There are certain things that are required on holidays ~ and whenever there’s turkey, there has to be cornbread dressing. Are you a dressing or stuffing family? Dressing is made outside the bird, in a pan, while stuffing is cooked inside the bird. The south is more about dressing than stuffing ~ and most every family has a special recipe for turkey dressing.
Some recipes are moist, others dry and crumbly, thicker or thinner, but most all are made with cornbread, mixed with leftover biscuits or toast for texture. And it has to be leftover cornbread too ~ or at least day-old cornbread, so it has time to get a bit dried out. Our recipe is a thin sheet, moist on the inside and a little crispy on the outside. Delicious eaten like cornbread and even better with turkey and gravy!
Bluwatermom always makes the dressing in our family, and last year I captured it, to be certain I had all the steps and ingredients. It’s not difficult, but it has to be done a certain way or it will not be the same. Trust me ~ I’ve learned this over the years. One day I’ll tell the story of her vegetable soup that I could never get quite right, because there was a secret step and ingredient that was aways left out!
These are the photos as she was making it last Thanksgiving ~ nothing styled for special photos, no gadgets or fancy pans. It’s not a pretty dish while you’re making it, but when you smell it baking and taste that first piece, man is it good. So, my family recipe for Cornbread Dressing is now archived for posterity!
And one last step ~ you always have to taste a corner piece ~ just to be sure it’s fit to serve. 🙂
Happy Thanksgiving y’all ~~~
southern cornbread dressing ~~~
1 pan of cornbread ~ made a day ahead ~ in a large baking pan ~ crumbled
4-5 pieces of well toasted bread, or a few left-over biscuits ~ crumbled
1 medium white onion ~ finely grated
1 palm full of rubbed sage ~ at least a 1/4 cup of rubbed sage, not ground sage, don’t skimp!
turkey or chicken stock to moisten and mix – eye-ball it, depending on dryness of the bread
1/2 teaspoon each, salt and pepper
directions ~ preheat oven to 350 degrees
1 ~ crumble day-old cornbread into large pieces into a large mixing bowl
2 ~ crumble well toasted bread or day-old biscuits, like the cornbread, into the same bowl, toss gently to mix
3 ~ finely grate one medium onion
4 ~ add to crumbled bread, but do not mix yet!
5 ~ crack 2 eggs into the bowl, but do not mix yet
6 ~ add a generous palm full of rubbed sage, but do not mix yet
7 ~ check to be sure you’ve added onion, sage and eggs
8 ~ now you can mix! if you mix too soon, or after each ingredient, the mixture will turn to complete mush and lose important texture!
9 ~ add turkey or chicken stock to moisten the mixture ~ and you have to eye-ball this measurement, depending on dryness of the bread ~ best comparison is like loose oatmeal, and the bread will continue to soak up the liquid and get stiffer in a few minutes
10 ~ mix briefly to combine, but don’t over mix
11 ~ add salt and pepper
12 ~ spray your baking pan ~ we use the same one used for the cornbread
13 ~ pour into prepared baking pan
14 ~ pat it out to check for moistness ~ it should hold together with a small amount of liquid on the surface, but not too wet, and certainly not too dry!
15 ~ we always have some extra that we bake in a muffin tin ~ this freezes well and makes a great quick dinner with chicken or turkey and little gravy 🙂
16 ~ ready to bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for roughly forty minutes ~ or as mom says, “until it is good and brown!”