November 24, 2009

Oyster (un)Stuffing

25 slices torn sandwich bread
1 pint shucked oysters, drained (reserve liquid)
2 large onions, diced (about 1 lb)
1 bunch celery, diced (about 1 lb)
1 bunch parsley, minced
1/2 cup chicken or turkey stock
2 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon sea salt
zest of one lemon

In a large pan, saute celery and onions in butter and olive oil over very low heat until the onions are translucent. Do not brown. Allow to cool slightly. Add to bread cubes in bowl and add spices, zest and parsley. Combine with egg, oysters and broth. Add oyster liquor to further moisten if necessary. Form medium-sized balls. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Place balls in the bottom of the roasting pan under the rack and around the turkey on the rack for the last 1/2 hour of roasting.

Yield: 8-10 servings
My thoughts:
I've always heard about oyster stuffing and its popularity, especially here in the mid-Atlantic but never actually had it until I made this. I grew up eating a more basic stuffing but as an adult I've branched out a bit while still making the stuffing into balls and arranging them around the turkey. It really is the best way to get the flavor of the turkey without compromising the cooking time or safety of the turkey. Anyway, I am not sure what traditional ingredients are in oyster stuffing besides oysters so I added my favorites, celery seed and lemon zest along with some basic seasonings. I loved it. The oysters added a great flavor and made the stuffing seem extra special and worth the effort. Not to mention it was a great excuse to buy some local, Chesapeake Bay oysters which I always appreciate.