Old-Fashioned Southern Giblet Dressing

Old-Fashioned Southern Giblet Dressing
Dennis Gottlieb Photolibrary/Getty Images
  • Total: 60 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 45 mins
  • Yield: 8 servings

After you thaw the turkey, don't toss the package of giblets inside the cavity—despite their unappealing look, giblets can be an essential part of a flavorful Thanksgiving meal. Not only can the giblets—which consist of heart, liver, gizzard, and neck—be used to make gravy, they also pump up the flavor of old-fashioned Southern dressing.

What's the difference between dressing and stuffing? The names might give you a clue. The dressing is cooked outside the turkey, while stuffing is cooked inside the bird. However, in many locations, the terms are used interchangeably, though both are nearly always referred to as "dressing" in the South.

Ingredients

  • Giblets from 1 turkey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup onion (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup celery (finely chopped)
  • 1 cup pecans (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 8 cups dry breadcrumbs (about 14 slices of bread)
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt (or celery salt)
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a saucepan, combine giblets, but not the liver, with enough water to cover and salt.

  3. Cover and simmer for about 2 hours, until tender.

  4. Add the liver from the giblets; cover and simmer for 25 minutes longer. Cool giblets and broth slightly.

  5. Remove and chop giblets; set aside and reserve 1 cup of the broth.

  6. Preheat oven to 350 F.

  7. Melt butter in a skillet over medium-low heat, and cook the onion and celery until tender. In a large bowl, combine the vegetable mixture with the breadcrumbs, chopped giblets, seasoned salt, poultry seasoning, and pepper. Add reserved broth, tossing lightly to moisten.

  8. Spoon into a buttered 2-quart baking dish. Cover tightly and bake in preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes.

  9. Serve and enjoy!

Tips

  • The best stuffing is made with stale bread, as it keeps the dressing from becoming mushy. Pull out the bread three to four days in advance and let it dry out on the counter. If you don't have enough time, cut the bread into cubes, arrange it on a baking sheet, and toast it in the oven set to 200 degrees F.
  • It's easy to overseason the dressing when you're using store-bought stock and salted butter. Take care not to oversalt the dressing using regular kosher or sea salt.
  • The amount of stock to use in the dressing varies, so add a little bit at a time until it seems right. The dressing should be moist—not soggy and not dry. Pour in a half-cup of liquid and watch to see if the bread absorbs it.
  • Don't add too many extra ingredients. The bread works as a binder, but if there are too many extras in there, the stuffing will fall apart.

Recipe Variations

  • In-the-turkey stuffing: Instead of spooning the dressing into a baking dish, it can be stuffed inside a 10- to 12-pound turkey and bake for 3 1/4 to 3 1/2 hours, until a thermometer inserted into the stuffing reaches 165 degrees F. Keep in mind, when you're cooking stuffing inside the turkey, food safety is of utmost importance.
  • Cornbread dressing: Replace the dry breadcrumbs with stale cornbread crumbs.