Recipe for Thanksgiving Turkey and Dressing

Every year my mother prepared the turkey and dressing for Thanksgiving dinner while other members of the family prepared side dishes for the dinner. When mother was no longer physically able to prepare the Thanksgiving dinner the mantle fell on me to prepare the meal for Thanksgiving.

After my mother passed on, it took several years of my preparing the meal without her supervision before it was "just right." However, I was very pleased one year when my niece told me, "this tastes just like grandmother's." 

This recipe was the one used by my grandmother Miranda Jane Clement Crook. I am her namesake.

Our family recipe is set forth below:

  • 1 ½ cup   Finely chopped onion (one large onion or 1 ½ small onions)
  • 2                Finley chopped bell peppers
  • 3 – 6         Celery ribs (depending on size of ribs. I use the hearts plus the next ribs. )
  • 1                10” skillet or cornbread
  • 6 – 8        Slices of white bread
  • 4 – 6        Eggs slightly beaten
  •                   Salt and pepper to taste. Turkey broth or canned chicken broth

Sauté onion, bell pepper and celery in margarine or butter until tender (stirring often or continuously). Crumble cornbread and white bread broken into small pieces in large bowl. Add vegetables, salt, pepper and sage.  (Add sage to taste. I usually just guess as to the sage, starting with smaller amount and adding more as I keep tasting. I use at least 2 tsp but never really measure them.) Stir in beaten egg. Mix batter well. Add enough broth to make batter runny. Be sure to use enough broth, otherwise the dressing will be too dry. Pack stuffing loosely into turkey cavity. Pour remaining dressing into a greased 13x9x2 inch baking dish. Preheat oven to 350º. Cook for at least an hour. If it isn’t brown you can cook a little while longer.

It is best to have the bell peppers, the onion and the  celery  ready to chop the day you plan to mix the dressing. I would advise not adding the eggs to the dressing prior to the day you plan to cook it. Also, baking the cornbread on the day before Thanksgiving helps. All of this makes it much easier to prepare for the big day.

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