Lynn Shurr/Dressings;Cajun,Sage, Vegan;Stuffed Pork

I have another treat for you with yet another author guest-blogging! Perfect for the Thanksgiving season, Lynn Shurr has offered to spice up your dinner plates with an easy Cajun-style dressing recipe.
Whether you call it dressing or stuffing,(some people are very picky about that word),it is generally eaten in the U.S. at Thanksgiving, roasted inside our traditional turkeys. It is often the favorite part of the meal,(next to the pies).
After I let you meet Lynn and see her easy recipe, you will see my family’s traditional dressing, which can be stuffed in a turkey or chicken, or a modified version for stuffed pork,(chops or loin).I will even give you a vegan version, all of which can baked and eaten as side dishes.
So without further ado….here’s Lynn! Welcome!

I “met” Tonette on FaceBook through a mutual friend, Jeff Salter. We have authorship in common. She likes to cook. I like to eat. And we sort of look alike.
Writing under the name Lynn Shurr (www.lynnshurr.com), I have lived in Cajun Country for over thirty years, but was born and raised in Pennsylvania. I came to Lafayette, Louisiana, to take a job as a reference/interlibrary loan librarian. Eight years later, I left to run a library system thirty miles south of there. On my farewell cake, the staff wrote, “She tasted bayou water”, a way of saying I liked it here and planned to stay. That was very true. I loved the people, the customs, and the food (a little too much). No one does fried better than a Cajun. Oh, those jumbo shrimp in a light, flaky batter and deep fried, juicy turkeys for Thanksgiving. But, did I learn to cook Cajun? Not really. These folks are “from scratch” chefs, and I never had the time. Great local restaurants supply me with all I could want from alligator pasta to zydeco beans.
Though I don’t cook them, delicious imaginary meals show up in all my books which usually take place in New Orleans or Cajun Country. The newly published Queen of the Mardi Gras Ball, a 1920’s historical, contains a description of a Christmas Eve Reveillon feast. In the mystery/romance, Mardi Gras Madness, the young woman lives over a deli specializing in muffuletta sandwiches and hot boudin sausage. She worries about gaining weight, and no wonder!
However, I have learned even Cajun cooks sometimes take shortcuts, and I have used this recipe from a friend often. Rice dressing goes well with meat, fowl, or seafood, but takes over an hour to cook. A note at the end of the more simple recipe says, “This recipe is really good when you don’t feel like making dressing from scratch”. In other words, my kind of cooking. Tonette, sorry about the canned soup!

EASY RICE DRESSING (Cajun Style)

1 pound ground beef
1 cup uncooked rice (do not use instant rice)
1 can cream of mushroom soup or any cream soup
1 can French onion soup

Combine all ingredients very well. Line casserole dish with foil. Empty contents into dish. Place foil tightly on top of dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 90 minutes. Serve. C’est bon!

Canned is OK when we need to enjoy the family and friends, Lynn! That’s what it’s all about here; as a matter of fact,I will have a recipe below using canned cream of celery soup. If one has the time and inclination, they can make French Onion and Cream Soups, but gee, I don’t expect that to happen a lot! One day I will put up a recipe for homemade cream soups…but not today.
(BTW, we have more in common; my mother is from Pennsylvania and I spent many fun-filled summers there!)

I hope you will enjoy Lynn’s recipe and her books. Lynn is also and artist…she’s a lady of many talents.We might be able to persuade her to come back and share Football Party recipes and ideas in the near future.

 

My family’s traditional Sage Dressing was usually made with giblets, that is, chicken and turkey gizzards and hearts, cooked by simmering them with turkey necks and the liver, parsley, onion and celery, with plenty of salt and a little pepper. Cooked for at least 6 hours,(or for 12 in a slow cooker), this yields a rich broth with can be added to the dressing, used to make the turkey gravy and/or used to make wonderful Turkey Noodle or Rice soup, with or without left-over turkey meat, with or without added fresh, frozen or canned vegetables,(discard the ‘spent’ onions and celery; our  pets usually get to eat the liver). The meat of turkey necks is unique and very tasty; if you have not tried it, it is worth the effort to remove it from the bones.(If it  does not come off readily, you haven’t cooked your broth long enough). The meat isn’t pretty,(dark and in long strings), but it is delicious; family members have been know to fight over it or at least be disappointed when they don’t get any.If you don’t like the idea of giblets, you can mince the neck meat and add it to the dressing
However, most of the family now omits the meat from the dressing. Feel free to try to either way.

Traditional Sage Dressing

2 Tbs. butter or margarine
1 large onion, minced
3 lg. ribs of celery, minced
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. celery salt
1 Tbs. ground marjoram
2 Tbs. rubbed or ground sage
1 tsp. gr. pepper (preferably white)
¼ cup milk
1/2 cup turkey broth { chicken broth or chicken bullion can be substituted
2 cups minced giblets(optional)
6+ cups cubed white or light wheat bread{Amount will depend on the texture of your bread and the firmness you desire

Melt the butter or margarine. On medium heat, sauté the onion and celery with the herbs and seasonings until tender. Add the milk and the giblets,(if using). Simmer for about 30 minutes. Stir in bread cubes. Place in turkey or chicken cavity and bake. (Cut the recipe in half for a chicken).

