27th Thanksgiving meal set for Nov. 22
Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. I have memories of my mom preparing for the big day many days in advance. The first step is getting the turkey. Many use fresh farmgrown turkeys or find a nice frozen turkey in the appropriate size. The side dishes seem to just fall in line. The next important food is the stuffing for the bird, homemade or packaged. You can be sure that Mom made a large pot of dumplings with juices from the turkey. The turkey has been bought and the stuffing decision is next. Today I have two popular recipes for you to try.
Fresh oysters are in season right now. Talking to a friend of mine who happens to be a waterman, he said he is getting plenty and they are good. I love oysters in the shell so I can open them as I need them. Support our local watermen and the hard work they do to make a living. For sure they love their cold, strenuous profession. They don’t complain about the work, just about the lack of oysters.
In a medium saucepan, cook 1/2 cup chopped celer y, 1/2 cup chopped onion, and one bay leaf in 1/4 cup butter until vegetables are tender but not brown. Discard the bay leaf. Stir in 6 cups dry bread crumbs and 1 tbsp. snipped parsley. Drain 3 cups shucked oysters, reserving the liquid. Add drained oysters, two beaten eggs, 1 tsp. poultry seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste, and mix all of this thoroughly with the crumb mixture. Stir in enough reserved oyster liquid to moisten. Spoon into turkey cavity. Pull the neck cavity open to stuff dressing into the breastbone area. Pull the neck skin back over the stuffing and fasten with skewers if necessary. Spoon remaining stuffing into the tail cavity. Tuck legs into skin at bottom of turkey. Bake according to turkey directions. Enjoy the delicious smells from the kitchen.
Old-fashioned bread dressing
In a skillet, cook 1-1/2 cups finely chopped onion in 1/3 cup butter with 1-1/2 cups chopped celery, cooking until tender. Add this mixture to 8 cups dry small bread cubes, placed in a large pan. Sprinkle with 1-1/2 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. black pepper, 1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning and 1/2 tsp. sage, and combine well. Add 1/4 cup water and one beaten egg. Toss together with a fork. Stuff a thawed bird immediately and bake according to directions on the turkey label.
Chesapeake-style roast turkey
Take one 14- to 16-lb. turkey. Wash turkey with cold water, dry, and salt and pepper to taste. Make an oyster stuffing consisting of three stalks chopped celery, one medium chopped onion, 3/4 cup melted butter, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, 1/2 tsp. tarragon, 1 tsp. poultry seasoning, 1 tsp. lemon juice, 12 slices day-old bread, cubed, and 3 cups shucked oysters with juices. Mix well and stuff inside the cavity of the prepared turkey. Place in a large roasting pan and bake in a 325 degree oven about 20 minutes per pound. Baste turkey with the pan drippings about every 20 minutes. Tent the turkey with heavy duty foil so it browns without burning. Preheat the oven and stuff the turkey as soon as the mixture is ready.
Clip this column and save for the big day. Next week we will do some quick and easy crustless pies.