It seems hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just a few days away–are you ready? I’m not! You probably figure I’ve forgotten all about turkey day considering all the Christmas cookies I’ve been baking lately, but nothing could be further from the truth. Once I get Thanksgiving on the brain, all thoughts turn to the “green dressing” or “ping” in Italian-American speak, probably my favorite family dish, ever. When I heard that Paula over at Vintage Kitchen Notes was hosting a virtual Thanksgivingkkuh feast for #SundaySupper, I just had to break out our family recipe for turkey dressing.
What is green dressing anyway? It’s a savory blend of spinach, garlic, ground beef, and French bread, chopped into a fine mixture and stuffed into the bird. Basically, ravioli filling with a little bread added, underscoring the genius of Italian-American cooks (we’re not the only ones who do this). It may look funny, but one bite and you’ll be sold.
While the family recipe is my favorite, I’ve yet to try a stuffing I didn’t like. In fact, stuffing in general would be near the top of my “foods I can’t live without” list. It’s nestled right up there with the mashed potatoes, as it should be, since they’re best when heaped together on a fork. And I look forward to the green dressing every year. Funny enough, my sisters prefer standard bread stuffing. This year we’re getting both.
In order to accommodate schedules, we have our celebratory feast on the Friday, rather than on Thursday, which is becoming a tradition on its own. Every year, in addition to our immediate family, we always include a smattering of friends–a practice that I started a while ago to make sure friends who didn’t live near family had a place to go. This year, Friday happens to be my birthday too, which means I’m calling dibs on whatever green dressing is leftover. Or maybe I’ll just say thanks for getting a chance to celebrate the holiday (and my birthday) surrounded by such wonderful folks. I’ve been fortunate that way, and even if I don’t say it often, I’m thankful that I was born into this crazy family, that I have a loving husband, and that I have such a devoted group of friends, all of whom support me in this adventure we call blogging as well as my many other endeavors.
Now let’s get cooking!
First, get the bread soaking in a bowl of water. While the bread is soaking, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the parsley, celery, and spinach. Let that cook about 10 minutes, uncovered, then drain and cool.
While the spinach is cooking and the bread is soaking, brown the ground beef. Drain this and let it cool.
Now comes the fun part, because I love my chopping bowl and my mezzaluna (it’s therapeutic). First, I chop up the garlic, then I chop everything else into it, working in batches, since my bowl is on the small side. You could also do this in a food processor–pulsing until everything is finely chopped–just be careful not to liquefy it!
Transfer everything to a bowl, so you can stir in the eggs, salt, and pepper. At this point, you can cover and refrigerate until ready to use. We usually prepare this mixture a day in advance so all the flavors blend.
When ready to bake, transfer the dressing to a greased 2-quart casserole, and bake until it starts to brown around the edges.
Is it obvious I couldn’t wait to taste it?
Here’s the printer friendly version:
- ½ loaf French bread (about ½ lb)
- 1 lb spinach leaves*
- 2 stalks celery, cut in half
- ½ bunch of parsley
- 1 lb ground beef
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- In a large bowl, soak the half loaf of French bread in enough water to cover the bread.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add the spinach, celery, and parsley. Allow this to cook uncovered for about 10 minutes. Drain and cool.
- While the spinach is cooking, brown the ground beef in a medium sized skillet, breaking it up as it cooks. Drain and cool.
- In a chopping bowl (or food processor), chop the garlic. Squeeze all the water out of the spinach mixture, and chop into the garlic. Next chop in the ground beef. If using a food processor, pulse the mixture until a fine chop is reached.
- Transfer this to a mixing bowl and stir in the eggs, salt and pepper.
- Turn into a greased 2-quart baking dish, and bake for 30 minutes, or until the edges start to brown.
- If serving with turkey, before serving, stir in some of the pan juices for the best flavor.
This can also be cooked at 350 for about 40-45 minutes.
Also, for best results, prepare the mixture a day in advance so the flavors blend, then bake before serving.
Let’s see what everyone else has cooked up for you!
FIRST COURSE / APPETIZERS
- Harvest Soup from Bea of The Not So Cheesy Kitchen
- Horseradish Cranberry & Herbed Cheese Bites from Jen of Juanita’s Cocina
- Savory Rosemary Baklava with Brie from Christie of A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
SAVORY BREADS + STUFFING
- Cloverleaf Rolls from Micha of Cookin’ Mimi
- Freeze and Bake Buttermilk Biscuits from Stacy at Food Lust People Love
- Picnic Roll from Linda of The Urban Mrs
- Raspberry and Brie Crescent Rolls from Karen of In The Kitchen With KP
- Cornbread Stuffing with Chorizo and Craisins from Isabel at Family Foodie
- Easy Gluten-Free Corn “Bread” Stuffing from Laura at Small Wallet Big Appetite
- Eggless Herb and Garlic Fresh Pasta from Sarah at What Smells So Good?
- Honey Orange Turkey Breast from Cindy at Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Brussels Sprout Latkes from Susan atThe Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
- Cheesey Scalloped Potatoes from Shaina at Take A Bite Out Of Boca
- Cornucopia Sweet Potato Barley Salad from Wendy at The Weekend Gourmet
- Creamy Scalloped Corn from Alaiyo at Pescetarian Journal
- Fried Smashed Potatoes from Renee at Kudos Kitchen by Renee
- Grandpa’s Simple Stuffing from Bobbi at Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen
- Green Beans with Pecans and Cranberries from Tara at Noshing With The Nolands
- Honey and Cinnamon Glazed Sweet Potatoes from Jennifer at Peanut Butter and Peppers
- Italian American Turkey Dressing from Anne at Webicurean
- Loaded Mashed Potato Bake from Lori at Foxes Love Lemons
- Maple Sweet Potatoes with Browned Butter Pecan Topping from Brianne at Cupcakes and Kale Chips
- Mushroom and Barley Casserole with Bacon, Gruyere and Spinach from Heather at Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Blue Cheese from Sarah at Curious Cuisiniere
DESSERTS + SWEET BREADS
- Almond Brioche Sticky Buns from Alice at Hip Foodie Mom
- Baked Caramel Apple Cider Donuts from Nicole at Daily Dish Recipes
- Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie from Cheryl at Hot Momma’s Kitchen Chaos
- Blue Ribbon Meyer Lemon Mascarpone Cheesecake from Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious
- Bourbon Pecan Pie from Julie at The Texan New Yorker
- Chocolate Moussecake from Liz at That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Cinnamon Rolls from Conni at The Foodie Army Wife
- Gingered Butternut Squash Tart from Renee of Magnolia Days
- Hanukkah Lemon Star Cookies from Shannon at Killer Bunnies, Inc
- Manischewitz, Cranberry Double Holiday Donuts from Kim at Ninja Baking
- Mini Maple Sweet Potato Tarts from Holly at Mess Makes Food
- Mini Pumpkin Pies from Nichole at Casa de Crews
- Mom’s Custard Pie from Courtney at Neighborfood
- No Bake Pumpkin Spiced Cheesecake from Tammi of Momma’s Meals
- Plum and Blackberry Crumble from Katy at Happy Baking Days
- Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake from Heather at girlichef
- Salted Butterscotch Pudding from Jane at Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
- Salted Caramel Apple Pie from Laura at Pies and Plots
- Sweet Potato Pecan Gingersnap Pie from Paula at Vintage Kitchen Notes
All American Wine Pairing Guide for Being Thankful #SundaySupper from Martin at ENOFYLZ Wine Blog
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