East Bradenton Residents Share Traditions of Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipes | East County


Rebecca Blitz from East County recalled the first time she ate her family’s salad dressing on Thanksgiving.

She was 4, sitting at the family reunion in Louisiana. She picked up her fork and grabbed a small portion of the dressing.

She was disgusted.

Blitz, who was born and raised in Louisiana, wasn’t sure what it was, but a gooey lump hung from her fork. All she could think of was “yuck”.

His family’s New Orleans oyster dressing is a Thanksgiving tradition passed down from generation to generation. As a child, Blitz didn’t care much for Cajun-style stuffing, but over the years, and she began making the recipe for her own family, she developed an appreciation and love for oysters and Louisiana dressing. .

Blitz is preparing to remake its family recipe this year, but with a variation. She likes to add crab meat or shrimp to her stuffing.

“You have to like seafood, but it doesn’t taste like fish,†she says.

Sheila Bianco of Greyhawk Landing prepares bacon for her stuffing. Courtesy photo.

Sheila Bianco of Greyhawk Landing also made changes to a family recipe that was passed down from her grandmother Joséphine Grande to her mother, Antonia Grande, and herself.

Growing up, Bianco remembered always having had a traditional stuffing but with mixed giblets. It was the norm for her family, so when she married Domenic Bianco and made the recipe for her family on Thanksgiving, she was surprised to find out that they wouldn’t be eating. this.

After this first Thanksgiving together, Bianco changed his recipe. Instead of organ meats, she added bacon and cranberries.

“Everyone loves bacon,†she said.

The new recipe was a success.

She said that the stuffing that is cooked inside the turkey is everyone’s favorite. She calls it “gold” because the juices enhance the flavor, making it even more delicious than when prepared in a dish.

Some families like to stick with a classic stuffing of bread, celery, onions, turkey broth, sage, butter, salt and pepper.

Greg Campbell, Grove’s executive chef and director of operations, has become a master at making traditional stuffing. He’s been making stuffing for the restaurant for 16 years. It feeds 5,400 people for Thanksgiving.

“It’s the traditional grandma’s farce,†Campbell said. “We do everything from scratch. “

Campbell recommends making the stuffing the night before Thanksgiving to allow the turkey broth to saturate the ingredients.

“It helps solidify it a bit,†he said. “Plus, when you put it in the oven, it allows it to cook evenly. “

When making his stuffing, Campbell does not depend on exact measurements, but rather uses his eyes to judge the proper amount.

Campbell said a common mistake is adding too much turkey broth. If the bread starts to fall apart, there is too much liquid, so add more bread.

“It’s not willy-nilly,†Campbell said. “It takes your time. You can’t remove the liquid, but you can still put it in.

Campbell recalled when he started cooking Thanksgiving dinner at Pier 22 in downtown Bradenton and someone else played the prank.

“We literally had to squeeze the liquid (out of the bread),†Campbell said. “It was like a sponge. It was terrible. We have decided that no one else touches the prank.

At Thanksgiving, Campbell said to cook the stuffing in a dish separate from the turkey to make sure the stuffing is cooked through to avoid the risk of food poisoning.

New Orleans Oyster Dressing


  • 1 ½ pound of turkey or chicken offal
  • 3 loaves of stale French bread, about 9 ounces each, torn
  • Oil
  • 1 quart of oysters, chopped so large, and their liquid
  • 1 to 1 ½ cups finely chopped onions
  • â…“ cup chopped green onions
  • 1 ½ cup chopped celery
  • cup of green pepper
  • 3 tablespoons minced Italian parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs, beaten

instructions (can be used to stuff a 12 pound turkey or can be cooked in a large greased casserole dish at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes):

  • In a saucepan, cover the giblets with water and boil until tender. Keep the liquid boiling.
  • Pass the cooked giblets through a meat grinder or food processor until chopped.
  • Combine offal broth and oyster liquid in a large bowl and dip French bread in it.
  • In a large skillet, brown the onions in the oil. When they are golden, add the green onions and celery. Add the pepper, then the ground giblets followed by the chopped oysters.
  • Squeeze the excess liquid from the bread. Add the bread to the other ingredients, as well as the parsley, salt and pepper.
  • Remove from the heat and quickly stir in the eggs.
  • Stuff in the turkey or put in a casserole dish.

Sheila Bianco of Greyhawk Landing adds bacon and cranberries to a traditional stuffing recipe to make her famous golden Mama B’s stuffing for Thanksgiving. Courtesy photo.

Mama B’s Gold Recipe


  • 3 lbs thick sliced ​​maple smoked bacon
  • 8 cups organic celery cut into quarter-inch pieces
  • 4 cups chopped Vidalia onions
  • 2 to 4 sticks of organic butter, salted or not
  • 3 32 ounces. containers of organic chicken or vegetable broth
  • 4 cups of organic dried cranberries
  • Poultry seasoning
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 bags Pepperidge Farms Seasoned Country Style Cubed Stuffing


  • Cut the bacon into ¼ to ½ inch pieces and fry them in a large frying pan until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan with a skimmer and drain it on a thick layer of paper towels. Drain the residual fat from the pan.
  • In the same pan, place the chopped onion in a layer, with the celery on top.
  • Cut 2 to 4 sticks of butter in thirds lengthwise. Place the butter on the celery. Add the poultry seasoning and season with S&P to taste. Cover and sauté over medium heat. Simmer for 5 minutes then start to turn the mixture to combine. Cook until celery and onions are cloudy / clear and not milky white, about 15 minutes.
  • Add cranberries and bacon, cover and set aside.
  • In the pot: Combine a bag of bread cubes and half of your onion / celery / cranberry / bacon mixture and mix. Add a second bag of bread cubes and the rest of the onion / celery / cranberry / bacon mixture. Mix well.
  • Slowly add 32 oz. of organic chicken broth, stirring as you pour. Add a second 32 oz. broth, being careful not to add too much so that the bread cubes break down and become mushy (this will ensure that the stuffing will not expand too much in the bird, but will also cook completely.) from part of a third party container of the stock to get this just. Stuffing that does not fit in your bird can be cooked separately.
  • Use foil to cover the stuffing at the ends of the poultry before clamping it so that the stuffing stays in the poultry and not in your pan.

Puerto Rican Stuffing


  • 3-4 green plantains
  • A few pieces of pork rinds
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Olive oil


  • Cut the plantains into pieces and brown them well. Dry them on absorbent paper and crush them.
  • Mash the pork rinds and garlic.
  • Combine the plantains, pork rinds and garlic and toss in the oil so that the mixture is soft.
  • Stuff the mixture into the turkey and cook.

Greg Campbell, the executive chef and operations manager of The Grove restaurant, sauté onions and celery in butter.

Traditional stuffing

Ingredients (measured at sight):

  • Butter
  • Pieces of homemade bread that have been toasted
  • Turkey Stock
  • Celery
  • Onions
  • Parsley
  • sage
  • Salt and pepper


  • In a large skillet, melt the butter.
  • Add the onion and celery. Season with salt, pepper and sage.
  • Once the onions and celery are a little golden, add the turkey broth.
  • With the toasted bread pieces in a bowl, pour the onion and celery mixture into the bowl with the bread and mix them together.
  • Add more salt and sage. Gradually add the parsley and more turkey broth to the mixture. Stir until all the bread is saturated and you can no longer hear the sound of the bread hitting against the bowl.
  • Leave the stuffing in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Bake uncovered in the oven at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes.

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