Jan Norris: Food and Florida

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Oyster Dressing — at Last!

November 25th, 2008 · 4 Comments

My friend Lila Steinhoff colaborated with her daughter-in-law, Sarah, to come up with a written version of her own mother-in-law’s dressing. So here it is.

Lila writes these notes:

“I have made my own bread crumbs by tearing up bread and toasting it under the broiler…. very time consuming, but if you have children who want to ‘help,’ it can be an adventure. If you do use your own bread crumbs, then you will have to add your favorite seasonings… sage, thyme, etc. And if you make dressing without baking a turkey, use 4 cups of chicken broth in place of the turkey drippings. It makes very good dressing, just not quite as much flavor as using turkey juices.”

Steinhoff’s Oyster Dressing

This recipe has fed 12 people with leftovers. Halve everything, if you have a smaller family.

  • 1 – 16 oz bag seasoned for dressing bread crumbs (I prefer Pepperidge Farms, but any brand would probably work)
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 – 16 oz. tub of shucked oysters (the tubs with a plastic bubble on top)
  • 1/2 cup melted butter or margarine
  • Bag of turkey giblets
  • Drippings from baked turkey (or from boiled giblets), plus enough water to make 4 cups of liquid OR 4 cups of prepared chicken broth


Simmer all giblets (neck, gizzard, liver, heart) in four cups of water. Cook for an hour or so. Let it cool. This will be used for broth in the dressing, or can be used to make giblet gravy to pour over the dressing on the plate.

Simmer celery and onions in two cups of water until the mix is just short of tender, approximately 6 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool.

Empty bread crumbs into large bowl and add the cooled celery and onion mixture, including the remaining liquid in the pan, a dozen eggs, 1/2 cup melted butter and 4 cups of turkey drippings and/or chicken broth. The mixture should be really wet. If it is not, add a little more chicken broth.

Adjust for seasonings. I prefer more sage than the bagged bread crumb dressings usually have, so I add a little. Also, taste BEFORE adding any salt. Prepared bread crumb dressing, turkey drippings and chicken broth all contain salt. Arbitrarily adding more salt can ruin the dressing.

After everything has been mixed well, add the oysters including their liquid. Fold them in carefully, so they don’t tear. Pour the mixture into a greased 9 x 14 baking dish or use a lasagna pan (my preference to prevent leaking over the side) for better containment.

Bake for 60 to 90 minutes at 350 degrees. Check for doneness by inserting a fork in the center to test for wetness. Bake longer if the center is wet.

Dressing will puff up like a cake and will have a light brown crust on top.

(Recipe from Lila Steinhoff, West Palm Beach, Fl.)

Tags: Recipes: What's Cooking!

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 ksteinhoff // Nov 25, 2008 at 9:27 am

    “Halve everything if you have a small family”?


    That’s one of the benefits of HAVING a small family. The dressing lasts longer.

  • 2 Ben // Nov 25, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    I do not care for oysters but this sounds wonderful… should you prepare it for Thursday, save me a bowl!

  • 3 Average Miles in a Typical Thanksgiving Dinner | Palm Beach Bike Tours // Nov 26, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    […] I’m going to think twice before going back for a second helping of my Mom’s Oyster Dressing. […]

  • 4 pest control rates // Jan 23, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    “That’s one of the benefits of HAVING a small family. The dressing lasts longer.”

    I agree, leftovers, whether its the dressing or whole food variety, is always a great thing and very easy to do with a small family.

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