Cooking Connection is a Journal-World feature that prints favorite reader recipes. This week's featured cook is Deborah Kates, of Lawrence, with her recipe for Grandma Claire's Sweet Holiday Dressing.
Why it's important: "This is a stuffing recipe that has been in our family for more than 60 years. My husband learned to make it from his mother, Claire Kates, who served it at Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday dinners. It goes especially well with turkey and chicken, but since it is cooked inside the oven (rather than stuffed inside a bird), it is a good accompaniment to any festive meal. This dish has brought rave reviews from all who have tried it. The apples and raisins give a fresh, sweet taste to a traditional recipe. The recipe is important, not only because it is so tasty, but because it is a wonderful tribute to the special woman who created it. Although she is no longer here to celebrate holidays with us today, we think of her fondly each time we recreate one of her most memorable dishes."
Grandma Claire's Sweet Holiday Dressing
1 loaf of white bread, cut into small cubes
Small amount of cooking oil
1 large onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 large green apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 cup golden raisins
1/8 cup red wine or grape juice
3-inch square of turkey or chicken skin (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Moisten bread slightly with water. The texture should be somewhat sticky, and the bread should start coming together in a ball. Saute the onion, carrot and celery in a slight amount of cooking oil until light brown and tender. Add to moistened bread, along with the eggs. Mix well. Add diced apples, raisins, and wine or grape juice. Pour into an ungreased casserole. For added flavor, place a small square of poultry skin on top of the casserole before cooking. Bake uncovered until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out barely moist. Start checking the casserole at 60 minutes, but it may take longer, depending on the shape of the pan and the contents of the oven.