Unless you’re not a turkey fan, the irrefutable centerpiece on the Thanksgiving table is always the turkey. While it’s supposed to be the pièce de résistance, I’ve unfortunately had far more dry turkeys than succulent ones. Even the juiciest of turkeys still have their undeniable dry spots. The reason is simple, different parts of the bird cook at different rates – it’s like the turkey is setting you up for failure before it’s even in the oven!
No Thanksgiving dinner is complete without the dressing. Though, before we jump in, let’s clarify the terms ‘stuffing’ and ‘dressing’. They’re both constructed the same way; the difference lies in the method of cooking. Stuffing is cooked inside of the bird, whereas dressing is cooked separately, usually in a baking dish. The problem with cooking stuffing in the bird, is the increased risk of salmonella bacteria seeping into the porous bread and not cooking through. Growing up, you probably had stuffing cooked in the turkey every Thanksgiving and it never made anyone sick – I know that was the case with our family. However, it only takes one time… and no one wants the distinctive title of ‘the person that sent everyone to the hospital on Thanksgiving’.
So back to the dressing. Like a savory bread pudding, the bread soaks up all of the wonderful flavors you add. Dressing comes in numerous varieties – some are made with dried fruit, vegetables, or even oysters. My personal favorite is Pork Sausage Dressing. Whatever your fancy, the star is always the bread. However, it’s not the bread on it’s own that’s so delicious (although I have never met a bread I didn’t like) it’s all of the wonderful flavors in this recipe like pork, apple, sage, and thyme that infiltrate every little pore in the bread that make it so moist, tender, and resulting in such incredible flavor!