My parents came out to Boulder for Thanksgiving this year. I set the menu since we were hosting and I decided to have a classic Thanksgiving. A staple of our Thanksgiving is my late Mawmaw’s cornbread dressing. She would make this every year and would often put oysters in it. My Dad and his family are from Baton Rouge, Louisiana where seafood is a big part of most meals, including Thanksgiving. It was common to put oysters into the dressing. Unfortunately, I am allergic to oysters so we have to make dressing without them.
This year, my Dad helped me make this recipe, which was special to me to get to do together. I love cooking with my Dad. He taught me how to cook and when we cook together now, I always learn something new and think of my childhood.. He doesn’t write anything down, so making it with him is the best way to learn it.
Since he doesn’t write anything down, this recipe is based on approximates and you may need to adjust. The part where you will have to use your best judgement is with how much of the stock to add. When we made it, my Dad used his hands to mix everything together as I continually added stock. When the recipe reaches the consistency of wet sand, you’ve added enough stock. I recommend that you add the stock in parts and not all at once.
After baking, the top should be crispy and the whole thing should be rather solid. I normally cut it in slices, almost like a loaf of bread. It’s delicious covered in gravy on your Thanksgiving plate. What’s even better is the next day – cut a slice, put some butter on it, and toast it in the toaster oven. Cook up some fried eggs and have it for breakfast. OH man is that good! My Dad loves to eat it like that.
Mawmaw’s cornbread dressing – recipes from home
Preptime: 45 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours and 30 minutes
Serves: a lot as a side
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cups chopped carrots
2 cups chopped celery
2 sprigs rosemary
2 sprigs thyme
2 large leaves sage
Bag of giblets from the turkey and the turkey neck
Salt and pepper
1 skillet of cornbread
1 bag herbed stuffing
1/2-3/4 cup chopped pecans
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter plus another 3-4 tablespoons
To make the cornbread:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Combine the dry ingredients (cornmeal to baking powder) in a bowl. Combine the milk and egg in a separate bowl. Melt the butter and slowly whisk into the milk and egg mix. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Melt about 3-4 tablespoons of butter in a cast iron skillet. Pour in the cornbread batter. Bake for 15 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean. Let the cornbread cool.
To make the dressing:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a medium size stock pot, add the vegetables, herbs, giblets and neck. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add water until the vegetables are covered with about a 1/2 inch of water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 2 hours.
Add the bag of herbed stuffing to a large bowl. Crumble the cornbread into the bowl and add the pecans. Mix to combine.
Ladle the stock with the vegetables into the bowl with the cornbread and stuffing but don’t add the liver or neck. Keep adding stock and mixing until the mixture reaches the texture of wet sand. Add in the egg and melted butter. Transfer to a large baking dish and smooth. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden and crispy and the inside is no longer wet.