When it comes to the most basic Thanksgiving feast, many people have the same staples upon their table - green bean casserole with those little crispy onions, sweet potato casserole loaded with mini marshmallows, cranberry sauce still molded with those little rings straight from the can. But there are few things with quite as much variation as stuffing (a.k.a dressing) and that is generally the dish that "makes" it Thanksgiving, at least in my mind.
Straight from the box stuffing, apple + cornbread stuffing for a sweet touch, oyster dressing, and the list continues. In my house, we always had the same delicious dressing and it is a coveted recipe that has been passed down from my Grandmother's side of the family for generations and generations. It is a meat based stuffing, traditionally made with equal parts beef and pork, though these days I must admit I make mine with ground turkey and either chicken or turkey sausage but I truly don't think it makes much of a difference.
The hero in this stuffing is the fresh sage, which I know grow in two large galvanized tubes in our garden, and the highlights of dry, rubbed sage. You almost think it's a typo when you're making this for the first time and you see just how much sage goes into the recipe. But don't skimp on it, it's what makes this a standout dish. And of course the crusty cubes of day-old bread make this a truly juicy and delicious side dish. One of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions is to have our Stuffing Sandwiches the next day for lunch, with purely white sliced bread, a mound of stuffing and a little dab of cranberry sauce or gravy on top to keep it interesting.
This is the one dish that I can't do Thanksgiving without. To me, it makes the holiday so even if I'm dining out with family or my in-laws each year, I always tend to make a side dish of my Grandmother's French Sage Dressing to bring along for the hostess (and me) to enjoy with our meal. I hope you will give it a try and that you enjoy it as much as I do!
French Sage Dressing
The day before : Open a loaf of crusty french bread. Lay out slices on a breadboard to dry overnight. Cube bread in 1/2" cubes when dry and set aside.
- 2 parts ground beef
- 1 part ground pork
- 1 sweet onion diced
- 3/4 loaf of dried French bread cubes (see above)
- Salt + pepper
- Fresh sage leaves (several bundles)
- 1/2 bottle of ground rubbed sage
In a heavy cast iron pan brown meats and onion. Stir until cooked through and no pink remains. Drain excess fat. Add dried bread cubes, stirring to absorb liquid. Slowly add enough water to get mixture to a moist consistency, but not soupy. Season freely with salt and pepper. Add sage to taste. It will take several bunches of fresh sage, as well as about half a bottle of ground rubbed sage to get the rich taste.
Loosely stuff bird cavities or spoon into casserole dish. Cover and bakealong with bird. Uncover the last 10-15 minutes to get a bit of crust.
I would absolutely love to know what kind of dressing you love for your Thanksgiving feast. #HEIRLOOMED
We teamed up with our good Instagram friends at Sasha Nicholas to celebrate the true meaning of the Thankgiving holiday - the traditions, the made-from-scratch recipes, and the heirloom pieces from each of our collections that you are sure to bring out year after year.
Cynthia was generous enough to gift me this amazing Monogrammed Oval Platter that features my mother's handwritten recipe for this French Sage Dressing, straight from the recipe card. It features our last name monogram on the front of the platter and I truly can't imagine anything more wonderful and special to have as a part of our Thanksgiving table each year while serving this dish to our guests around the table. You truly must take a peek over on their site and soak up all the beauty and all of the thoughtful ideas they have for using their dinnerware pieces.
Pictured above is a stack of my Grandmother's recipe cards, and a photo of my Great Grandmother, her mother, who also made this dressing so many years ago. The fact that this recipe has been passed down so many generations is truly special for me, and makes the importance of serving it to my own children even greater.