Monday, November 19, 2018

Revisiting Dressing

I am so proud of my fellow Mystery Lovers' Kitchen authors. Every day I look forward to seeing the delicious Thanksgiving dish they have posted. Wouldn't it be fabulous to have a Mystery Lovers' Kitchen gathering with all these dishes? I want to try them all!

For the past few years I have been experimenting with dressing. Last Thanksgiving I made a sausage dressing, which was surprisingly the most flavorless of all. I had expected fabulous strong flavors but it was positively bland. This year I went online and looked through dressing recipes in search of inspiration. Oddly enough, what I found was a huge wave returning to the basics. It seemed like I wasn't the only one who though the basics were the best.

So I went back to basics, too. I made a few changes, though. I intentionally used few ingredients. I used Challah, which is a bread that I absolutely love. And instead of toasting the Challah, I sliced it and let it sit out for a day to get a little bit dry.

We're having a small Thanksgiving this year, so I intentionally made about half the dressing I usually fix. Dressing is always a big chore for me when I'm cooking everything else. So this year I prepared it ahead of time. I froze the dressing and popped it into the oven to try. It was delicious. So full of flavor. We're looking forward to having it for Thanksgiving. Obviously, if you need more, just double the recipe.

I fried the bacon in a very large pan, poured out the bacon grease and used the pan to melt the butter and cook the onions, so the little bits of bacon stuck to the pan came up and helped flavor the dish. If you cook your bacon using a different method, save a couple of tablespoons of bacon grease and add them to the pan with the butter.

How much chicken broth to use will depend on your bread. I prepared two cups of broth, but wound up using a little less than 1 1/2 cups. The idea is to moisten the bread. Start with about a cup. Stir it well and then see if you need more. If it gets too moist, add bread. If it's too dry, add broth.

Krista's Basic Dressing
10 servings

6-8 slices bacon
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
8 ounces (1/2 loaf) Challah (7-8 cups)
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon Better Than Bouillon
olive oil

Slice the Challah and let it air dry for about a day.

Fry the bacon in a large pan, set the cooked bacon aside, and drain the bacon grease from the pan. Add the butter, the chopped onions, the sliced celery, the sage, and thyme and cook for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, using a serrated knife, slice the Challah into 1/2 inch chunks. Crumble the bacon into the onion mixture. At this point I added a little pepper and salt. Remove from burner and add the bread. If your pan isn't big enough, use a large bowl.

Stir the Better Than Bouillon into the broth. Pour half of the broth mixture over the bread and mix well. Add as much more liquid as you need without making it soggy.

Use the olive oil to grease a cupcake pan. Form the dressing into 2-3 inch balls, and place them in it. If you are making it in advance, freeze the cupcake pan until they are firm enough to wrap separately in wax paper and place in a freezer bag.

Bake frozen dressing balls at 400 for 30 minutes.

Mmm, bacon!

1 cup celery

The sage and thyme add so much flavor!

10 servings

I love these single serving dressing balls!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Coming November 27th!


  1. Your variation of dressing sounds absolutely delicious. I will definitely try it. Here in Canada, there are regional favourites - my husband and daughters in law are from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, (provinces in the Maritimes), where they use mashed potatoes as well as whatever bread choice is in the dressing. So we alternate each year. I use dried summer savoury and also what the family jokingly refers too as "Simon and Garfunkle" - parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme! I too use olive oil and chicken broth. I love your individual muffin pan servings; only problem for us would be everyone wanting three each! Looking forward to your colouring book - hope it is available in Canada! Yours, the ever-anonymous Nancy R in Ottawa.

    1. That's so cute. I love calling it Simon and Garfunkle! I often think of the song when I'm selecting herbs. I'm sure my book will be available in Canada. If not, I know that Book Depository is carrying it and they ship worldwide for free!

    2. The French Canadian side of my family has always made what they call "French dressing" with a mashed potato base, instead of bread. And added ground meats and seasonings. Similar to the filling of a tortiere. It's divine!

  2. I now have a dressing recipe for Thanksgiving. Thanks so much, Krista, and Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Crossing my fingers that it turns out as well for you as it did for me, Celia! We're looking forward to having it again on Thanksgiving!

  3. Somehow I've never had stuffing with bacon in it, but it's genius! I'm in charge of the stuffing this year and I think I'll give your recipe a try. Thanks for sharing, Krista! Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. I recently made a dish that included sausage and found it was less exciting than I'd expected.
    Bacon sounds like a great alternative. Non-pork eaters can try turkey bacon for flavor.
    The individual servings are great fun. Think of all the extra crunchy bits!

    1. PS How long do they cook if they are not frozen?

  5. Thanks for sharing this yummy looking dressing.I made something similar with corn bread instead of challah.It was so gooooood !I can't wait to try your recipe with challah.

  6. Dressing is a must for our Thanksgiving dinner, Krista, and I love your culinary ideas. Challah is a wonderful bread, it must be divine in that dressing, and the addition of bacon is brilliant. Marc and I wish you and your loved ones a very happy Thanksgiving!