Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Dutch Oven Turkey Dressing Casserole

Who says leftover turkey is the exclusive domain of Thanksgiving? When I was growing up in California's San Joaquin Valley, whole turkeys were only available in the fall. Since my mother roasted a 20- to 23-pound tom, we had sufficient leftover turkey meat to create sandwiches and casseroles for a week or more.

Today, turkey can be purchased year-round. It's fun to roast a 15-pound bird just so you can have leftovers. You can also purchase turkey breasts, thighs and drumsticks. For the test recipe, I roasted a 1-3/4-pound turkey thigh for 60 minutes. The thigh yielded 2-3/4 cups of diced meat, along with a nice, crisp piece of skin.

Since cooking is often a function of what's in the cupboard, I cubed a sourdough rosemary baguette for the dressing. It was left from a dinner that never materialized last week. Consequently, I didn't add sage to the recipe.

A package of sliced cremini mushrooms sautéed with the onions added an earthy element to the stuffing. Other ingredients compliment the turkey as well. Try combinations such as sausage, chestnuts and apples; red currents and dried cherries; or dried pears and roasted hazelnuts.


Cavendar's all-purpose Greek seasoning is available in your grocer's spice section. You may locate the seasoning in the ethic food isle as I did. Use poultry seasoning in place of Cavendar's if desired. Since salt is listed as the first ingredient on the label, you may want to add salt after tasting the dressing.

10-12 slices dried white bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 teaspoons Cavendar's all-purpose Greek seasoning
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 large onion, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
5 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 stick butter
4 boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
2-3 cups cooked turkey, cut into 1-inch cubes
2-3 cups turkey or chicken broth

Place cubed bread in large bowl. Add Cavendar's, sage, salt and pepper and stir to mix. Set aside. In heated Dutch oven, sauté chopped onions and celery in butter until tender. Remove from Dutch oven and add to bread. Add eggs and turkey. Stir to mix well.

Pour broth over mixture 1 cup at a time so as not to get it too soupy. You want it nice and moist. Pour into a 12-inch Dutch oven. Bake about 1 hour at 350 degrees. Using charcoal: 16 coals on the lid and 8 under the Dutch oven.

Serve hot with gravy or cranberry sauce. It's also good served plain.

Bakin' Bill Johnson prepared Dutch oven turkey dressing casserole for KUTV-2 in Salt Lake City on November 26, 2004. Click for photographs from a TV shoot that Bill and I did in San Mateo, California last February.

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