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Thanksgiving Thursday – Cornbread Dressing

Along with the turkey and cranberry sauce, stuffing – or in the case of us Southerners, dressing – is the centerpiece of any truly worthy Thanksgiving meal.

For those who might be confused, stuffing is, well, stuffed inside the turkey; dressing is cooked in a separate dish.  For the most part, Southerners – and I am one – make dressing.  While I’m not sure why it’s a widespread Southern tradition, I can tell you why I cook the dressing outside the bird.

Reason Number One:  It’s damn near impossible to cook stuffing to a safe temperature (165 F) without overcooking the turkey.  As much as I love stuffing, I don’t want to contract salmonella while eating it.  And I’m sure as hell not eating a dry bird.

Reason Number Two:  It’s how my grandmother cooks it.  That’s good enough for me.  And it should be good enough for you.

So I give you my grandmother’s recipe for cornbread dressing.  Cook it.  Eat it.  Treasure it.  Thank me when you’re done.

Oh, and if you absolutely insist on stuffing the turkey with it, only use about half the chicken/turkey stock or broth or you’ll wind up with a soggy mess.  Which is just another good reason to make dressing instead of stuffing.  But that’s only my opinion, of course.  Stuff the the bird if you must, you Yankee heretic.  (Just kidding, just kidding…really…)

Cornbread Dressing

Serves…your family, with leftovers

1 Recipe of Cornbread, see below

1 stick unsalted butter

1 cup yellow onion, chopped

1 cup celery, chopped

1 heaping teaspoon poultry seasoning

1 heaping tablespoon dried, rubbed sage

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 to 4 cups chicken or turkey stock (low sodium, fat free canned chicken broth is perfectly acceptable)

2 eggs, lightly beaten

Heat oven to 350F.

Crumble the dry cornbread in a large mixing bowl; set aside.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat; saute the onion and celery until the onion is translucent, but not brown.

Pour the onion/celery mixture over the cornbread; add the eggs and seasonings.  Pour in 3 cups chicken broth, stirring well, and adding the remainder of the chicken broth until the mixture is very moist.  Spread in a large baking or roasting pan and bake 30 minutes, or until brown on top and hot all the way through.

Cornbread

2 cups cornmeal

2 cups all-purpose flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons salt

1/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 cups milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Spray a 9″x13″x2″ baking pan well with non-stick cooking spray.  Set aside.

Mix all of the ingredients until smooth in a large mixing bowl and pour into the prepared pan.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Let the cornbread sit out overnight to get slightly stale.

Note: You can make this dish vegetarian by substituting the chicken broth with a good quality vegetable broth.





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