Turkey Stuffed with Cornbread Dressing and Gravy

My mother made this dressing or stuffing all my life, so of course, it is my go-to! I have modified it slightly, but the overall essence is there. No disrespect to my mother, I have never not modified any recipe. Just as a note, she approved of all modifications!
Turkey Stuffed with Cornbread Dressing and Gravy | Dishin' With Darla

Ground sausage is very good in this dressing recipe, but omitting is fine too. Oysters do well in this as well because of the cornbread. 

This recipe is good for stuffing all poultry and pork, as well. 

A note about stuffing versus serving on the side. I am from the North, so we stuff, versus the South which is known to put in a casserole and bake. The origin of course is colder weather and refrigeration. Deciding what you want to do is largely preference and nostalgia. However, stuffed is considerably better for a moister and more flavorful stuffing.

If you have never stuffed poultry here are a few tips that are critical:

  • Stuff the poultry or pork RIGHT BEFORE you put in the oven. Why: raw juices will soak into the dressing and be harder to kill the bacteria in the stuffing itself.
  • I make the stuffing the day before but under 24 hours because of the raw egg (minus the sausage) for the most flavor as anything gets more flavorful as spices set it. Of course, retaste prior to stuffing.

Serving Suggestions 

  • Serve with poultry and mashed potatoes!
Darla with her Turkey Stuffed with Cornbread Dressing and Gravy | Dishin' With Darla

Turkey Stuffed with Cornbread Dressing and Gravy

My mother made this dressing or stuffing all my life, so of course, it is my go-to! I have modified it slightly, but the overall essence is there. No disrespect to my mother, I have never not modified any recipe. Just as a note, she approved of all modifications!
Prep Time2 hrs
Cook Time8 hrs
Total Time10 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 people

Equipment

  • Large roaster
  • Baking sheets

Ingredients

  • 1 large turkey

Stuffing

  • 1.5 loaves light whole wheat bread
  • 1 cast iron skillet of cornbread (unsweetened)
  • Half a bunch of celery (diced)
  • 2 sweet onions (diced)
  • 2 sticks real butter
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 T dried RUBBED sage
  • 2 t thyme
  • 2 t salt
  • 2 t pepper
  • 1 lb ground sausage (cooked with fat discarded. Set aside, when cooled, place in the refrigerator)
  • Sautéed veggies in two sticks of butter (cooled)

Gravy

  • 4 T butter
  • 4 T flour
  • 2 t salt
  • 1 t pepper
  • ½ t thyme (ground)
  • ½ t sage (ground)
  • 2 c chicken broth (or stock in case turkey does expel a lot of juices)

Instructions

Stuffing

  • Bake whole wheat bread in the oven until dark brown, flipping once halfway through.
  • Cool completely, then crumble into bite-sized pieces.
  • Place in a large bowl.
  • Make 1 cast iron skillet of homemade cornbread minus any sugar or honey.
  • Cool completely, then crumble.
  • Add to the bowl with the crumbled bread.
  • Sautée celery and onion in butter on medium-low, not letting butter brown.
  • Cook until celery is softened but still green and onions start to get translucent.
  • Set aside to cool completely.
  • Add cooled veggies to the bread and cornbread bowl. Mix to combine.
  • Add stuffing seasonings.
  • Taste. If the sage is not highly evident, add more. Thyme should be more subtle. Salt and pepper liberally.
  • Add 8 beaten eggs, then blend. You should be able to make a ball with it, but not a tight ball. Damp, but not drenched. It should still stir and be in separate pieces.
  • Add more eggs if needed for it to make a “snowball”.
  • Taste. Season. Refrigerate.
  • *Note: If you’re concerned about the raw egg, omit tasting. Just make sure you taste prior to adding egg.
  • Right before stuffing turkey, add cooked sausage and taste.

Turkey

  • *Note: Even a fresh turkey is flash frozen. Make sure to unwrap in the morning to make sure the inner cavity is not frozen.
  • Stuff the turkey right before you are scheduled to put it in the oven.
  • Stuff the neck area first. Stuff is very full so it is bursting at the seams. Sew flap down with a heavy string to close the cavity.
  • Put the remainder of stuffing in the body cavity. Sew fatty neck skin over opening.
  • Place in the roaster.
  • Paint olive oil on the bird.
  • Season turkey with sage, thyme, paprika, salt and pepper.
  • Cook on 250 for about 6 hours. Remove when the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 162 degrees.
  • If you’re uncomfortable cooking poultry on such a low temperature, increase the temperature until you are comfortable, but don’t go over 350 degrees. Or, cook for the first hour at 350 degrees then lower to 250 for the remainder of time until the internal temperature is 162 degrees.
  • Remove from the pan and cover with foil temporarily.

Gravy

  • Add the same amount of hot water in the roaster as is meat juices. Scrape the bottom of the pan to get all the bits of flavor.
  • Add broth if you are short of the 2 cups once water is added in the pan.
  • Stir with a whisk to incorporate the flavors.
  • Make a roux of 4 T of butter and 4 T of flour for every 2 cups of liquid in a pan on low heat.
  • When butter and flour are white and bubbly, let it cook for another minute or two.
  • Pour in the juices.
  • Place poultry back into the roaster and cover.
  • Whisk gravy and turn up the heat to medium or medium-high.
  • A low boil will happen in a few minutes. Let it soft boil for 2 minutes, whisking as it thickens.
  • Turn down to medium-low and cook to thicken to desired thickness.
  • If it just doesn’t thicken, add more roux.
  • If you didn’t get enough juices or it’s too thick, add boxed or canned chicken broth.
  • Season with salt, pepper, ground thyme, and ground sage.
  • Serve and ENJOY!

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