chopped
1/2 bunch of parsley, chopped
3/4 lb. sausage, sage flavored if available, removed from casings
3 eggs beaten
About 4 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon dried sage
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
Make the cornbread, one 8×8 batch (see below for recipe). Make double the biscuit recipe. Allow the cornbread to dry out overnight or see note above about drying it in the oven. Break the cornbread and biscuits into medium sized pieces and measure the appropriate amount into a large bowl.
Saute the sausage breaking it into pieces. Drain on paper towels and set aside. (Try not to eat too much haha!)
In a separate skillet, melt about 5 tablespoons of butter and saute the onions, celery, salt, and pepper about 10-15 minutes until tender and translucent but not brown. Turn off the heat and stir in the dried sage. Let cool.
Add the sausage and onions/celery to the bowl containing the biscuits and cornbread. Add parsley and toss together gently.
Then add the beaten eggs, again tossing gently. Then the chicken broth starting with 3 cups and 3 tablespoons of melted butter. Stir together adding more chicken broth if necessary. The dressing should be moist but not wet and runny (very important).
Spoon into a large (13×9”) lightly greased pan. Cover with foil and bake at 325 for 40 minutes. Increase the heat to 425 and remove foil cooking another 5-10 minutes or until the top is lightly browned. Serve with gravy.
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup well shaken buttermilk
2 large eggs
1/2 stick (4 tbl) butter, melted and cooled
1/2 tsp finely chopped sage
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and butter an 8×8 pan.
Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients.
Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir together. Pour into the prepared dish and bake until golden, about 25 minutes.
For the stuffing, make the night before, or once cool, break into pieces and dry out in the oven at 200 degrees for about 30 minutes.
Makes about 7 cups of coarsely crumbled cornbread.
Bird-Head Buttermilk Biscuits
Recipe from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook.
Makes about 16 2-inch biscuits (make 2 batches if you are making the full recipe of dressing)
2 1/4 cups cake flour or 2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons shortening (Crisco), cut into pieces
3/4 cup whole or lowfat buttermilk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, salt). Cut in the butter and shortening using your hands or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few pea sized pieces.
Stir in the buttermilk until the dough just comes together. Turn out onto a floured surface and pat or roll into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Now we’re going to fold it into thirds to create those delicious layers.
Fold the rightmost third into the center and then the leftmost third over top like a wallet. Turn the dough a quarter turn and pat it out into a rectangle like you did before. Repeat these folds one more time then pat out once again.
Use a 2 inch biscuit cutter, or a knife to cut biscuits. Place about 1 1/2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet and bake about 15-20 minutes until the top is golden brown.
Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy this slice of heaven with lots of gravy. :-)
You wouldn’t imagine the craziness that happens in the expat community in France come Thanksgiving. The big questions: Where to find pumpkin puree and a Turkey!?
Turkey aka dinde is actually pretty popular in France, but not the whole bird. I read a funny article the other day about a family that had ordered a turkey from their local farmer and instead of a turkey they got a note apologizing that the turkey population hadn’t faired that well this fall and he hoped they would be ok with a pheasant. Another story talked about a butcher that meticulously sewed on pieces of skin to the turkeys he had because they had come to him without all of their skin in tact. But that’s just gross. shudder
Let’s just say if you’re looking for a whole turkey- it’s difficult to find at a reasonable price. Then there’s the question of cooking it. Most people here have mini ovens that look a lot like toaster ovens. They’re great for small casseroles, a couple trays of cookies (more like several trays at 5 cookies a sheet), or even a quick slice of toast if you don’t have a toaster, but turkeys, well, I’m not really sure how that would fit.
How to solve both of these truly important questions! Well- turkey breast and legs of course instead of a whole turkey & bribe a friend from the US to bring over canned Libby’s pumpkin puree (Thanks Jen!)! et voila! Problem solved!
The usual bunch got together minus two awesome peeps, Tina and Vincent, but plus another awesome person- Ian of the Baking Chin. We had a pretty early Thanksgiving (Nov. 10), because one of us was going to the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade on Thanksgiving… JEALOUS!!!!
Un petit apéro or two.. to start. :-) Jess, you know the way to my heart! Poinsettias made with some bubbly, Cointreau, and cranberry juice.
While we made a pumpkin pie- using the recipe off the can of course. Seriously the only way to go. Ian made the pie crust from scratch and… by memory. Me = impressed.
Then there was the heat up shuffle before we all sat down to eat! Four things in the oven at once, gravy on the stove, mashed potatoes in the microwave!
Our amazing menu included:
Pain de Compagne & All American Dinner Rolls
Turkey Breasts wrapped in Bacon & Turkey Legs
Roasted Parsnips and Carrots with a Honey/Dijon Sauce
Now I’ve never had English stuffing before and it was delicious!! It’s so different from the stuffing I’m used to in the States. A lot more like meatloaf made with bread crumbs, sage, English sausages and several other things. Baked in the oven and then sliced.
