If you are looking for a traditional Thanksgiving turkey with a flavorful, but simple stuffing, Butterball’s 7-Grain and Squash Stuffing Turkey recipe (you can find it here on Butterball’s Pinterest page) is your new go to recipe. The stuffing recipe is great for a cook looking to step away from the pre-made stuffing and is ready to venture into creating their own dressing. Sometimes the terms dressing and stuffing are used interchangeably, but in general, stuffing refers to a bread and seasoning mixture that is cooked inside the turkey, while dressing would be the exact same bread mixture, only cooked outside of the turkey.
As long as you remember to check the temperature of the stuffing with a meat thermometer, cooking a stuffed turkey is perfectly safe. Remember the stuffing temperature should read 165°F.
Personally, I like my Thanksgiving side dish both ways, I enjoy the moistness that comes from the turkey, but I also take delight in the delicious and crisp crust that develops on dressing that is cooked in a pan or in a disposable pan like the Hefty EZ Foil pan. Do whatever works for you, just remember to be careful and never cross contaminate. Avoiding cross-contamination is simple: once your turkey has been stuffed and is ready for the oven, be sure to wash your hands, your utensils, and the food preparation area thoroughly to prevent any exciting “that year we all went to the ER” Thanksgiving memories.
Turkey with 7-Grain Bread and Squash Stuffing: Squash, kale, and smoke flavored almonds combined with 7-grain bread cubes for the turkey stuffing – yum!
Preparation time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cooking time: 5 hours 45 minutes
Makes: 6 servings (6 ounces turkey and 1/2 cup stuffing each)
*7-grain bread slices (15 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 8 cups)
*1/3 cup margarine-stick
*1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
*1 cup chopped celery
*4 cups moderately packed chopped fresh kale
*1 medium butternut squash (about 1-1/2 pounds), peeled, seeded and cubed
*2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage, or 2 teaspoons rubbed dried
*3/4 teaspoon salt
*1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
*1/2 cup smoke-flavored almonds (from 6-ounce can), chopped
*1 can (14.5 ounces) chicken broth
*1 Butterball® Turkey (16 pounds), thawed if frozen
*Fresh sage leaves (optional)
*No-stick cooking spray
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread bread cubes onto bottom of large shallow baking pan or a Hefty EZ Foil pan (for easy clean up). Bake 30 minutes, or until lightly browned and dried, stirring occasionally.
2. Melt margarine in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and celery; cook and stir 5 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Add kale and squash; stir to combine. Cover; cook 6 minutes, or until kale wilts, stirring occasionally. Stir in chopped sage, salt and pepper.
3. Place browned bread cubes in large bowl. Add vegetable mixture, almonds and broth; toss to combine.
4. Remove neck and giblets from body and neck cavities of turkey; refrigerate for another use or discard. Drain juices from turkey; pat dry with paper towels. Fill neck cavity with part of the stuffing. Turn wings back to hold neck skin against back of turkey. Fill body cavity completely with stuffing. If desired, loosen skin from breast by carefully working fingers under skin over breast. Place several whole sage leaves on breast under skin. Secure edge of skin with toothpicks. Place turkey, breast up, on flat roasting rack in shallow roasting pan. Spray turkey with cooking spray.
5. Bake 4 to 4-1/2 hours, or until meat thermometer reaches 165°F when inserted in center of stuffing and reaches 180°F when inserted in deepest part of thigh, covering breast and tops of drumsticks with aluminum foil after 2-1/2 hours to prevent overcooking of breast. Let stand 15 minutes before removing stuffing and carving.
Quick Notes: Place small piece of Reynolds® Aluminum Foil over skin of the breast over stuffing at body cavity opening to prevent over browning during baking. Place any extra stuffing in casserole dish. Cover and refrigerate until ready to bake. Bake, covered, at 325°F 30 minutes, or until meat thermometer reaches 160°F when placed in center of stuffing.
What is your favorite? Dressing or stuffing? Do you prefer cornbread or traditional? My favorite stuffing has cornbread and Andouille sausage, sometimes I even get a little wild and add shrimp and use shrimp stock in place of the chicken broth. Delicious.