It is hard to describe in words how good this Cranberry Orange Pecan Turkey Dressing is!
It is very forgiving quantity wise. There is kind of a formula for dressing:
- about 1 cup of bread cubes per person
- 1 cup of soft vegetables per 4 cups of bread- think onion and/or celery or apple etc
- 2 Tbsps of butter per cup of vegetables above
- seasoning -about 1 tablespoon each dried sage and thyme per 8 cups of bread or 2 Tbsps each fresh herbs
- accents - ¾ to 1 cup each - pecans, cranberries, chestnuts etc
I just made this up as I went along because I wanted it to complement this Roast Turkey with Balsamic, Fig, Orange Glaze.
And -it was a winning combination if I do say so myself!
You can use pretty much any bread but I like a combination of interesting breads - a bit of white bread, a bit of light rye, cornbread would work too. A fairly dense, dry bread will help the dressing keeps it's shape and not turn into mush inside the turkey.
The fresh cranberries in this give a really nice tart burst every few bites! It was so flavourful I didn't even serve regular cranberry sauce with this. Of course you could if you want but I didn't feel the need!
You can use a fresh naval orange or big juicy mandarin oranges. I used about 4 mandarin oranges to get the right amount of juice and zest.
Don't have or like pecans? You can leave them out.
The one thing I wouldn't change is the fresh cranberries - they really make this dressing pop! (Literally!)
This would also be great to stuff Cornish Hens or a Roaster Chicken. You would probably only need about half of the recipe for 4 hens or 1 roaster.
Once you taste this you'll be looking for things to stuff with this!!
- 8 cups bread in 1" cubes use a mixture of white and other interesting dense bread
- ⅓ cup butter
- 2 cups onions, diced or 1 cup onion + 1 cup celery
- 1 tablespoon dried sage or 2 Tbsps fresh
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme or 2 Tbsps fresh
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- ¼ cup fresh orange juice
- zest of 1 orange
- ¾ cup pecan pieces
- Let bread cubes dry out overnight or toast about 8 minutes at 350 degrees in a single layer. You want the consistency of breakfast toast on all sides (not as dry as croutons!)
- Sauté the vegetables in the butter over medium heat until soft -about 8 minutes. Add the spices to the vegetable mixture and still till dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the orange juice.
- Add the bread cubes to a big bowl. Stir in the vegetable, orange and spice mixture. Add the cranberries and pecans and stir.
- Pack the dressing into the turkey cavity and neck area and follow instructions for roasting your turkey.
- Note: If you want make the dressing in casserole dish on the side then add an additional ⅔ cup of melted butter or chicken broth to the bread mixture. Spray and 9 X 13" pan and bake @ 350 degrees, covered for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake another 15 minutes.