Recipe: Rice with sausage stuffing and traditional dressing by David Theiss

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Tomato, “tomahto,” potato, “potahto,” stuffing or dressing or something like that. So, what’s the difference? Some say it’s whether or not it’s cooked in the turkey (ergo stuffing) or prepared outside the turkey and calling it dressing.

It has also been said anything south of the Mason-Dixon line is called dressing, as stuffing sounds unpleasant. That may be the case, but this term is used all the time in cooking: stuffed chicken, stuffed pork chops, stuffed veal breast, etc.

While either term may be used interchangeably, they both bring a delicious side dish to mind, usually prepared with and associated with a special dinner.

History reveals to us it has been around for centuries with its first evidence in a Roman cookbook. In that time many foods were used for stuffing like seafood, rabbit, liver, brains, and little — if any — bread or starch.

A 13th century cookbook had a recipe for a ram stuffed with small birds, and another recipe with a camel stuffed with sheep stuffed with bustards stuffed with carp stuffed with eggs. I guess making “turduckens” for holiday meals isn’t so bad then. Sounds like you’re feeding an army and lots of work.

Today’s stuffings are a little simpler, usually bread or rice with vegetables, seasonings and broth with maybe a few other simple ingredients. Of course, ingredients change regionally. Here’s a few I’ve seen that aren’t too crazy: apples, figs, squash, bacon, quite a few different kinds of sausages (from spicy to mild), corn bread, sourdough, onions, celery, rice, chestnuts, and oysters, to name a few.

I’m sure the debate will go on between stuffing or dressing, but one thing is for sure: They sure are delicious side dishes for any meal!

Today I have two recipes for you. One I always use and like, traditional and super simple, and one with rice and sausage our family has made for years.

Rice with sausage stuffing


2 cups wild rice

4 cups chicken broth

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 stalk celery, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon ground sage

1/2 teaspoon ground thyme

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons salted butter


Start the rice first. Rice cookers work great. If using a pot, combine rice, all of the chicken broth and butter. Give it a quick stir, bring to boil, then turn down to a low simmer with lid on — it takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes.

In a fry pan, cook sausage and crumble while cooking, just to get the red out. Scoop out the sausage, reserving the fat to sauté the onions and celery for about 8-10 minutes until translucent.

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients, including rice and sausage, and fold over until well mixed. At this point you may stuff the turkey cavity with the stuffing loosely and roast the turkey as usual. Or you can bake it in a baking dish in the oven separately by putting the stuffing in a 9-by-13-inch glass dish covered with foil and baking it for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Traditional Dressing


12 cups dry bread crumbs, cubed

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 cups celery, chopped in small pieces

2 tablespoon butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground sage

1/2 teaspoon thyme

2 cups chicken broth


In a sauté pan, combine butter, onions, celery and a pinch of salt and pepper and sauté until translucent. Heat chicken broth. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and fold together until well mixed.

At this point you could stuff the turkey cavity loosely and roast the turkey as usual, or pour ingredients in a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish, covered with foil, and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

I hope you and your family enjoy each other, and enjoy the gift of Thanksgiving.


David Theiss is the owner of Butler Gourmet meats, serving Carson City since 1973.


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