Stuffing vs Dressing, a National & Company Debate
With Thanksgiving not one week away, and the country in the throes of a partisan national debate, we at Smithey Ironware are preparing ourselves for a few cordial exchanges (ugmmm…arguments) around this year’s Thanksgiving table. Front and center in our minds is arriving at a verdict on the critical culinary question of our time – Stuffing or Dressing.
To be clear, Stuffing is cooked in the bird, while Dressing is cooked outside the bird – in a cast iron skillet for example.
This is divisive topic has been bantered around the halls of Smithey Ironware for the last month. There have been side channels, whisper campaigns, and backstabbing. But despite the real politiking around the shop, in true democratic spirit, we have put this debate to the people!
Our team here at Smithey has voted and the results are in. Dressing has taken the day by a landslide! And so while our authoritarian-natured founder (Isaac), Steve and Rico are sure to continue their fight for a Stuffing Revolution, the Dressing Party has won the day.
Below is our recipe for your dressing this Thanksgiving. Our cast iron will keep it light and fluffy inside while getting a golden brown, crispy top. This tasty and savory stuffing is our version of the classic dish – it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it!
Sourdough Stuffing with Herbs & Brown Butter
What You Need
16 ounces torn artisanal sourdough bread, or a combination of sourdough and rye bread, crust mostly removed
4 cups rich turkey stock
1/2 cup white wine
1 fresh bay leaf
8 tablespoons butter, divided
2 cups sliced mixed mushrooms, such as shiitake and cremini
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped leeks, white and light green parts only
1 cup chopped fennel bulb
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
2 eggs, beaten
Coarse kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 300˚F. Scatter torn bread in an even layer on a baking sheet and toast in oven until very dry, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and allow to cool.
Increase oven temperature to 375˚F.
Combine turkey stock, white wine and bay leaf in a medium pot. Simmer gently over low heat until flavorful and slightly reduced, about 20 minutes.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. When foam subsides, add sliced mushrooms and cook until lightly browned, 3-5 minutes. Add 2 more tablespoons butter, melt, then stir in shallots, celery, leeks, fennel and season with salt. Sauté until vegetables soften, 3-5 minutes. Stir in thyme, rosemary, and sage and cook 1 minute longer.
Using a rubber spatula, scrape vegetables into the bowl over the toasted bread. Ladle the stock reduction over the entire mixture and gently stir until bread has absorbed all the liquid. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Stir in beaten eggs.
Wipe the skillet clean and return to the stove over medium heat. Add remaining 4 tablespoons butter and cook, gently swirling the pan, until the foam subsides and the butter turns a deep, nutty brown (careful not to let it burn). Pour browned butter over the stuffing mixture and stir to incorporate.
Transfer stuffing into the still-hot skillet and bake in preheated oven until center is cooked through and top is golden brown, about 40 minutes.