(Secret Family Recipe)
Growing up, my grandfather was the “oyster dressing maker” in our family. I still remember the old-fashioned double stove and all the dreamy scents that would come out of it at Thanksgiving! Even when I was a kid, and as much as I hated oysters, I loved PaPa’s Oyster Dressing.
Over the years, I’ve “tweaked” it a little here and there – mostly because there never was an “official” recipe. But, since I want my children to pass on the tradition, I went ahead and put one together for posterity’s sake, and I thought I’d share it with you!
When you make this recipe, purpose to make memories. First, don’t forget that it will be better if it “meshes” in the oven for at least an hour…maybe more. And be sure to open the oven to “taste test” often – be as dramatic as possible! It makes it taste better. PaPa always made a grand affair of “his” oyster dressing “taste tests.” We all gathered to watch his expressions, and were drooling by the time we took our first bite…even those who claimed not to like oysters!
For those who “think” they don’t like oysters, please note, this dish has been a hit with even the most ardent “oyster haters.” You have to try it to believe it! Enjoy!
- 4 lb. Ground breakfast sausage, browned and drained (No MSG!)
- Turkey giblets
- Fresh chopped garlic
- 3 diced onions
- 2 C. diced celery
- 2 diced bell peppers
- 2 C. chopped green onion
- 2 C. uncooked basmati rice
- 2-3 pints of fresh oysters with the liquor (chopped)
- Dark roux (made with flour and sausage drippings – you can make this gluten free)
- 2 C. Homemade rich turkey stock (Important! I usually make a turkey bone broth)
- Cajun seasoning (to taste)
- Cayenne (to taste)
- Powdered garlic (to taste)
- Himalayan Sea Salt (only add salt if your cajun seasoning doesn’t have any, or else it could be too salty)
- 3-4 bay leaves
- 3-4 drops Black Pepper Vitality essential oil (Young Living)*
- 1-2 drop Marjoram Vitality essential oil (Young Living)*
- 1-2 drops Clove Vitality essential oil (Young Living)*
- 2-3 drops Thyme Vitality essential oil (Young Living)*
Cook rice, fluff, and set aside. Brown sausage and drain into pan for making a roux. Prepare roux using sausage drippings (or avocado oil) until dark brown (the color of a dirty penny). A cast iron pot works well for this!
Sauté white onion, garlic, celery, and bell pepper in the finished roux. Add green onion and sauté about 3 minutes. Whisk in turkey stock, chopped giblets, and seasonings. When thickened to a thin gravy consistency add fresh oysters (might want to cut up if they’re large). Slowly add cooked sausage and cooked basmati rice and mix well.
Add seasonings. Just when you think you have enough cajun seasoning and cayenne, add more!
Give mixture time for seasonings to soak into the rice. As it thickens, add oyster liquor (broth). Keep warm in the oven until ready to serve, adding more turkey broth if needed.
*Before discovering Young Living essential oils, I used 1-2 capfuls of Zatarain’s Liquid Crab Boil. The original concentrate contained the essential oils cayenne, bay leaves, clove, black pepper, thyme, and marjoram, but in recent years, the wording has changed from “essential oil” to extract.
And while I loved the flavor kick it gave my cajun foods, I discovered it now also contains ingredients I don’t want…like Polysorbate 80, “spice extractives,” “natural & artificial flavor,” and caramel coloring. So I use my Young Living oils to duplicate without all the “yuck.”
Note: I only recommend Young Living essential oils in recipes, since they are pure enough to use internally. Other essential oils brands can be toxic.