Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Nova Scotia Stuffing Versus Newfoundland Dressing

I grew up in Nova Scotia but have since moved to Newfoundland and sadly for me one of the biggest differences between the two has been the differences between the traditional Sunday dinners with the whole family. In Nova Scotia there is stuffing, and potatoes, often corn and carrots, fresh baked rolls, and ideally a roast turkey or chicken. In Newfoundland they have Jiggs dinner and it's a whole other sort of affair with potatoes, turnips, carrots, cabbage/greens, all being boiled in a giant stock pot with salt beef for flavor. and of course to make "pot liquor" all served with a roast, or chicken, or turkey. But one thing is almost similar if it's poultry; there best be some dressing to go with it or there isn't going to a happy person from either province at the table.

So what do I consider to be the differences between stuffing and dressing? Both are similar but Stuffing has a bread and potato base, while dressing is mostly just about the bread crumbs. There is another big difference and that is in the sort of savory used, Nova Scotian's go for summer savory, a sweet herb similar to parsley but with so much more flavor, my papa always grew mine for me! In Newfoundland Mount Scio Savory is the king, a stronger more peppery flavor but either summer savory or savory are key for making any East Coast stuffing or dressing.

Now if you start making some dressing you best make some extra to have fries dressing and gravy the next day with those leftovers! It is a Newfoundland tradition after all.

Nova Scotia Stuffing

So perfect on a leftover roast chicken/turkey sammy with left over gravy. . . 


2-3 Decent sized russet potatoes, peeled, boiled soft and mashed
1 Large Onion, finely chopped
3-4 Celery stalks, finely chopped, or done in a food processor pulse setting till small and even
3 Tablespoons to 1/4 Cup summer savory
Bread crumbs, ideally 2-3 days old fresh bread crumbs that are soft (not a panko/crunchy style)
Salt and Pepper to season well
1 Egg, Beaten lightly


In a bowl or in the pot the potatoes were boiled in, combine the celery, onion, potatoes, and summer savory, season well with salt and pepper and mix well till everything looks like it has an even consistency. By small handfuls slowly add in the bread crumbs, working with your hands until it isn't sticky, but not overly dry either. It is a delicate balance, and you just need to learn to feel for it.

Once the ideal consistency for the stuffing is reached it should mold easily into a ball shape and keep it. At this stage add the beaten egg and mix well again. Stuff into the cavity of the poultry and roast. DO NOT over stuff the cavity, the Stuffing will expand as it cooks and it needs just a little bit of space. Once the cavity is stuffed, use a wadded up piece of aluminum foil to cover the opening. Then truss* the bird to roast it.

Or if you don't want to stuff it into a cavity, smoothing it into a casserole pan and baking for about 1 hour at the end of turkey cooking time also works.

*Truss- Using butchers twine tie the bird together. Start by cutting a piece of string about 2 feet long. Place the string on a clean work surface or place, and place the chicken on top of the string, around where the wings are, back bone down. Bring the string around the top, cross it over itself, knot if desired and wrap the string around the back of the bird again, just ahead of the legs. Cross over or knot, and wrap the string around to the breast side of the bird. Tie the drumsticks together close to the body and closing off the cavity as best you can.

I also sometimes tie and knot a little butchers string handle on top of the chicken, so when it is roasted all I need to do is grab the handle and lift the cooked poultry to a resting pan.

Newfoundland Dressing

Goes great on french fries with left over gravy the next day. . . 


3-4 Cups fresh bread crumbs*, not panko style
1 Onion, finely diced
3 Tablespoons- 1/4 Cup Savory
Salt and Pepper to season
3 Tablespoons melted butter


Combine bread crumbs, onion, and savory in a medium sized bowl, mix well to get an even consistency. Season well with salt and pepper and just before stuffing the poultry cavity or transferring to a casserole dish to bake in, drizzle the melted butter over the stuffing and toss gently to mix the butter in.

Then either use to stuff the cavity of poultry, or toast in a shallow casserole dish until golden brown, then use either pan drippings from the poultry or some pot liquor to drizzle over the top, stir the dressing and toast lightly again to enhance the flavor.

Save the left overs for a Newfie poutine made from golden fries, dressing and gravy!



Roasting a turkey or chicken? Check out my guide to preparing, cooking, stuffing, and making gravy for a roast dinner.

Ps sometimes if I happen to be in an adventurous mood I will also add a tablespoon or two of sage, marjoram or thyme to the stuffing just to give it a little extra kick. Some people also enjoy a few toasted chestnuts in theirs, but I for one hate all nuts so it wont be seen in any of mine, but I am an open minded lady and can appreciate that not everyone is so anti-nut!

October 2013, also craisins! A handful of craisins goes a long way to stepping stuffing or dressing up to a fancy level for Thanks-Giving Dinner!

December 2013, Recipe updated slightly thanks to future M-I-L, also her advice to use 1/2 loaf of day old bread, and tear it into pieces by hand to  get the best results.

October 2014, Look I added pictures! I am going out to a lovely cabin by a lake tomorrow for Thanks-Giving dinner and to please myself and my Newfoundland born and raised friends I literally made both kinds of dressing today. Looking at the pictures there really isn't that much of a difference between the two, but trust me the texture is very different. Both are delicious.


  1. try putting a bit of pineapple tidbits with your dressing, adds moisture and a bit of chicken stock, hint of garlic and onion powder, very amamzing

  2. i am a down easter, this is my revised nova scotia dressing, amazing