from The Oyster Companion
This stuffing is perfect to accompany a Thanksgiving feast or as a dish on its own with a side salad and an oyster stout. Make sure your bread is day-old. You can always dry fresh bread by arranging it on a large sheet pan and then baking it in a 250F (120C) oven for about 15 minutes, let cool completely before using.
16 sliced bacon
6 tbsp (90 mL) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing the pan
6 shallots, thinly diced
4 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
40 medium New England oysters (Bluepoints or Pemaquid), shucked, liquor reserved
1 cup (500 mL) chicken broth
¼ cup (60 mL) bourbon (Woodford reserve), flamed to reduce the alcohol
1/3 cup (75 mL) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh rosemary
2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh sage leaves
¼ tsp (1 mL) freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) ground cloves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
12 cups crusty bread (French, sourdough, cornbread or a combination, dry-old is best)
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook bacon, stirring frequently, until crisp, about 10 minutes. Add ¼ cup (60 mL) of the butter and heat until melted. Add the shallots and celery, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add oyster liquor, broth, bourbon, parsley, rosemary, thyme, sage, nutmeg, cloves and salt and pepper. Increase heat to high, and bring to a boil; cook, stirring occasionally, for five minutes. Pour this mixture into a large bowl (remember to scrape the pan for the good bits!). Stir in the bread cubes and oysters. Set aside for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to marry.
Preheat the oven to 400F (200C). Spread the mixture evenly in a buttered 10-cup (2.5 L) baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil, drizzle with remaining ¼ cup (60 mL) melted butter over the top and continue baking until the top is golden brown and crusty, about 15 minutes more. Serve immediately.
Nada’s Tips & Tricks: Plan to add this dish to your Thanksgiving dinner – it’s easy and amazingly good. My daughter loves traditional dressing and had second helpings of this recipe. Can’t find oysters? Try other shellfish like crab, shrimp or lobster. Fresh is best, frozen is ok and if you really have to, canned products work!
Recipe excerpt taken from The Oyster Companion by Patrick McMurray, with permission from Firefly Books Ltd. https://www.fireflybooks.com/catalogue/adult-books/cooking-food-drink/product/13797-the-oyster-companion-a-field-guide