The texture will depend on your individual taste.I prefer mine firmer,some like it moister.Remember that baked within the bird,it will become moister, (and tastier), from the meat juices.Add more bread  or more brothto your taste, and adjust the seasonings.Fell free to add more ground sage at this point.

As a side dish, place the dressing in a baking dish that has been oiled or buttered. Dot top with butter. Cover and bake for one-half hour, remove top and bake another 20 minutes.(If you like it very moist, do not remove the cover). This can be microwaved for 20 minutes on high, but remember, it will not firm -up; make it basically the texture you want before microwaving.

Vegan Version: Use margarine and vegetable broth; omit milk,(or use almond, rice or soy milk).
These can be baked, wrapped well and frozen. One is sitting in my freezer as we speak, wrapped in foil and in a zipper close plastic bag.

Make the standard version for Stuffed Pork by first slicing 6 thick-cut pork chops or pork loin sections, (at least ¾ of an inch thick), almost half-way through. Then sear .To sear, heat butter or margarine to very hot,(do not burn butter; add a little peanut or other vegetable oil).DOT NOT COOK THROUGH; and just brown the chops on the outside. Remove from heat right away and keep warm.
Make a half-measure recipe of the standard traditional Sage Dressing, (without giblets and broth):
Increase the amount of pepper. (Option: omit the sage and add ½ tsp. thyme.)
Dressing needs to be dry. Place dressing in the cavities of the pork chops. Place flat in buttered baking pan,(preferably lined with foil or parchment; if there is extra dressing, place it along side of the chops). Mix 1 can of Cream of Celery soup with equal amount of water,(preferably from deglazing the pan) and pour over the chops. [Deglaze the pork-searing pan by adding 2/3 cup boiling water,(unless you happen to have pork broth), and scraping away all the browned particles; use with the soup.] Bake at 375F for about one hour, 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of your chops. Bone-in chops will take longer, but they will remain moister. This can also be made by layering thin chops or loin slices with dressing in between, but it is hard to sear without over-cooking the chops which can make them tough and dry.
This can be microwaved for about 20 minutes on High Power.
Please check the pork for doneness by cutting a section; it must not be pink at all.

Cutting the bread cubes was the job for we kids on Christmas and Thanksgiving Eve. Even the littlest was kept busy with a butter knife, cutting away at the slices of bread and filling a large pot with it. My mother always made the largest turkey she could get her hands on, never less than 23 pounds, so we cut a LOT of bread.(She once found one that was 34 + for Thanksgiving and a 36+ lb one for Christmas. Even though the oven was large, it would not completely shut. It took my strong uncle to barely lift it out of the oven, hot and stuffed). Since the dressing is cooked on the stove, she would ask us if we’d like pieces of the covered bread, the pieces that she deemed to large to do the finish product justice. Even though we always ate well, we had been smelling the dressing cooking and the soup and all sorts of goodies for days, so yes!, we wanted the dressing. After a couple of years my brother caught on and used to tell me to purposely make some bread pieces too big so that she would pull more out and give them to us!

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24 thoughts on “Lynn Shurr/Dressings;Cajun,Sage, Vegan;Stuffed Pork

  1. jeff7salter

    Great to see you here, Lynn Shurr (whom I know by a diff. name).
    Your column on dressing reallymakes me drool. I’ve always been a dressing fanatic — though I can’t eat it anymore because of the gluten.
    I never liked it too dry, and much preferred dressing without all the celery and things that some people like to dump in.
    But I’ve been known to make a meal of dressing … especially after a big holiday dinner when I’m already tired of the leftover turkey and whatever.

    Reply
      1. jeff7salter

        if the celery chunks are large enough that I can discreetly fish them out and set them aside — I’d be good to go.
        Only, I need the gluten-free version. Ha.

  2. Hotly Spiced

    Hi Tonette, I’m so glad I found you. I had a dreadful commenting system that I’ve now got rid of – I think you told me you had trouble with it (you were one of many). Anyway, the biggest problem I had with it is that people would come through unregistered meaning I only got their name but not their URL. I wanted to visit their blog but couldn’t find them. It was so frustrating and wasted so much of my time. Anyway…I’m here now! I have never cooked rice in that way before! I always cook it in the rice cooker or in a pot of water. I guess cooking it with the other ingredients would allow it to take on great flavour xx

    Reply
  3. tonettejoyce Post author

    Oh, Charlie Louie, I’m glad you’re here! Please check in my August Archives for my post on rice and rice cooking,(“Rice/Lentils”), you might enjoy it; I talk about baking it, as well.
    Your blog today was a RIOT!

    Reply

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