Thanksgiving is my most FAVORITE day to cook. I thought I would share my dressing recipe – not quick but I like it.
My grandmother always saved left over cornbread, and the ends of white bread. As I perfected my dressing each year I dropped the white bread. I always save left over cornbread through the year and keep it in the freezer.
A KEY ingredient to this recipe is fresh sage. My sister grew sage and we would all receive it from her. I still have much of what she had, so I am grateful. Eventually, well pretty soon, I am going to have to start growing it myself. If you have fresh sage, you have to hang it upside down to dry it out. It makes a HUGE difference in taste. Do not use ground sage…it just does not work well..Trust me (I have done it and it was not good)..An alternative would be to find sage leaves..most of the time you can find that in the grocery stores near the Hispanic area with the other seasonings.
Another KEY ingredient is the cornbread. If you don’t have old cornbread and/or you need more…Bake Jiffy cornbread a few days ahead of time if you can. Let it sit out, or inside the oven to dry out as much as possible…Mrs Cubbisons cornbread dressing can be used to fill in…it WILL change the taste..I only use it if nothing else is available.
Prepare the dressing AT LEAST one day ahead of time…TWO days if possible.
Seasonings: pepper, seasoned salt, thyme, old bay
1 stick of butter
In a skillet saute’ bell pepper, onion, celery, and garlic with a stick of butter or two if you are making a lot of dressing for about 5-7 minutes on medium heat. You want them to be opague and soft. Add the seasoning in the mixture as well while it is cooking. Take the dried, brittle sage off of the stem and grind it in the palm of my hand. Put hands together and grind in a circular motion and add to the celery mixture as it is cooking.
While that is cooking, by hand crumble the cornbread in a large bowl. When the celery mixture is ready, pour it into the cornbread mixture and stir. I would taste it at this point and make any adjustments of more seasoning, more sage. Once it’s where you like it, add 1 to 2 eggs and mix. Remember it depends on how much cornbread you have. Add about 1/2c of milk or less, just add a little bit at a time until you have consistency that you prefer. I like mine to not be completely stuck together as if you could be put into a ball. I like for it to still be in a crumbly state for lack of a better description.
Once it’s complete, put in a plastic bag and put it into the refrigerator. When the turkey is ready and seasoned and it’s time to cook…stuff the turkey with the dressing. Do not put it in the turkey and then put it in the refrigerator, that is not safe…only put in the turkey right before you put it in the oven. Put any left over dressing in a glass dish to be baked later. As the turkey cooks, put drippings from the pan into the extra dressing to add moisture and flavor. When you bake additional items, bake the dressing for about 30-45 minutes – again depending on the amount.
Enjoy and Happy Turkey Day!!