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Whether you call our favorite Thanksgiving side “stuffing” or “dressing” likely depends on where you grew up. If you say “you all,” you probably call it stuffing, whether or not it’s cooking inside a turkey. Or if you’re in the “y’all” camp, stuffing belongs in plush toys, and “dressing” belongs on the dinner table. And if you live in the Midwest, you can’t make up your mind.

One thing we can all agree on, though, is that the best stuffing/dressing is simultaneously moist on the inside and crispy around the edges, like a perfect brownie. And the best vessel for achieving this textural duality is a cast iron skillet.

Why? Unlike a baking pan, both the bottom and sides of a cast iron skillet get hot—and stay hot!—which ensures a well-browned exterior on all sides of the stuffing/dressing. Our method calls for preheating the skillet in the oven before you fill it and bake, which will give your stuffing/dressing maximum crispiness.

Plus, cast iron’s superior heat retention will keep that stuffing/dressing warm long after it emerges from the oven, which eliminates the need for last-minute reheating. Bonus points: If you do need to reheat, you can do so on the stovetop, which will also re-crisp the exterior.

This year, we’ve developed three stuffing/dressing recipes: a classic sausage and cornbread affair; an extra-crusty, vegetarian-friendly sourdough version; and a nutty, mushroomy rice stuffing/dressing that can be cooked entirely on the stovetop.

Recipe

Sausage and Cornbread Skillet Stuffing/Dressing

Ingredients

Yield: 8 servings

1 pound cornbread, broken into ½-inch pieces (about 10 cups)
12 ounces pound uncooked turkey sausage, casings removed, broken into ½-inch pieces
1 stick unsalted butter, plus more for buttering the skillet
1 large onion, diced
3 celery stalks, sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 large eggs, beaten
2½ cups turkey or chicken stock
½ cup chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped sage
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

1.

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Scatter the cornbread on a baking sheet and bake, stirring a few times, until dry, about 45 minutes. Let cool, then transfer to a large bowl. Increase the temperature to 350°F.

2.

Heat a No.10 (11 ⅝”) cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until browned all over, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the bread.

3.

Add the butter to the skillet and reduce the heat to medium. Add the onions and celery, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes longer. Transfer to the bowl with the sausage and bread. Add the eggs, stock, herbs, salt and pepper and stir gently until combined. (The uncooked stuffing mixture can be made up to 1 day ahead. Bring to room temperature before baking). Wipe the skillet clean.

4.

Preheat the skillet in the oven for about 10 minutes. Brush the bottom and sides of the hot skillet with butter (or swirl some butter around the pan until it’s well coated). Add the stuffing. Butter a piece of aluminum foil and cover the skillet. Bake the stuffing for 40 minutes, then uncover and continue baking until the top is golden brown and crisp, about 40 minutes longer.

Recipe

Sourdough and Vegetable Skillet Stuffing/Dressing

Ingredients

Yield: 8 servings

One 1-pound sourdough loaf, torn into 1- to 2-inch pieces
1 stick unsalted butter
1 medium onions, diced
3 celery stalks, sliced
1 medium leek, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 small (or ½ medium) fennel bulb, cored and diced
2 tablespoons dry vermouth
2 tablespoons finely chopped sage
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
¼ cup chopped parsley
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 cups vegetable, chicken, or turkey stock

Instructions

1.

Arrange the bread on a baking sheet and let dry at room temperature for 1 to 2 days. (You can also dry the bread in a 300°F oven for about 30 minutes). When the bread is dry, transfer to a large bowl.

2.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat a No.10 (11 ⅝”) cast iron skillet over medium heat and add the butter. When the butter has melted, add the onions, celery, leek, and fennel, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the vermouth and simmer until evaporated. Transfer to the bowl with the bread. Add the sage, parsley, salt and pepper and stir gently. Add 2 cups stock and stir gently; if some of the bread is still dry, add more stock until all of it is moist and spongy. Wipe the skillet clean.

3.

Preheat the skillet in the oven for about 10 minutes. Brush the bottom and sides of the hot skillet with butter (or swirl some butter around the pan until it’s well coated). Add the stuffing. Butter a piece of aluminum foil and cover the skillet. Bake the stuffing for 30 minutes, then uncover and continue baking until the top is golden brown and crisp, 30 to 40 minutes longer. The stuffing can be served right away, or refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat, covered, in a 350°F oven until hot, then uncover and bake until crisp on top).

Recipe

Wild Rice and Mushroom Skillet Stuffing/Dressing

Ingredients

Yield: 8 servings

1 cup wild rice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup slivered almonds
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound mixed mushrooms, cut or torn into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons thyme leaves
1 large onion, diced
3 celery stalks, sliced
1 cup cooked white or brown rice
¼ cup chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ cup chopped parsley

Instructions

1.

Place the wild rice in a medium saucepan and add enough water to cover the rice by 3 inches. Season the water with salt (like you would pasta water) and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the rice is tender and most of the grains have split, 30 to 40 minutes. Drain the rice.

2.

Heat a No.10 (11 ⅝”) cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Add the almonds and cook, stirring constantly, until toasted, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the almonds to a bowl.

3.

Add olive oil to the skillet and set over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms in a single layer and cook, without stirring, until the bottom of the mushrooms are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until golden brown all over, 3 to 5 minutes longer. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the thyme.

4.

Add the butter to the skillet and set over medium-low heat. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and starting to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the white or brown rice, the wild rice, and the mushrooms and stir to combine. Add the chicken or vegetable stock and vinegar and stir again. Cover the skillet and cook until the liquid is absorbed, 3 to 5 minutes. Uncover the skillet and stir in the toasted almonds and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and serve.