Oyster dressing is my personal favorite Thanksgiving side. It’s about the wondrous flavor, enhanced by decades of loving preparation by Mamaw. My wife carries on the family tradition, though she doesn’t like oysters and taught me how to make it. Now we prepare the Thanksgiving feast together.
A favorite chef , Ed Lee was booted from Top Chef competition because he used canned oysters. They are the critical ingredient and that’s why we use fresh and shuck them ourselves. The quality of pre-shucked canned or jarred cannot match the flavor of live oysters.
Let’s Make Oyster Dressing!
Freshly shucked oysters deliver the earthy flavor as a substitute for the giblets in many dressings. They make all the difference in the world, avoiding that metallic taste of pre-shucked and the effort is well worth it.
Shuck ’em and save the oyster liquor. Separate the oysters and the liquor and strain the liquor to remove any bits of shell.
Toast the bread, tear it into bite-size pieces and set aside in a large mixing bowl to cool
Sauté the onion and celery until it’s soft and just beginning to brown, then fold it into the toasted bread.
Whisk together the chicken broth, reserved oyster liquor and seasonings, then drizzle it a quarter cup at a time while gently turning the bread until it is all wetted, but not sloppy. Fold in the shucked oysters to evenly distribute them throughout the dressing.
Cover and bake at 350 for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake 10-15 minutes more until there is a light crust on top.
Traditional Thanksgiving Oyster Dressing
- Prep Time: 60
- Cook Time: 45
- Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
- Yield: 8-12 servings 1x
- 1 lb loaf white bread
- 1–1/2 cup celery – chopped
- 2–1/2 cups yellow onion – chopped
- 24 fresh oysters – shucked and roughly chopped
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup reserved oyster liquor – strained
- 2–1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1 stick butter
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tsp chopped thyme
- 1–1/2 tsp chopped sage
- Preheat oven to 350
- Toast the bread to remove the moisture, tear it into bite size pieces and set aside in a large bowl and let it cool
- Shuck the oysters, separate, strain and reserve the liquor
- Melt the butter, cover and saute the onion and celery on medium low heat until softened, about 15 minutes, then uncover and stir occasionally until it’s barely beginning to brown
- Fold the celery and onion into the toasted bread
- Whisk together the oyster liquor, chicken broth and seasonings, then drizzle and fold into the bread mixture a quarter cup at a time until it is thoroughly wetted, but not sloppy. Discard any excess broth, or add more chicken broth if not wet enough
- Gently fold in the chopped oysters a few at a time and evenly distribute them throughout the mix
- Spread evenly into a 9″ x 11″ baking dish
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake 10-15 minutes more until the top is slightly crusted