RECIPES: John Besh's Southern Goodness

2. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl with the sausage and crawfish and stir together until well combined. Spoon the dressing into a large heatproof dish. At this point, the dressing may be covered and refrigerated (for up to 1 day) until you are ready to bake it. Bake the dressing in a preheated 350° oven until it is piping hot and golden brown, 15–30 minutes.

Bourbon Pecan Pie

Serves 8

My grandmother Grace used pure molasses in her pecan pie, and my mother, Imelda, uses only corn syrup. It may be good family politics, but I happen to like using both in my pecan pie. In fact, you may substitute either syrup for the other. The molasses doesn't have to come to room temperature exactly, but it should be cool enough that when you add the eggs, they won't be tempted to scramble.


¾ cup blackstrap molasses

¾ cup brown sugar

½ cup light corn syrup

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

¼ teaspoon salt

3 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ cup bourbon

1½ cups pecan halves

1 recipe Basic Pie Dough, fitted into a 9-inch pie pan


1. Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°.

2. Put the molasses, brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt into a medium saucepan over moderate heat. Stir with a wooden spoon until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.

3. Increase the heat to high and let the mixture boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, then pour into a mixing bowl and set aside to let cool to room temperature.

4. Whisk the eggs, vanilla, and bourbon into the molasses. Stir in the pecans, then pour into the prepared pie crust. Bake until the pie is set around the sides and nearly set in the middle (it shouldn't wobble when you give it a nudge), about 1 hour. The color should be mahogany and the crust golden. Allow to cool completely before serving.

Whole Roast Stuffed Turkey

Serves 12

We call stuffing what's cooked in the bird; dressing is what's served on the side. This stuffing is simple, based on the day-old French bread we always have around. But we like to make two other dressings as well--Shrimp and Mirliton and Crawfish Corn Bread -- just to be safe! My mother-in-law, Barbara Berrigan, always brines the turkey, so of course I do here. You can do this a day ahead.


For the turkey:

2 cups sugar

2 cups plus ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 15-pound turkey, giblets and neck removed

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2–3 tablespoon canola oil

1 teaspoon minced fresh sage leaves

Leaves from 1 sprig fresh thyme

Flour, optional

For the stuffing:

4 tablespoons butter

2 large onions, diced

1 stalk celery, diced

1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 green onion, chopped

Leaves from 1 sprig fresh thyme

Leaves from 1 sprig fresh rosemary, minced

4 cups diced, day-old French bread

3 cups Basic Chicken Stock


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