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It’s not surprising that National Stuffing Day falls on the fourth Thursday of November, because that’s also the day we celebrate Thanksgiving.
Many Americans’ celebratory meal includes stuffing—or dressing, as some refer to it. Whatever you call it, this delicious side dish is a perfect accompaniment to turkey, ham, roasts or any other main dish you prepare.
The mainstay of holiday stuffing or dressing is typically bread crumbs or crumbled cornbread. Other ingredients are as diverse as Virginia’s agricultural commodities. Some stuffings include crumbled sausage; other dressings are full of apples or other fruit. Still other stuffings include aquatic ingredients like Virginia oysters.
Some Virginians stuff their turkeys with dressing, while others bake it separately. According to the Butterball kitchen, if you refer to the side dish as dressing, odds are you cook it separately from the bird and live in the South. Otherwise, you are likely a stuffing family and cook it inside the turkey.
If you want to try making your stuffing with Virginia oysters, here’s a recipe from the Oyster Company of Virginia.
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 cup chopped onion
4 green onions, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 cups crumbled cornbread
3 cups soft bread crumbs
½ cup minced fresh parsley
salt and pepper, to taste
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 pint shucked oysters, drained, reserve ½ cup liquid
Preheat oven to 350°, and lightly butter a rectangular baking dish.
In a large skillet over medium-low heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Saute the onions and celery in the butter until tender, not browned.
In a large bowl, combine the cornbread and bread crumbs; mix in sautéed onions, salt, pepper and parsley. Add beaten eggs, and toss more; moisten with the oyster liquid until moist but not soggy. Gently stir in the oysters.
Pat the mixture into the prepared baking dish (It should make a 1-inch layer). Dot with remaining butter, and bake about 45 minutes, until golden brown and set in the center.
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