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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Nicole Parton’s Sexy Undressing

We’ve come a long way, Dollinks! I’ve blogged the best of my Thanksgiving recipes as the big day approaches. Today, I have two superb recipes that use fresh cranberries for your festive table and an excellent recipe for turkey dressing. The last thing on my blogging agenda are two delicious desserts - but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to read them. I have a small confession: I’d originally promised to give you retired San Francisco broadcaster Art Finley’s gorgeous recipe for turkey dressing. I carted the recipe around the house, waiting for the right moment to blog it. I’ve had that recipe for 30 years, but guess what? Between here and there and yesterday and today … Ive lost it! I’ve turned the house upside-down, but it’s gone. If Art revealed his secret to you or anyone else, drop me a line at nicoleparton172@gmail.com
In its place is the turkey dressing I use almost every year! I don’t have a formal “recipe,” but I’ll tell you how I make it. Before I begin, I’d like to explain the difference between turkey “dressing” and turkey “stuffing.” Some sources say there’s no difference whatsoever: I call what I make a “dressing” when I’m in polite company, but call it “stuffing” as I cram, ram, and jam it into the bird, right up to my elbow.  
For the difference between the two terms, I’m going to defer to an enthusiastic young blogger who lives in Central Mexico. Raven Chelanee writes about food at http://www.cookeatdelicious.com/ Here’s what she has to say (with minor editing from me) about the dressing/stuffing conundrum: “Let’s get this out of the way, first. There’s not a huge difference between dressing and stuffing - it’s just how you cook it. Dressing dresses the bird. It goes on the platter around the turkey or is served in its own serving dish. Stuffing, on the other hand, stuffs the bird. It goes into the raw bird’s cavity and is baked inside the bird. Yeah? Okay!”
The Joy of Cooking agrees with Raven Chelanee, but the National Turkey Federation says both terms are used interchangeably. Go figure. So this is how I make my turkey dressing - baked inside the bird, with extras baked in a covered dish alongside. I call my dressing “sexy” because I always make it the night before, dressed in my negligee. MYOB about what happens to that negligee later in the evening. That’s why I call this dish ...
Nicole Parton’s Sexy Undressing:
5-to-6 c. dried, cubed white bread, crusts removed
½ c. butter or margarine 
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 or 3 stalks of celery with some leaves, diced
1-½ tsp. celery seed
½ c. dried cranberries (optional)
1 medium apple, peeled, cored, and chopped (optional)
1 c. toasted, coarsely chopped walnuts (see Note)
1 lb. (454 g) pork sausage meat
About 2-½ c. poultry stock, as needed
2-to-3 tbsp. poultry seasoning
Salt and coarsely ground pepper, to taste
Dry bread with oven set on lowest heat. Cut into cubes and set aside. Melt butter or margarine in a large skillet. Add onion and celery, stirring until tender. Stir in celery seed, cranberries, apple, walnuts, and pork sausage, cooking over medium-high heat until sausage loses its pink tinge. Stir in seasonings, adjusting to taste. 

Transfer to large mixing bowl. Stir in well-dried bread cubes, so they absorb the fat. Mix well, adding stock little-by-little, until mixture is well moistened. Make this dressing one day ahead and the cranberries will puff up beautifully. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Do not stuff the bird the night before! On the day you cook your turkey, rinse its cavity with cold water, blotting dry with paper toweling. Salt lightly. Stuff turkey shortly before you pop it into the oven. This makes enough stuffing for a 15-lb. turkey.

Note: See Index for How to Toast Nuts.

Tip: Placing the stuffing into a moistened, heat-proof netted bag or a commercially available poultry stuffing bag before cramming it into the bird lets the stuffing slip out super fast and super easy!

Dry bread several hours

Dice into bite-sized bits, setting aside until needed ...


Which is now!


Combine onion and celery, stirring until tender

Mix walnuts, apple, and all except sausage, stock, and bread
Fry sausage in skillet with all except bread and stock

Combine with bread cubes and stock, as needed. Chill.

My good manners prevent a more graphic illustration of
what Ron is doing to this bird - and where he's doing it!

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