Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thanksgiving Cornbread Dressing

In my family the dressing is prized over the turkey. As a matter of fact we usually make the turkey to compliment the dressing. We need the turkey "juices" as my Mema calls them. Also, with the leftover turkey we'd chop it up and add it to the dressing and eat on it for days. Why days? Because we make a small bathtubs worth of dressing every year so that everyone in the family can have leftovers. The thing is, this recipe is simple and I totally get that it isn't for everyone, because one thing I've learned is that people like and want the dressing they grew up with. Here's our family version. This makes a big lasagna pan, for a smaller amount, half the recipe, we usually triple it at least! Oh, one other thing. I'll run this recipe by my Mema to make sure it gets the final stamp of approval!

Thanksgiving Cornbread Dressing

2 recipes of cornbread (Homemade, CornKit, whatever suits you)
6 hard boiled eggs
1 onion finely diced
3 stalks of celery finely diced
4 pieces of the whitest white bread you can find
salt & pepper to taste
ground sage to tast <- this is hard to put a measure on, but probably at LEAST 3-4 tbsp.
6-8 cups of liquid: which means as much turkey "stock/juice" as you can get your sticky fingers on (the gravy people in the family also fight for this high prized commodity!) Supplement turkey drippings with chicken STOCK (not broth) and water if you must.

A lot of recipes have you saute your veggies before you add them to the dressing, our family likes the crunch so we put the veggies in raw. So, dice up your onions, celery and the hard boiled eggs and set aside. In a very large mixing bowl crumble up your cornbread into various sized pieces. With the white bread, tear off small pieces and roll and crumble them between your fingers to evenly distribute throughout the cornbread. Add veggies and egg and mix well. Add salt and pepper. Add sage. Stirring everything in very well. Now you do a "dry" taste until the seasonings taste right. Add the liquids. Transfer to baking dishes and cook on 325 degrees until the top gets browned. It is important to taste every 10-15 minutes just to make "sure" the seasoning is correct. Also just as important to have multiple tasters available.

I can't say how long you bake it because other things are usually crowding the oven and the temp goes up and down depending on what else is in the oven. That is just a Thanksgiving issue!

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