My mother has always made what I call “traditional” stuffing for Thanksgiving: white bread, onions, celery, turkey giblets, poultry seasoning and maybe some chopped apples of sausage if she’s feeling fancy. I like that stuffing. It’s familiar and I grew up with it, however, there are so many versions of stuffing (or dressing, as some call it) and I’ve come to love cornbread dressing.
I was introduced to cornbread dressing the first time I celebrated Thanksgiving with my now-husband’s family, over ten years ago. His grandmother served her cornbread dressing and I was instantly converted. How can something so simple taste so good? Forget the turkey, I only wanted the dressing!
This year I’m hosting Thanksgiving for the first time. Of course, there will be cornbread dressing. This is my spin on my husband’s grandmother’s recipe. We gave it a pre-Thanksgiving taste test and everyone loved it, including our 16 month-old son. On first glance it looks like cornbread, but once you dig in you realize that it’s much more seasoned and savory than plain cornbread. It also has a dense, yet soufflé-like texture and a buttery taste in the background. This recipe is pretty easy and will make a nice addition to your table, even if you still decide to serve “traditional” stuffing.
Southern-Style Cornbread Dressing
2 boxes ShopRite Corn Muffin Mix, prepared according to package directions
1 large onion, minced finely (I use a food processor)
5 celery sticks (about 2 cups), minced finely (I use a food processor)
1 sleeve ShopRite Saltine Crackers, crushed into large pieces
1 stick (1/4 cup) butter
6 cups ShopRite chicken stock
about 2 tablespoons minced fresh sage
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
salt and pepper, to taste
Break up the cornbread into large chunks and dry it out. Either leave it on a baking sheet, loosely covered, overnight or bake it at 200 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onions and celery and cook until softened, about 10 minutes.
Place the dried cornbread, saltines, and sautéed onion and celery into a large bowl. Stir to combine.
Add sage, poultry seasoning and chicken stock to the cornbread mixture. Stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper, if desired.
Beat the eggs and stir them into the cornbread mixture.
Spray a baking ban with nonstick spray. Pour the dressing into the baking pan (at least 10” by 14”). Bake at 350 for about an hour, or until center is set and top is golden brown.
Let cornbread dressing cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Blog post by Keeley of www.keeleypowell.com.
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