Thursday, December 24, 2015

Cookbook Thursday: Oyster dressing by Leah Chase

We’re deviating from reviewing cookbooks this week, offering a fabulous oyster dressing recipe by Chef Leah Chase perfect for your Christmas dinner. This recipe comes via the Louisiana Travel web site and Louisiana Kitchen and Culture Magazine. Chase, owner of Dookie Chase Restaurant in New Orleans, is known as the “Queen of Creole cuisine.”

Photo Louisiana Kitchen and Culture Magazine
Holiday Oyster Dressing by Leah Chase
2 pints fresh oysters in liquid
1 pound ground round
10 slices day-old white sandwich bread
3/4 cup water
2 sticks butter
1/2 cup diced onions
1/2 cup diced celery
1/4 cup diced green bell pepper 
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper 
2 tablespoons minced garlic 
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves 
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper salt to taste 
1/4 cup chopped parsley 
2 whole eggs, beaten 
3/4 cup seasoned Italian breadcrumbs 
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drain oysters, reserving liquid and coarsely chop. Break bread into 1-inch cubes and place in large mixing bowl. Add oyster liquid and 3/4 cup water. Allow bread to soak until water is absorbed.

In a large cast iron skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add ground meat and stir constantly until golden brown. Ground meat should be well-browned, 15-20 minutes. Add onions, celery bell peppers and garlic.  Saute 3-5 minutes or until vegetables are wilted. Add bread, any remaining liquid from bowl and chopped oysters. Blend well into vegetable mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, for approximately 15-20 minutes. Season to taste using thyme, cayenne pepper salt and parsley.
 Pour mixture into mixing bowl. 
Stir and cool slightly, 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beaten eggs, blending quickly into warm mixture to keep from scrambling. Pour mixture into 9 x 13-inch baking pan and top with breadcrumbs.  Bake until golden brown, approximately 30 minutes. Serves 6 to 8.
            Chef's note: Leah Chase suggests placing the bread slices on a cookie sheet covered with clear wrap one to two days prior to making this stuffing or use day-old or stale bread.

Cheré Dastugue Coen is the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” She also writes Louisiana romances under the pen name of Cherie Claire, “A Cajun Dream” and “The Letter.” Write her at cherecoen@gmail.com.