Hmmmm much to consider. I make stuffing, not dressing. It's been many decades since I had "dressing" and nearest I can recall it was very dry, hard, and essentially tasted like funky flavored cornbread... I like cornbread, specially with just plain butter on it, but the dressing I had... not so much, sorry Sorry, but really unimpressed with polenta as well.
Mine (stuffing) goes in the bird (also gets eaten raw which leaves less room for eating when the meal is done). Any extra will go in a pan with either butter, turkey grease (gravy) or excess skin from the bird on top for flavor and then gets baked. Decades and decades ago when I was a kid, my mom would cook/dice up the innards to add to the stuffing, but switched over to using lean hamburger to add flavor and save time, so that's what I use now. I've never really been a fan of the texture or flavor of cooked guts. I do use them to make soup/stock along with the necks then they go to the dogs. The dogs love em... but then dogs love a LOT of things that I wouldn't eat....
I start by staling a large loaf of bread for 3-5 days before turkey day. Soak about 1/2 - 3/4 of stale bread in very cold water till squishy, then squeeze as much water out as possible, crunch/crumble up the remainder of the stale bread and mix in (not to dust, but leaving almost like crouton size). More crumbs = dryer stuffing, less = moister. You can (I often do) also use different breads for different textures/flavors. Add in diced celery, diced onion, poultry seasoning (or combinations of sage, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, touch of nutmeg), little garlic powder, parsley, salt (I use celery salt for part), pepper, cooked ground beef (seasoned with onion powder and garlic powder), 4-6 raw eggs (binding agent). When it's all said and done, the stuffing is about 1/2 bread and the remaining 1/2 is mostly the veggies and hamburger. When cooked inside the turkey to perfection, it should come out moist but not soggy, and the celery should still have just a bit of "crunch" to it. All the herbs add flavor to the bird as well.
The gravy is made from the turkey drippings and all associated stuff in the pan (stuffing over flow etc.). Take some white flour, whisk in boiling water, then add to the drippings in the turkey pan and heat to boiling on the stove top, whisking continuously while cooking. If there's a lot of "big" stuff, I'll strain out the gravy, otherwise the whole batch gets poured into a bowl and Yummm! It gets used liberally on just about everything on the plate!
Hope everybody was able to leave the table with full bellies yesterday! We have a lot of blessings here to be thankful for. SCG, Hope you and BF get a chance to sit down to a "Thanksgiving like" meal sooner rather than later. Thanks for working holidays and looking out for our Veterans!
Edited by Latestarter - 11/27/15 at 9:42am