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Richard in Cincy

Rec: Great-Great Grandmother Rausch's Oyster Dressing

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Joined: Dec 12, 2005

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Posted to Thread #5205 at 12:43 pm on Jan 6, 2007

This is more like "savory oyster bread pudding" and some don't care for it as a "dressing" who are used to drier stuffing type dishes. That's why we always have two (also for those that don't like oysters). But this is what I grew up with as did at least 5 generations back.

As dictated by my grandmother:

Fill a big crock bowl with your stale bread.

Chop onions and celery and cook on top of stove until tender and very little water is left.

Pour onions over bread. Add enough broth to moisten well, enough sage to color it (this was usually about a tbls. for a large casserole dish, BTW), 1 pint of oysters, and lots of pepper.

Stir it up easy. Break 4 eggs over the bowl and stir in, but don't stir too much so it will be fluffy.

Dust top lightly with more sage.

Bake at 350 in greased pan until well-browned. (usually about an hour)

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Richard's notes: The mass should be fairly wet (to make it the way my grandmother made it). You can add less broth if you like a drier result.

Grandmother braised her turkey in a covered roasting pan so that she could make a very rich concentrated turkey broth that she used for dressing, gravy. and spaetzle. This is very important in the success of this dish. Canned commercial stock would not cut it and it would be boring. Because this is such a simple dish, the flavor and concentration of homemade stock is absolutely paramount.

Grandma was very particular about how she added the eggs. She didn't beat them, she broke the eggs over the dressing when it was mixed up, then she took a big spoon and sort of "worried" them into the dressing. She didn't want them completely stirred in so that, as she said, the dressing would be "fluffy."

This was such a generational dish that my grandmother kept a jar of sage in her pantry that was grown by my great-grandfather (her father) in his last garden (1965). Granted there was no flavor left in it, but each year she would take out the jar and add a little pinch to the Christmas Oyster Dressing and we were all contented to know that it was in there.


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