My favorite dressing is the kind my mother made. She was too frugal to buy a big turkey, so for Thanksgiving we usually had a roast chicken with cornbread dressing. We had chicken and dressing often, not just for Thanksgiving. She usually put the dressing in a roasting pan and laid pieces of a cooked, cut-up chicken on top before browning it in the oven. We’d have it for Sunday dinner when company came. There wasn’t room for all of us around the Formica table in the kitchen, so the men ate first, then the women and kids. It was worth the wait!

I’m probably one of the few people in the world who is allergic to celery, so I subbed fennel in the recipe. You might not notice it, but it lends a subtle difference that will have everyone begging to know the secret ingredient in your special dressing. But, if your family doesn’t tolerate anyone messing with their holiday traditions, go ahead and use celery.

2 tablespoon bacon fat or butter, divided
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced fennel bulb or celery
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 turkey liver or 2 chicken livers (about 3½ ounces)
1 strip bacon, cut into several pieces
1 cup almond meal or flour
2 tablespoons stone-ground cornmeal, optional
1 large egg
¼ cup turkey or chicken bone broth
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage
¾ teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Chop some of the feathery fennel fronds to add as one of the herbs or to use as a garnish if you like.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the fat in a sauté pan over low heat. Add the onions and fennel or celery and cook, stirring, until softened (about 10 minutes). Add garlic, dried thyme, and dried sage and continue to cook and stir for a few more minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Put the almond flour in the bowl of a food processor first, then add the liver and bacon and pulse until chopped and thoroughly combined. Add the broth and egg and pulse until mixed in. Add the sautéed onion mixture and pulse a few more times until just mixed, but not smooth.

Put remaining 1 tablespoon of the fat in an iron skillet or baking dish and place in the oven until hot, about 5 minutes. Swirl pan to coat with butter.

Spread the dressing mixture in the hot pan. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until cooked through and browned on top. Serve hot, along with your holiday feast and don’t forget the cranberry sauce! (This recipe is good enough to stand alone as a casserole.)

Makes 6 servings.
Nutrition data:
Calories: 231, Protein: 12.1 g; Fat: 17.5 g; Carbohydrate: 8.4 g; Fiber: 3.3 g; Net Carbohydrate: 5.1 g
(Optional ingredients are not included in data count.)


Thanks to Dr. Kara Fitzgerald for the idea to put the liver in the dressing! Liver is always at the top of the list of nutrient-dense foods, but it has become hard to find and it can be even harder to get your family to eat it. Most poultry sold in supermarkets no longer contains the little bag of giblets stuffed in the cavity. The last time I checked, the fresh, whole chickens were labeled, “Roasting Chicken with Giblets,” but there was a sticker added that said, “May not contain giblets.”

I start watching the grocery stores in the middle of November to see if they have any turkey livers. That’s the time they package the fresh turkeys for Thanksgiving and they often sell the gizzards, necks, and livers separately. They are about $2.00 a pound. (Who says a low-carb diet has to be expensive?) Just a few days ago I looked and didn’t find any so I asked at the meat counter. The clerk said, “Let me check in the back. How many do you want?” I said, “I’ll take all you have.” She came back with a shopping cart full! I now have enough to last at least until April for the two of us. Go to your local stores right away so you can stock up before it’s too late. (But don’t go to the Central Market in Mill Creek, WA. They no longer have any.)

If you are lucky enough to find some turkey livers, here’s a great way to prepare them: Liver, Bacon, and Onions, https://www.carbwarscookbooks.com/even-the-father-of-fat-phobia-said-you-should-eat-this-once-a-week/

(c) 2017, Judy Barnes Baker

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Judy Barnes Baker

The working title for my first book was, “You’ll Never Know What You Are Missing.” It summed up my goal: to make eating for health synonymous with eating for pleasure. Once you discover the secret, you will find that the very best food for weight management, longevity, the treatment and prevention of disease, and over-all health and happiness is also the most sumptuous, satisfying, and indulgent way of eating the world has to offer. You are invited to the feast. Enjoy!
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
6 years ago

No, you ARE NOT the only person in the world with a celery allergy–my M-I-L has one. When she eats it, her lips go numb.