I made my family’s stuffing passed down from my grandmother. It’s unique in that it uses both cornbread and biscuits, lots of sage, sausage, celery/onions/garlic, and eggs to bind. A lot more crumbly than an English stuffing and oh my goodness, heaven. I can’t believe I actually used to avoid this at Thanksgiving in the past!! I made both the cornbread (with polenta because corn meal is difficult to find) and buttermilk biscuits from scratch after an intense day of shopping with Jenni and Tina. haha!! Then combined it all into the awesomeness that is stuffing.
Jess made the turkey, gravy, and green bean casserole- from scratch. No canned condensed soup here!! Here’s the recipe she used from Martha Stewart. It was a-mazing!!! Just a few changes to the recipe: zucchini instead of mushrooms, a little bit of gouda, and some crispy store-bought onions for the top. yum!
I refused to think about the 8K I was running the next day. Full plate! Pile it up! nom!
Holy moly everything was amazing. I think we all had seconds and thirds. Then after a walk around the neighborhood we came back for pie! and a discussion about whipped cream in a can (creme chantilly) or as it was written on the can “creme gourmande”! And oh drank more wine and cider. Then we couldn’t walk but that’s what Thanksgiving’s are made of. :-D
Just a couple more days until Thanksgiving in the States! Maybe I’ll post my Grandma’s stuffing recipe? :-D
Yesterday in the theme of November/Movember me and my friends ran a 8K in Paris called Les Bacchantes. The only requirement (well besides hopefully finishing the race) was to wear a “stache”. haha!
Found one at a Halloween store! And got a surprise mustache for Jenni… bahahaha – which knowing me should have been pretty easy to guess.
We met bright and early (8:30) chez moi! and then after securely fastening our mustaches on, we headed out to the race! We’d celebrated Thanksgiving the day before and boy that was resting in our stomachs. oh and I had a scary blood shot eye. haha!
Jenni- sporting the… wait for it…. Western mustache I picked out for her. haha! If only there were handlebars too..
A couple warm up laps at the metro, some weird looks, and trying on some accents to match our staches- mine ended up Russian for a bit and then there was Tina’s meatball comments. ..
We also decided that we wanted to be referred to as the “Three Mustacheers.”
We made it to the start and met up with the Frenchman and his friend! Who took a much better photo of us then my one handed attempts earlier in the day.
We’re ready!! Nope- warm up first! A little dancing, stretching and good to go! On y va!
The course was beautiful!! It started at Avenue Foch close to the Arc de Triumphe (we could see it in the distance) and then went through the woods called Bois de Boulogne that border the left side of Paris. The leaves are changing so just imagine running through the woods with bright reds and yellows and you’re there. :-) Pretty!
The race was fast! So fast that my mustache blew off in the first 2K. 47 minutes for us at a 9:40 min/mile pace. Woot! Go team!
After was- cake, tea, soup and then the usual oranges, apples, Goo chews and water. tehe! Then some post-race pics at the Eiffel, because why ever not!
After showers at my place we headed to lunch at a cafe down the street with the Frenchman and his friends. Tina was apparently drunk off of one glass of white wine. haha! There might have been mention of a bird sculpture and a very hard to pronounce word- janvier! I promise I’m saying it correctly now.. maybe? haha! Loved the mix of languages! The red wine was delicious! Bon choix! The liver.. errr not bad but not awesome? Very chewy? We decided to try frogs legs next. haha! So pretty much an awesome day start to finish. :-)
We had Mexican Fiesta #2 gosh about a month and a half ago? Or something like that? And I can’t believe I’m just now posting some pics!
After a very successful first Mexican Fiesta, there was way too much recipe exchanging and #2 just had to happen ASAP. How could it not when you’re drooling over a Carnitas recipe and a new margarita recipe happens to pop up!
oh and quite a feast we had- This was the start of three tacos for me after a ridiculous amount of amazing guacamole.
I love tacos! oh and margaritas!~lots of margaritas!
Jess had made the carnitas the day before (holy guacamole they were amazing!!!) and stewed a pot of black beans – one of the most difficult things to find here in France. oh I miss the days where I can have a couple cans of black beans on hand for any Mexican adventures that happen to come my way.
The raclette nachos made another appearance and were devoured along with an entire liter of salsa.
oh and we can’t forget the corn tortillas!! There is one place in Paris where you can order fresh tortillas and avoid the packaged one’s in the store with an expiration date 6 months from the time you buy them (scary..). It’s called Tortilleria Mil Amores. Orders have to be in by Friday afternoon, pick up is just on Saturday for a couple of hours in a hole in the wall apartment.
Just look at these beauties!
I made guacamole. My fav!!
The Essentials for Guacamole:
avocados (2 is good for about 2-3 people)
Taste as you go (oh darn…) and adjust the amounts to suit how you like it! Some peeps love a ton of lime juice or a ridiculous amount of cilantro. We didn’t have jalapenos so we added some salsa to add a little kick/extra flavor.
oh yes, and there was passion fruit raspberry tart for dessert not because it’s Mexican but because half of us are pastry chefs. ;-) One of the gorgeous chefs with the tart crust we cooled outside on the patio.
Mexican Fiesta #3 –> Pronto! I want to make enchiladas!