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OYSTER DRESSING

3 lb oysters, small to medium, shucked, in their liquor
4 c water
3/4 lb margarine
2 T margarine
6 c onions, chopped, in all
4 c celery, chopped, in all
4 c bell peppers, green, chopped
1 T garlic, minced
1 ts garlic, minced
2 c scallion, chopped, (tops only)
2 c parsley, fresh, chopped very fine
8 sm bay leaves
4 1/2 c bread crumbs, very dry
4 T butter

2 ts salt
2 ts garlic powder
2 ts cayenne pepper
2 ts sweet paprika
2 ts black pepper
1 ts onion powder
1 ts dried oregano leaves
1 ts dried thyme leaves

Combine the oysters, oyster liquor, and water, stir and refrigerate
at least 1 hour. Strain and reserve the oysters and 4 cups of the
oyster water separately, refrigerate again until ready to use

In a medium size bowl, combine the seasoning mix ingredients, mix
well. Set aside.

Place 1 stick plus 2 Tablespoosn of the margarine in a heavy 8-quart
saucepan or large Dutch oven over high heat. When margarine is
half melted, add 3 cups of the onions, 2 cups of the celery, and
2 cups of the bell peppers, saute until onions are well browned,
about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in 3 tablespoons of
the seasoning mix and the garlic. Reduce heat to low and cook
about 4 minutes, stirring and scraping pan bottom occasionally.
Add the remaining 2 sticks of margarine, 3 cups onions, 2 cups
celery and 2 cups bell peppers, 1 cup of the green onions, 1 cup
of the parsley, and the bay leaves. Turn heat to high, stirring
until margarine is melted, cook until vegetables are tender but
still a little crunchy, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Now stir in the reserved 4 cups oyster water and cook about 15
minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon
plus 1 teaspoon seasoning mix and enough bread crumbs (start with
4 cups, but you may need a little more) to make a fairly moist but
not runny dressing. Remove from heat.

Drain oysters well and stir them into the dressing. Spoon dressing
into an ungreased 15x11-inch baking pan (preferably not a non-stick
type) and bake uncovered in a 350 F oven until well browned, about
1 hour, stirring only after a dark crust builds (30 to 45 minutes).
Then remove from oven and stir thoroughly but gently so oysters
won't break apart, scraping browned parts from pan bottom and sides
into the mixture. Discard bay leaves.

Add the butter and the remaining 1 cup green onions and 1 cup
parsley, stirring well. Serve as desired.

NOTE: Be certain to let the dressing cool, then refrigerate it and
chill it well before using it to stuff fowl.

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