Dickie Brennan’s mother grew up in St. Bernard and her mother, affectionately referred to as “Honey” was quite the home cook. She was famous for her carrot cake (which Palace Café has to been known to reproduce on special occasions), but she was also known for her version of New Orleans oyster dressing. She added ground meat to the traditional French bread, garlic, celery, onion mixture.
Every year our four restaurants make the below recipe without the addition of meat, but every year you’ll find Dickie and his family enjoying this version around their Thanksgiving table.
Try your hand at making Oyster Dressing this Thanksgiving and let us know if it’s going to become part of your annual tradition!
St. Bernard Oyster Dressing
2.5 loaves French bread, sliced (we use Leidenheimer French bread which is known for its thin, crunchy crust and light, airy interior)
½ C (1 stick) butter
1 T chopped garlic
1 C chopped celery
1 C chopped onion
1 lb. of ground meat, browned and drained
1.5 pints oysters
6 bay leaves
1 T thyme
2 C chopped green onions
kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste
FOR THE OYSTER DRESSING, process the French bread into fine crumbs in a food processor. Melt the butter in a medium saucepot and add the garlic. Sauté until the garlic is light brown. Add the celery and onion and sauté until tender. Add cooked ground meat.
Drain the oysters, reserving the liquor. Add enough chicken stock to the reserved liquor if necessary to measure 1 cup of liquid. Add the oysters, oysters liquor, bay leaves and thyme to the saucepot and mix well. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat. Fold in the bread crumbs and green onions. Season with kosher salt and cracked black pepper. Cook until heated through. Discard the bay leaves before serving.