Turkey Dressing

Turkey Dressing

My mom used to make this Turkey Dressing every Thanksgiving for my dad. As a child, I peeled the crusts from Wonder Bread, buttered each slice, sprinkled seasonings on top, and then helped tear up the pieces. When Dane and Jessi were little, I had them do the same.

Over the years my method evolved. I began using my homemade Bread from Heaven, and inevitably variations emerged. There is just one constant. Thanksgiving is absolutely not Thanksgiving until this dressing is on the table. Miss you, Mom and Dad. Always.

    • Servings: 6-8
    • Time: 0hr 50-60mins
    • Difficulty: Easy
  • 1 turkey neck
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 carrot broken into pieces
  • 1 celery stalk broken into pieces
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¾ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
For the turkey stock (bone broth), rub turkey neck with olive oil and place in a heavy ceramic nonstick 3-quart saucepan set over medium heat. Add vegetables and seasonings; brown turkey in place (5-6 minutes). The neck is prone to sticking in cookware other than nonstick. Using additional oil causes excessive spatter. The Maillard (my YARD) reaction (browning) adds rich flavor.
  • 1-quart tap water
Add water to saucepan; bring to the boil. Cover and reduce heat to hold at a simmer for 1 hour. Extract neck, celery, and carrot with a slotted spoon. The stock will be a rich, amber color with very little fat.  A long simmer dissolves collagen, producing a smooth, silky mouthfeel.
Cube to ½-inch. Add to a 3-quart mixing bowl and set aside. Flavorful bread makes this dressing exceptional.
  Place oven rack just below center; start preheating to 350°F “Convection” (verify with an oven thermometer). Meanwhile, start the seasoning mixture. Ovens often run hot or cold or preheat slowly.
  • ½ cup finely diced white onion
Set aside.

Tip: With onion on its side, cut off and discard both ends. Cut in half from pole to pole; discard dry or tough layers. Place cut sides down; slice to ⅛ inch, holding the pieces together as you work. Cut across slices to dice.

Holding slices together reduces exposure to eye-irritants.
  • ½ cup finely diced celery
Set aside.

Tip: Rinse celery; cut off light colored bottoms and leafy tops. Cut lengthwise into ⅛-inch strips; cut across strips to finely dice.

A fine dice allows the flavor to come through without overt celery texture, which is not our favorite thing.
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons rubbed sage
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¾ teaspoon roughly ground black pepper
Melt butter in a 1-quart tri-ply saucepan set over medium heat. Add seasonings, prepared onion, and celery, occasionally stirring with a bamboo spoon until onion is tender and translucent (3-4 minutes).  Salted butter spatters. Bamboo is inexpensive and gentle on cookware.
  Measure out 1 cup stock (bone broth) and stir into onion/celery seasoning mixture. Drizzle this seasoned mixture evenly over bread cubes, lightly tossing as you go with a spoon or your hands to distribute moisture evenly. Add extra stock, as desired, depending on how moist you like your dressing. This is very much personal preference. I like dressing on the dry side, but Mark prefers it very moist.
  • ½ cup chopped raisins, dried cranberries, or peeled and diced Granny Smith apple
Spread turkey dressing evenly on a quarter sheet pan; distribute fruit on top. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake 30 minutes. Chopping reduces dried fruit swelling and covering holds in moisturizing steam.
  Remove foil and continue baking until the top has crispy edges (12-15 minutes). Arrange decoratively around the turkey or under the carved pieces. Baking separate is safer than baking inside the turkey.