Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dressing trick...

I know this post may be coming late in the season ..or you might say I'm way way early in the season..but here we go anyway.
If you make homemade stuffing for your turkey at Thanksgiving or Christmas..and you make it like I do..or maybe some other Hedgewives out there, then this is the best little trick for that leftover dressing.

Now, I'm like my mama when I make my dressing (or stuffing..whatever you want to call it..)
I make a lot, I always make too much and I do it truly by hand. I mean..REALLY by hand. I have to put it on the table to mix it up cuz I don't have a bowl big enough to mix it in. (that's bad isn't it?)
Hey..what can I say, I grew up helping my mom cook for a large family of about 23 or more for every holiday dinner. To me..Holidays mean: Multitudes of people, so we must cook enough. (mom's motto) "If you leave hungry, it's your own fault."
Ok, so in my Mom's dressing went, celery & onions, sauteed in a very very large cast iron skillet. The trick was, before she sauteed the onions and celery, she'd cook about 2lbs of sausage. You know..the kind you use for breakfast that you make patties with..cept she didn't make patties with it, she fried it up like you would hamburger. The veggies were then sauteed in the leftover grease in the pan.
My mama's dressing was the best dressing I've ever had. NO lie. I've tried many, from many cooks and even some of those from the box..but none compare. Some will DO mind you, but none compare.
While all the cookin' and the choppin' and the pinching up of the bread was going on, all the "extras'' from the turkey were cooking on the stove top in some water and turkey drippin's from the turkey pan. (she'd get up at 3am and put her turkey in the oven, then, at about 8am, she'd drain a good bit of the juice that had cooked off the turkey into a pot and THAT was what she used to boil the 'turkey extras' in.)
Anyway, back to the dressing. We used bread..real bread. Many loafs of real bread. ALOT!
And always the night before or for a few weeks before, mom would bake cornbread for dinner. (she'd put cornbread pieces in the freezer for weeks before Thanksgiving) and all the cornbread she had saved and what she had made the night before that didn't get eat, was pinched up in the dressing mix too.
So here we have on the table a huge pile of bread, with 1-2lbs of sausage now poured on top, the onions & celery and now she'd add the 'giblets'..cut up, pinched up or in some way made small to mix into the dressing. She'd take several scoops of the liquid she had collected from the turkey (yep..the same liquid she'd cooked the 'extra's in) and pour it over all that bread and 'stuff'.
Then, she'd use her spices. Special spices. Salt of course..pepper sure, but not too much. Then she'd pull out a jar of seasonings that she got from 'down home'. You couldn't get them where we lived. (not can now, but not then). It was a 'dressing or stuffing seasonings' by a company called "Leggs". That's the biggest secret my mama had. She'd sprinkle just so much..nothing was ever measure by cups or spoonfulls, it was always measure by her hand. She'd add the seasonings, mix and taste and do this over and over again, till she had it just the way she liked it.

There may be two or three of us girls with our hands in that dressing..stirring and turning it over.
We weren't allowed to 'squish' it..mama always said she didn't want no 'mushy dressin'. We had to gently turn it, and mix it without squishin' it.
She'd add water or broth as we needed it.
Talk about HOT! Wow..if you weren't ready for some 'heated mixin' then you better not stick your hands in that table full of dressing, cuz it was hot!

Once we had it all mixed and it stuck together good enough, but not mushy, she'd stuff the bird and then put a bunch around the bird (she used a big bird me!)
Any extra went into a casserole dish (a large one). The bird went back in the oven about an hour or so before we were ready to eat and that was our dressing.
The best stuff I've ever had. ya go.
Finally I'll get to the point of this post.
What to do with the leftover dressing. Freeze it. First and foremost, freeze it. Use plastic type freezer bags and freeze what you might eat at a meal in seperate bags.
Now, thaw it out and squish it. Just a little, not much but squish it and form it into 'patties' like sausage.
Fry it. Just like you would sausage. Put a little grease in the pan..oil, lard, butter..doesnt' matter. Your choice and fry those little dressing patties.

You can use this for a sausage substitute at breakfast, as a side dish for dinner, or heck for a midnight snack. Serve with mustard as a dip and YUM YUM YUM!

Don't believe me?? give it a try some day. Make the dressing like mama did..fry you up a patty or two and see how you like it.
I promise, you won't regret it!

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