Monday, November 21, 2011

Early Thanksgiving Tradition Part III

For the past few days, I've shared some of my favorite recipes from a tradition that my husband and I enjoy every year. You can read the first two posts here and here. For my last post of our early Thanksgiving Tradition that we celebrated a few weeks ago, I'm sharing my recipe for dressing. This is definitely my Southern side, but down here, we don't call it stuffing. It's dressing; our rational for that is that it dresses the turkey on the plate. I also do not make it with bread, but with cornbread. Just another testament to my deep Southern roots, until I started watching Food Network about 4 years ago, I did not even know that there was a such thing as so called "stuffing" made with bread. Whatever you call it, it's a must on every Thanksgiving table.

I love dressing. I usually end up making it sometime in May or June, just to get a fix to hold me over until the holidays. If you're Northern, or someone (like many of my friends) who was raised by Northern parents in the South, you should give this dressing a try. It's very simple, and it's very different, in a good way, if you've never tried it! If you're Southern and have enjoyed dressing many times, give this one a try to enjoy the comfort of dressing as a part of your weeknight meal. It makes any meal special.

This recipe makes 4-5 servings and can be doubled.

 For the cornbread, you'll need:
1 1/2 c. Self-rising Cornmeal Mix (I swear by the Tendabake brand)
1 egg
3/4 c. milk
1/4 c. olive oil 
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. ground sage
1/2 tsp. salt and pepper

 1. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Add in the bay leaves. You will pull them out when you start to make the dressing.

 2. Put in a greased 8 x 8 pan and bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. The mixture should be fairly thin in the pan, it allows for it to dry out faster.

Place cooked cornbread on a drying rack and allow to sit out for at least 4 hours.

Sadie likes to sit on the bar stool while I'm cooking. So cute!

For the dressing, you'll need: 
Cooked cornbread
1/3 c. chopped celery
1/4 c. chopped carrots
1/3 c. chopped yellow onion
3-4 c. chicken broth
1/3 c. panko bread crumbs
1 egg
1 tsp. sage
1 tsp. of salt and pepper

 1. Chop up your vegetables into small pieces. 

 2. Saute the vegetables over medium-high heat in about 1 tsp. of olive oil. Add sage, salt, and pepper. Stirring occasionally, cook for about 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

 3. While your vegetables are cooking, crumble up your dried cornbread. Don't forget to remove those bay leaves!
4. Once vegetables are done, add them along with the egg and panko bread crumbs to the cornbread crumbs. Stir together well. 
5. Add 2 cups of chicken broth. Stir together. The mixture should be thoroughly wet, but there should not be any standing liquid. Add more chicken broth as needed so that the mixture is wet all the way through. This amount is different every time, depending on how dry the cornbread is. Mix well.

5. Spread in a greased dish. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. If you are doubling this recipe, you'll want to use a bigger casserole dish and bake for about 45 minutes.

 Enjoy with gravy on top! 

 Whether you are Southern to the core, like me, or if you have never even heard of cornbread dressing (and think I'm a little weird for calling it dressing), I hope that you enjoy this Southern staple!

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