My sister Alicia came down this week to spend Thanksgiving with me, and the two of us made our traditional family recipe: Oyster Stuffing. For years, I’ve had the following recipe written out, but while we were making this year’s batch, I had a glorious epiphany: you don’t really need to measure things at all for a fantastic stuffing. That’s right–no measurements. Because stuffing is all about texture, taste, and aromas. You can use the below quantities as a gauge on where to start, but feel free to add/remove/increase/decrease everything as it matches your personal preference.
And speaking of personal preferences, don’t let the ‘O’ word stop you from making this: the flavors that shine come from the salty stock more-so than the slimy oysters. The salt-content from quickly blanching them meant there was NO ADDED SALT to the dish, and it still turned out perfect in terms of seasoning. If you have people who will definitely have nothing to do with the slimy sea-life, consider still using the water from the dish, and either make two batches, or leave out the oysters completely. (Blasphemy!)
Another addition this year was including bacon, sherry vinegar and thyme, inspired by this Everyday Food recipe. We didn’t follow their ingredients or directions, but thought the flavor of bacon or smoked oysters would add something special to the tried-and-true family instructions.
Weaver Family Oyster and Bread Stuffing
- 1 french baguette, a day old
- 1 loaf Corn Bread, pre-made the day before
- 1 8 oz. can fresh oysters in water
- 1 c. water
- 8-10 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 strips
- 1 pint pre-sliced Celery and Carrots in water, diced small
- 1 large yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
- 3 tablespoons butter
- Fresh sage, starting around 1 tablespoon
- 1/4 t. black pepper
- 3-4 c. Chicken Broth on hand (actual amount needed will vary)
- Optional: Pecans, 2 T. sherry vinegar and 2 T. fresh thyme, chopped
- Cook the bacon in a large skillet. Remove bacon slices and set aside.
- Add butter, to bacon grease and cook equal parts celery, carrots, and onions for 4-5 minutes, then add in garlic. Continue to sauté until onions are translucent. Add in sage and pepper, other optional ingredients.
- Rinse oysters of grit and cut larger ones in half. In small saucepan, bring 1 cup of water to a boil, remove from the heat, and add in the oysters. Let sit.
- In a large baking dish, tear up the corn bread and baguette into bite-sizes pieces. Add in vegetables, oysters with liquid, and bacon. Mix everything together evenly. Start adding in chicken stock until the entire mixture is overly moist, but there should be no excess liquid in the pan. We used around 3 cups of stock this time, but it will vary. You want all the bread to be squishy and water-logged, but you don’t want them breaking down too much.
- Cover with foil and bake 30-40 minutes at 325 degrees. Uncover and broil for 5 minutes, or until top is browned. (Note: If you are making this for a larger meal, remove stuffing after 40 minutes and broil just before serving).