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Meme's Cornbread Dressing
(recipe, Virginia Willis)
Although there are exceptions, it seems most Southerners "dress" instead of "stuff." At Thanksgiving, Meme always prepared her dressing on the side, as opposed to stuffing her turkey. I've taken a few liberties with Meme's recipe, adding brioche and panko.
It's OK to use store-bought cornbread, but make sure it's not sweet. Typically, Southern cornbread is savory and rich with the taste of corn, with no sugar added. Sweet cornbread produces a dressing that's just not quite right.
This dish is best for larger gatherings of friends and family. It can be halved, or divided into two smaller pans — one to cook now, the other to wrap tightly in plastic and freeze for later use. After thawing to room temperature, cook as directed.
- 4 Tbsp. (½ stick) unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
- 4 cups day-old crumbled cornbread (try Cornbread or Sweet (or Savory) Cornbread)
- 1 loaf brioche or egg bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
- ¾ cup fresh breadcrumbs or panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 onion, preferably Vidalia, chopped
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage
- 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter an ovenproof gratin or casserole dish.
- In a very large bowl, combine the cornbread, brioche, and breadcrumbs; set aside.
- Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the celery and onion and cook until soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the cooked vegetables to the bread mixture.
- Pour over the stock and add the eggs, sage, and thyme. The mixture should be fairly soupy; if not, add additional stock. Stir well to combine and season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the mixture to the baking dish. Bake until heated through, puffed, and golden brown, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven to cool slightly before serving.