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Stuffing vs. Dressing: Holiday Recipes

Updated on November 16, 2011

Whether you call it stuffing or dressing, no holiday turkey dinner is complete without this bready side dish. Personally, without the stuffing, I'd almost rather not have Thanksgiving at all. So if you want your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner to be worth eating, be sure to cook a recipe of either stuffing or dressing (or both). Don't forget to always make extra stuffing: the leftovers are a perfect addition to a turkey and cranberry sandwich (also known as The Bobbie to us Pennsylvanians).

My dad is a Yankee and my mom is a Southerner. I need not tell you all the cultural differences between their two families, but I will say that the food from each family is very distinct. Holiday dinners at our house tend to be a hodgepodge of Yankee dishes and down-South cooking. One dish that is cooked differently is stuffing or dressing, the classic side to a roasted turkey.

The name for this dish can be confusing. Some people say that stuffing goes inside the bird, whereas dressing is cooked outside the bird. As far as I know, this is not necessarily true, and both stuffing and dressing can be cooked inside or outside the turkey. The main difference between the two names is regional terminology. In the North, there's stuffing. And in the South there's dressing. The two dishes are basically the same, but each has its own distinct taste. Both of my grandmothers cooked amazing stuffing/dressing and I've posted both of their recipes below. Please note that these are cooked-to-taste recipes, passed down the family. Their main purpose is to note the preparation of the dishes, not to list exact measurements.

A turkey dinner isn't complete without stuffing!
A turkey dinner isn't complete without stuffing! | Source

Yankee Stuffing

Yankee stuffing is what we use to stuff the turkey each year. Spread some white bread cubes on a pan and dry out overnight. If you want, you can just use packaged stuffing mix cubes. For a 20-lb. turkey, you will need 2 (13 oz.) bags to stuff the turkey and a have a pan of stuffing left over.

Melt a stick of butter on the stove. Add about one chopped onion and a few chopped celery stalks and cook until browned. Add to bread along with a couple teaspoons poultry seasoning, salt and pepper, and a raw egg to bind it all together. Mix in raisins and chopped apples.

Not all of the stuffing will fit inside the turkey. Put the leftover stuffing in a casserole dish, add chicken broth to moisten, and bake in the oven.

Southern Cornbread Dressing

The perfect beginning to homemade cornbread dressing is homemade cornbread. My grandmother starts with medium-grain white cornmeal. Add some salt, some pepper, and some chopped onion. Add a little water until the corn meal is moist and has a thick consistency. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet. Drop spoonfuls of cornbread into pan, forming 4- to 5-inch discs. Fry until brown, turn over, and fry other side.

Break up cornbread into pieces and mix with pieces of white bread, chicken broth with chicken pieces, chopped boiled eggs, and sage or poulty seasoning. The broth should moisten the bread but not drown it.

Bake in a casserole dish until brown and set.

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