My grandmother and my mother’s cooking is referenced frequently here on Sauce and Sensibility, because they had such a profound influence on me in the years when I was learning my way around the kitchen. They were both great, intuitive; natural cooks who worked without written recipes or measurements to delicious results.
So it comes as little surprise to me that while I know this cooking best, it is their recipes that are the hardest to translate to the blog because their techniques and ingredients were employed by instinct and memory and never from the recipe box or card. I’ve had to make these dishes over and over to get the measurements, ingredients and temperature just right—when they just effortlessly added “a little bit of this” and “a pinch of that” to put our best-loved foods on the table.
For Thanksgiving, this Cornbread Dressing has always been our family’s side dish of choice—very moist, flavorful and the perfect complement to a well-dressing, well-gravied turkey. From the Davis family recipe box to you, a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Serves 8 to 10
4 cups seasoned herb stuffing mix (I use Pepperidge Farm)
1 recipe cornbread 8” square pan (I use Jiffy), crumbled
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped green pepper
½ cup chopped onion
3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1 ½ teaspoons poultry seasoning
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon pepper
3 raw eggs
2 ½ cups chicken stock
1 cup (or more) Homemade Turkey Stock (see note below) or more chicken stock
In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil and the butter and sauté the celery, green pepper, and chopped onion until the vegetables are soft and the onion is translucent. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine all of the remaining ingredients except for the homemade turkey stock. Add the vegetables and mix well. The stuffing can be made in advance up this point. An hour before serving, drizzle a cup of the homemade turkey stock over the stuffing. (After adding this cup of liquid, the dressing should look very moist—if the liquid soaks up too quickly, add a bit more stock) Bake for one hour at 350 degrees until the top is lightly browned.
Note: to make homemade Turkey Stock, simmer for an hour or so, the neck and organ meats of the turkey, and one chopped onion, a chopped carrot, and a chopped stalk of celery with 2 cups of water, 1 stick of butter, and 2 tablespoons of whatever herbs you have on hand– parsley, thyme, and Herbs de Provence are all lovely…a bay leaf…and add a bit of salt and pepper to taste.