The Richmond Register

November 21, 2012

To stuff or not to stuff the bird

Table Talk

By Arritta Morris
Register Columnist

RICHMOND — When I thought of the ways we deal in our area with stuffings at Thanksgiving, I am amazed at the different recipes I found. We have certainly gone away from a lot of the cornbread types most common in the past.

When I went to the grocery store this past week I was bombarded by all the different types of box mixes for stuffing that is on the shelves.

There is a large cultural difference between the southern and northern parts of our country when it comes to how stuffing is made. My husband’s aunt makes a dressing called “stuffing balls.” (She is from Pennsylvania.)


3 loaves of bread (I use white bread)

1/2 cup of butter or margarine

1 cup of chopped celery

1 cup of chopped onions.

1/4 cup of rubbed sage

3 cans of turkey gravy

salt and pepper to taste

Chicken broth to wet dressing down.

Set bread out at least one day in advance. Tear into small pieces. If you do not do this, you need to air dry it in about a 200 degree oven the day you make them

Sauté the onion, celery and sage in the margarine until tender. Mix into the bread and shape into balls about the size of baseballs. One can make these smaller.

Place in a large baking pan depending on the size of the balls. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes covered in a 320 degree oven. When done, pour turkey gravy over balls and place in oven for about 15 minutes to heat gravy.( One can heat gravy in a saucepan as well and pour over balls.)

As you can see there is no cornbread in this recipe. Most homes in the Northern part of our country us only white or wheat bread as their stuffing.

However living in the South, I have to post the recipe that I ate at the Madison Country Home Extension office Tuesday night at the "Secret Ingredient" Club. The recipe is Diana Thacker's Aunt Helen's Dressing.

Aunt Helen's Dressing

4 1/2 cups cornbread crumbled

2 cups of biscuits crumbled

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped celery

1 small can cream of mushroom soup

1 can chicken broth

1 can of mushrooms(optimal)

1/2 cup melted butter

2 Tbsp sage

1 Tbsp poultry seasoning

2 tsp celery seed

1 Tbsp parsley(optional)

Mix the above ingredients. Place in a buttered pan and or roll into balls. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.

If you would like to see more of these recipes I encourage you to attend the Secret Ingredient club that meets at the Madison County Home Extension building on Duncannon Lane the second Tuesday of the month at 5:30.

Have you ever ridden to work in a car pool? I have to tell you about the car pool I got into and what happen around Thanksgiving time. You see these car pool folks had a requirement to receive a initiation into the pool. Unknown to me, I was done in by these folks one holiday week.  If you see me out and about I will tell you what they pulled on me. I decided that payback was needed to even the score. So the Tuesday before Thanksgiving one year, I made up this recipe about how to stuff your Turkey with uncooked Popcorn. I made the recipe so long that I knew they would not take the time to read it all. I gave it to them and they could not wait to pass it out in the department they all worked in. They realized at the end of the day that I had paid them back. The last statement on the recipe was-TURKEY IS DONE WHEN TAIL IS BLOWN OFF AND OVEN DOOR FALLS OFF. I really hope there was not too many ovens destroyed that fixed the recipe without reading the ending.

I need to go way down South on this recipe. Jeanette Heindel who hails from New Orleans shared this stuffing recipe with me. It is different but so good. This recipe makes a lot so I did half a recipe for 5 people.

Jeanette's Corn Bread Stuffing

This is the larger version-serves 10

1/2 cup olive oil

8 Tbsp unsalted butter

4 large yellow onions, sliced thin

6 celery stalks-chopped

8 carrots-chopped

2 (12-ounce) boxes corn bread stuffing

4 cups chicken broth

1 (10-ounce) can cream of celery soup

1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice

1 cups scallions, chopped

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp kosher salt

Lots of pepper

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

1. Pour the cornbread stuffing in a large bowl

2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onions, cover with a lid and lower the heat to caramelize-about 10 minutes. Add the celery, butter and carrots.

3. Add the cooked vegetables to the stuffing mix.

4. Add the cream of celery soup, chicken broth, orange juice, lemon juice, scallions and pepper to the stuffing. Mix well.

Place the stuffing in a baking pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes. Serves 10

For all of you that are staying up late tonight cooking, take a break and come sit at my table as we give thanks for all the great things we have in our country. I have a friend from Italy that tells me all the time that the worst day in the US is the best day in Italy for her.

I am adding my email to this writing in hopes that you can share with me your holiday blessings. Of course I would love some of your favorite recipes to share with other guest that might stop by sometime.

Arritta Morris is a graduate of EKU with a degree in Nutrition and and a Master's degree in counseling. She is a food service specialist certified by the School Nutrition Association.