Whether you’re a seafood person or not you can take something from this recipe because you can easily substitute oysters with extra portabella mushrooms, various meats, or meat substitutes.
Dressing is the Southern word for stuffing and is mostly served during Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, but it can be served anytime especially when you’re seeking a side dish that goes with fish, pork, chicken, or beef.
Growing up in the Bayou, Mama would simply call the oyster man and order a gallon of shucked oysters. Our last oysterman happened to have the last name of Seaman and lived on Seaman drive off Little River Road just before Snake Bayou. We would make chicken and oyster gumbo, oyster stew, and fried oysters. Can you image a gallon of oysters being eaten by a family of five? – Oh and my sister Ginger didn’t partake so technically it was four people eating a gallon of shucked oysters. Now nouveau oysters are hitting the market like Murder Points and Pointe Aux Pins from the Alabama coast. These smaller oysters compete with East Coast variety and do very well and are meant to be eaten on the half-shell raw. I was fortunate enough to run across Murder Points at a restaurant in Mobile, AL when I was down visiting last.
For this recipe you will need to 2 freshly shucked pints of any oyster. If they are huge they can be chopped in 1/2. *Huge being the size of my hand and indigenous Gulf Coast fatties.
The day before you make your dressing, bake some plain old cornbread – 2 cups of yellow corn meal with baking powder, egg, oil, and buttermilk. No flour or other ingredients needed. Go ahead and make a huge batch of biscuits for your family the same morning and save 5-6 biscuits for the dressing. That recipe can be found here.
- 1.5 large Vidalia onion chopped
- 3 ribs of celery chopped with leaves
- a hand full of flat leaf parsley chopped.
- one pint container of baby portabella mushrooms chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic chopped. (I like to have a jar of fire roasted handy)
- 3 tablespoons of fresh chopped sage
- 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon of a cajun seasoning. I prefer Konriko Brand Creole Seasoning
- 4-5 dashes of nutmeg
- 1.5 teaspoons of Tabasco Chipotle Hot Sauce
- 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 cup of chicken, turkey, or vegetable stock.
- 3/4 cup of milk
- 2 pints of oysters with the liquor
- 3 large eggs beaten
- 10-15 roasted chestnuts (these can be easily purchased in jars or vacuumed sealed packs now)
- 1/2 pound of smoked bacon.
- 1 stick of unsalted butter
- 5 fluffy cups of stale biscuits
- Cubed pan of cornbread made from 2 cups of cornmeal. It adds up to be about 5-6 cups.
In a baking pan lay out the bacon slices and cook at 400° until crispy. Remove bacon and lay flat on paper towels. Pour the bacon fat into an iron skillet and heat. Add the chopped onion and celery with 1/2 of the cajun seasoning. Sauté till translucent 5-8 minutes.
In a separate large mixing bowl toss the chopped parsley, mushrooms, garlic, sage, thyme, remaining cajun seasoning, Tabasco, and Worcestershire. Chop the crisp bacon and toss.
The cornbread and biscuits from the day before can sit out all day and get stale. Cube the cornbread. I use a pizza cutter to cube the pan of cornbread. Break your biscuits up until you have about 5 fluffed cups of broken biscuit. Set aside cornbread and biscuit.
To the mixing bowl add celery, onion, all the juices from the sauté pan, cornbread, biscuits, and 2 pints of oysters with all the liquor. Toss gently. Use your hands.
Whisk stock, milk, and eggs until smooth. Add to mixing bowl and mix gently with hands.
Pour contents of mixing bowl into a large buttered baking dish. Dollop the dressing with a full stick of cubed unsalted butter. Cover with foil and place in preheated 350° oven for 40-50 minutes until the edges are brown. Halfway through baking remove the foil.
Serve Hot. Make sure Tabasco or Crystal hot sauce is on the table. I also like to place oysters shells on the table; one filled with ground salt and one filled with ground black pepper.