Just as the dishes and the dryer hose pumpkins are a staple at Thanksgiving, so is cornbread dressing made just like, well almost like, Mom used to make. For that matter, I think she made it the same as my grandmother, so I like the idea that this dressing has been around for a long time.
I’m not sure how Mother made her cornbread, so I rely on this recipe in my trusty Southern Living cookbook. Can you tell it has been around for years and is much used?
1 1/2 c. cornmeal
3/4 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 c. milk
6 T. shortening
Preheat oven to 400. Combine the dry ingredients with eggs and milk. Spoon shortening into a 10″ skillet (I use an iron one) and heat in the oven until the shortening is melted and the skillet hot. Pour the cornbread mix into the skillet and bake for about 20-25 minutes.
Now for the dressing which combines a few simple ingredients. I usually make it a day ahead of time so the flavors are well blended.
Though the main ingredient is the cornbread, Mother always crumbled a few leftover biscuits into the mix. If I don’t have biscuits, I toast a few slices of bread and then make cubes or crumbs. That seems to work just fine.
1 round of cornbread plus biscuits or bread cubes
1 lb. sausage
1 c. each celery and onion
1 t. poultry seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
1 c. Craisins (that’s my touch)
3-4 c. chicken stock
Brown sausage with celery and onion. Add to crumbled breads. Mix in remaining ingredients being sure to add enough stock to make the dressing nice and moist. Spoon into a large casserole dish. Bake at 350 until the dressing is heated through and the top is a bit crispy.
Though much of the dressing disappears at the Thanksgiving table, there’s always enough left over to put it on turkey sandwiches the next day. I’ve even made soup out of the remains. It was quite good, but dang, I can’t remember how I did it!
OK, enough words. It’s time to get on with making the dressing. If you have a favorite dish for Thanksgiving, do tell.
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