This is a recipe that I remember my great-grandmother fixing when I was just a little bitty girl. My grannie learned how to make it from her and my mother learned it from my grannie – and yes, I learned it from my mother. I tried several iterations of it and it never tasted quite the same, so I went back to the old tried and true recipe that my mother taught me. You can, however, veganize the cornbread by using the egg substitute (I’d use the first one listed on that page) and alternative milk to make this.
Beth’s Family Cornbread Dressing Recipe
- 1 recipe of cornbread (made WITHOUT sugar) (DO NOT USE A BOX MIX!!!! – it has sugar) (crumbled in chunks)
- 8 slices toasted bread (crumbled fine)
- 1 large jar pimientos, chopped – drained
- Rubbed sage (ground will work, but doesn’t have quite the same *something* about it)
Prepare several days in advance one recipe of cornbread. DO NOT USE BOX MIX as this contains sugar & you do NOT want sugar in this recipe!!! Crumble into chunks. Toast 8 slices of bread – break in pieces. Place in a large bowl, cover loosely to allow air in so it can dry out. Set aside until the day you need it.
In another bowl, add chopped onion and drained pimientos. Allow them to dry until needed. (If you live in a humid climate, do not put the onions and pimientos in the same bowl with the cornbread/bread as the moisture in the veggies will make the breads spoil. I learned that from firsthand experience. *sigh*)
To prepare: Preheat oven to 325. Now that everything is dried out after several days (I usually do it 4-5 days in advance), crumble toast pieces as finely as you can and crumble cornbread into finer chunks. Mix in the onion & pimiento.
Add chicken stock that you’ve melted one stick of butter in.
Add seasonings. An approximation would be 1-2 T. rubbed sage (use RUBBED sage if you can), 3 to 4 t. celery salt, 1 to 2 t. pepper. Do not add regular salt until you’ve taste-tested later.
Now, the key to keeping this stuff moist (and believe me, I’ve had some nasty dry cornbread dressing I wouldn’t feed to the dog!!) — add enough water to make this into almost like a soup. And I mean really pretty soupy (maybe just a little bit of water separated at the top – kind of like a gruel). You should be able to look at it and see the cornbread crumbles floating in the shallow layer water. But it’s okay. This will cook out, leaving a nice, moist dressing.
Now’s the time to taste. Don’t worry – if you like cornbread, it’ll be okay. If it tastes like it needs more salt (which it most likely will with all the water), this is when you add it. But be careful to add just a little bit at a time, because it can become very salty very quickly. You can also add more of the other seasonings at this time, a little at a time – but be sure to taste test after each addition. You should be able to notice a subtle flavor of sage in the mix. If you don’t, add a little bit more of that. I sometimes will add a little bit of onion powder at this point if it doesn’t have quite enough onion flavor for us.
Now, this recipe will make at least a 9×13 and a 9×9 pan of dressing. Be sure to spray well with nonstick coating. Bake at 325 for at least 1-1/2 hours. You know it’s pretty much done whenever the dressing starts pulling away from the sides of the pans and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
This is a great stuffing also, of course after it’s cooked.
I will try to add photos of this when it gets closer to Thanksgiving (when I usually make it most often) so you can see what it looks like in the process.
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