This is my absolute favorite side dish for Thanksgiving! It is a family tradition, and the thing that makes the meal for me. The flavor is amazing! If the oysters are really large, cut them into bite-sized pieces. If you just can't abide the thought of oyster ANYTHING, omit them. I can't wait for Thanksgiving dinner! (Click the button above to see the video!)
12-3/4" Slices stale Challah, Brioche, or other (“eggy” bread) crusts removed, cut into cubes (The bread should not be overly sweet, such as a Hawaiian and some Brioches. You can use French or white bread, if you prefer.)
4 Tablespoons Butter or 2 ounces
1 Medium Onion, diced fine
2 Celery Ribs, diced into 1/4" pieces
1 Large Clove of Garlic, minced
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper
1/8 Teaspoon Grated Nutmeg
1/8 Teaspoon Ground Cayenne
2 Tablespoons Cognac
2 Dozen Fresh Shucked Oysters (purchase them in the seafood section; they usually come in a half-pint plastic container, you will need two containers, or 1 pint. Of course, you can shuck your own if you like!)
1/3 Cup Oyster Liquor
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
2 extra-large eggs
1 1/2 Cups Low-sodium Chicken Broth, plus additional as needed
2 Tablespoons Dried Parsley
Heat the oven to 350-degrees. Cut brioche into 3/4-inch cubes. Spread on a 17 x 12-inch baking sheet; bake until dry, 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. When hot, add onion, celery, garlic, salt, and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened, about 3 minutes. Add nutmeg, cayenne, cognac, and oyster liquor; cook until liquid is absorbed, 1 minute. Add oysters and cream, cook 30 seconds. Remove from heat. In a large bowl beat the eggs and beat in the chicken broth. Add the bread cubes, oyster mixture, and parsley. The mixture should be very “loose” with plenty of liquid to avoid a dry dressing.
Spread in a buttered 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Bake covered, about 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake until golden brown and puffed all over. Serve hot.