Whether you call it stuffing, dressing, or filling, everyone looks forward to this Thanksgiving table beauty all year long. Stuff it in a bird or make it in a casserole dish, stuffing varies from region to region. The basic recipe of this traditional Thanksgiving side dish consists of moist bread, rice, or potatoes and then veggies, meats, or shellfish added. But depending on where you are in the States, your plate of stuffing might look a bit different. Call it whatever you like. Just don't call us late for Thanksgiving dinner if you're serving one of these regional Thanksgiving stuffing recipe styles.
Regional Stuffing Styles of The United States
Thanksgiving in New England means a cozy fireplace, mugs of warm cider, and your family's oyster stuffing recipe. Oysters are pretty inexpensive and plentiful along the North Atlantic coast. Coarsely chopped oysters and diced bread cubes in your favorite casserole dish is what's on most New Englander's tables.
In the South, the stuffing is called dressing and every family recipe revolves around cornbread with slight state-by-state twists. In Georgia, pecans will be mixed in with that sweet cornbread, diced celery, onions, and mushrooms. Support the Georgia pecan farmers especially during the holiday season. Repeat after me: Pecan Logs.
Other Southern states may use apples along with their seasoned cornbread dressing. It's a whole sweet and salty play on flavors. Salty sausage and sweet cranberries thrown together in a giant mixing bowl are popular in Mississippi and Alabama.
New York & New Jersey
New York/New Jersey is an interesting region. You will find almost every possible stuffing here because of the variety of backgrounds of the people. But overall, it's a pretty traditional area filled with cranberries, poultry seasoning, crispy sausage pan drippings and bags of bread cubes.
In Minnesota and all over the Midwest, moist wild rice stuffing often replaces the bread cubes and the standard stove top stuffing recipes. Seasoned and colorful rice dressing recipes set the Midwest apart from the breadcube rest of the country.
Louisiana loves its Creole history and Andouille sausage is a almost always in a Louisiana cornbread stuffing recipe. Dried fruit and even chopped shellfish for that sweet and salty play on flavors is common too.
In Pennsylvania, it's all about the potato thanks to the Pennsylvania Dutch roots of this state. They call it potato filling in the rural areas and it's a rustic favorite all around the state.
In Wisconsin, they make an interesting concoction called Badger State Stuffing. The not so secret ingredients are sauerkraut and sourdough bread cubes. It's also common to add crispy bacon drippings. Oh yes please.
In California, that quarantine trend of sourdough starters is put to good use. Californians skip the white bread and use a sourdough bread instead. Especially in San Francisco, the unofficial birthplace of sourdough.
North Carolina is bringing back the chestnut stuffing for its regional stuffing! A fungus destroyed many of the East Coast's chestnut trees but they are making a resurgence, making them more accessible again.
And in the great state of Texas, cornbread stuffing is almost a law at Thanksgiving. The pecan is the state nut of Texas so many versions of Texas stuffing has pecans in addition to cranberries and spicy sausage. The Tex-Mex influence may even go as far as adding jalapenos!
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