Southern Cornbread Dressing

I didn’t grow up eating stuffed turkey at Thanksgiving. What I grew up with was southern cornbread dressing, a moist concoction baked in a casserole dish. No “stovetop” here! This is my mother’s recipe.

Ingredients

  • ~3 c cornbread crumbs (see note and recipe below)
  • 1 sleeve saltine crackers, crushed
  • 1 cup white bread crumbs (my mother used stale bread, I use toasted)
  • 1-2 onions, chopped (I use sweet onions – my husband thinks there is no such thing as too much onion)
  • 2-3 stalks (or more) celery, chopped
  • 1 t thyme
  • 1 T chopped sage
  • 1 T poultry seasoning
  • salt and pepper
  • 4-5 c chicken stock (I use Trader Joe’s)
  • 4 eggs, beaten (room temperature)
  • Butter for the baking dish

Preparation

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish with butter. (If you have more than enough for one dish, put the overflow in an 8×8 square or rounded dish).

  • Mix dry ingredients, onions and celery in bowl.
  • Add the chicken stock, a little at a time; mix (I use my hands). Keep adding stock until the dressing is very soupy/wet. (In other words, 4 cups is a guide – this isn’t precision baking!)
  • Taste. This is the point where you adjust seasoning.
  • Add eggs; mix.
  • Pour into baking dish(es). Bake until set and browned, about 30 minutes.

This is a moist dressing. Most recipes call for cooking the onion and celery; my mother didn’t, so I don’t. This means that there is a very slight “crunch” or texture to the dressing.

Variation: add about 1 cup shredded/chopped chicken breast or turkey meat to the dressing after you have put the dressing in the casserole dish. Scatter across the top and press into the dressing so that it’s in the broth.

* You make the best cornbread in a cast iron pan … do NOT use sweet cornbread, which is most cornbread mixes these days.

Cornbread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  • 1 1/2 c cornmeal
  • 1  c buttermilk

Soak the cornmeal in the buttermilk for 15 minutes

  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 1/2 t Kosher salt

Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl large enough to hold all ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c vegetable oil

Add the eggs and vegetable oil to the cornmeal mixture and stir to combine well. Pour the cornmeal mixture over the flour mixture; combine well, being careful not to over stir

Butter the (large) cast iron skillet and add about a T of oil to the pan; pour in the mixture
Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool before crumbling for the dressing.Variation: add a cup of creamed corn.

Cornbread is a variation on Alton Brown’s recipe in I’m Just Here for More Food.

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