Stuffing or Dressing?

Nov 20, 2018

The age-old question remains: What’s the difference between stuffing and dressing?

Credit Jennifer Chandler

The basic difference is the cooking method. If you cook it inside the bird, it’s called stuffing. If you bake it in a separate pan, it’s called dressing. But we can all call it one thing for sure: delicious.

I make dressings year round.  They are obviously a staple with turkey on Thanksgiving, but they also pair nicely with red meat or roast chicken for the rest of the year.

To make sure your dressing fulfills all your expectations this Thanksgiving (or every time you choose to enjoy it!), here are a few guidelines.

The bread is the centerpiece so use the best bread you can find. Flavor should be your guide.  I like to use a rosemary bread to boost the delicious herb flavor of a dressing more than just using a plain bread and dried rosemary.

When making your dressing, it is important that the bread is a bit dry. That allows the chicken broth and all the seasonings to soak into the bread. I suggest buying your bread and cutting it into cubes about a day or two in advance.  You can always toast the bread cubes to achieve the same result.

Making it for Thanksgiving? Chop your vegetables today – two days ahead. It’s a great way to get a head-start on the meal. But wait to mix the ingredients with the egg and stock until just before cooking.

And finally, to give your dressing extra flavor on Thanksgiving, drizzle the pan drippings from the cooked turkey over the top just before serving.

This is Jennifer Chandler with The Weekly Dish. Happy Thanksgiving.

Wild Mushroom, Rosemary, and Hazelnut Dressing

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra to grease the baking dish
  • 1 1-pound loaf rosemary bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 8 cups)
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 3/4 pound fresh shitake mushrooms, stemmed and quartered (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion (1 small onion)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups hazelnuts, toasted, skins removed, and coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9- x 13-inch baking dish with butter and set aside.

Place the bread on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the middle of the oven until the bread is toasted dry and lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the button mushrooms, shitake mushrooms, and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly browned, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and rosemary and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the white wine and over high heat, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape the brown bits on the bottom of the pan, until the liquid is almost evaporated, about 4 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add the bread and hazelnuts, and toss to combine. 

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the stock and eggs. Add to the bread mixture and toss to evenly coat.

Transfer the dressing to the prepared baking dish. Bake, loosely covered with foil, until set and warmed through, about 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until the top is browned, about 15 minutes. Serve warm.

Serves 6 to 8.

Do-Ahead: You can toast the bread a day or two ahead and store the cooled croutons in a resealable plastic bag. The hazelnuts can be toasted several days ahead as well. The mushrooms and onions can be cleaned and cut the day ahead and stored separately in the fridge. It is best to assemble all the ingredients the day you plan to serve the dish.

Printed with permission from Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler.