28 November 2008

Southern Cornbread Dressing

The dressing is my absolute favourite part of our Thanksgiving feast. This recipe has been passed down in my Mom's family for at least 6 generations, but it is one of those that was not written down. Everyone just knew how to make it. When I was about 19 I committed it all to paper as my Mom and grandmother made it one holiday. One thing I have changed is the treatment of the trinity (onion, bell pepper, celery). They used to sauté the veggies separately, but I cook them in the cornbread.

Normally I bake the dressing in a casserole dish, but I had a new heather Fiesta bowl I wanted to use. (It is OK to bake in Fiesta). This is the large nappy that came from JCPenney as part of the "Companion Set". The other piece in the set is the large pizza tray.

Also, this was my first opportunity to use my large scarlet mixing bowl. It was just the right size to mix up the dressing. And the dressing was about the only thing I actually made Thursday.

When I was cracking the eggs for the cornbread, the last one was a double-yolk. We get free-range eggs in the veggie box each week, but its been a couple of years since I've seen a double-yolk egg.

Stirring chopped veggies (from the CSA box) into the batter.

Cornbread should always be baked in a cast iron skillet. Put a little oil in the skillet and heat it on the cooktop before pouring in the batter. This will ensure a nice crust. Because I add the veggies to the cornbread, I use the chicken fryer skillet as it is deeper than a regular skillet.

Cornbread baked to perfection.

Breads crumbled together. Lightbread is an old term for plain white bread. When my g-grandmother or grandmother said it, they were referring to their homemade bread. Most of the time I use whole wheat.

Dressing all mixed. It should be the consistency of thick pancake batter.

There was too much dressing to fit in the large nappy, so I baked the rest in a Pyrex dish.

Cornbread Dressing

2 cups yellow corn meal
6 Tbsp flour
2 tsp sugar
4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
4 eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp oil
2 cups milk
1 cup chopped bell pepper
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery

4 slices bread
2 biscuits
2 eggs, beaten
4 cups broth (My great-grandmother always used the giblets to make this.)
2 tsp crumbled dry sage or 1½ Tbsp chopped fresh
1½ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Mix the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, 4 eggs, oil and milk to make cornbread batter. Stir in the chopped onion, celery and bell pepper. Bake in a large iron skillet about 30-40 minutes or till done. The cornbread might not be quite set in the center. That’s OK.

Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

Crumble up the cornbread along with the lightbread and biscuits. Stir in the broth and the other eggs along with the sage and salt. Should look like thick pancake batter. Pour into greased pan and bake until set.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Becky, your dressing looks and sounds wonderful. Thanks for sharing.