Mama’s Cornbread Dressing

Mama’s Cornbread Dressing is a classic, heartwarming dish, often featured in traditional Southern American cuisine, particularly around holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. This dish starts with the cornerstone ingredient: cornbread. The cornbread is homemade, baked until it’s perfectly golden, with a texture that’s ideally crumbly, yet moist. It’s often made a day or two in advance to allow it to slightly dry out, which is key for the perfect dressing.

The cornbread is then crumbled into large chunks and mixed with a variety of seasonings and vegetables. Commonly, this includes finely chopped onions and celery, which are sautéed until they’re just soft, releasing their aromatic flavors. The seasoning blend is critical and typically includes sage, which is the dominant flavor, along with thyme, rosemary, and black pepper. These herbs provide a warm, earthy base that complements the cornbread’s sweetness.

To bind everything together, rich chicken or turkey broth is poured over the mixture, ensuring that the dressing is moist but not soggy. Some recipes also incorporate beaten eggs, which help to bind the ingredients and give the dressing a slightly custardy texture once baked.

In many family recipes, there’s an addition of small, cooked pieces of chicken or turkey, which turns the dressing into a more substantial dish. Some variations also include bits of crispy bacon or sausage, adding a savory, smoky depth.

The dressing is then baked in the oven until it’s heated through and the top layer turns into a delightful, crispy crust, contrasting with the soft, flavorful interior. The edges become particularly coveted for their extra crunch and caramelization.

Mama’s Cornbread Dressing is more than just a side dish; it’s a symbol of family, tradition, and comfort. Each family’s recipe is slightly different, often passed down through generations, with each iteration adding a personal touch. It’s a dish that evokes nostalgia and is often the centerpiece of family gatherings, where stories and memories are shared over mouthfuls of this comforting, savory, and heartily seasoned dressing.

Ingredients :

  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 cups finely crumbled toasted bread
  • 4 cups finely crumbled cornbread
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage
  • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • turkey broth
  • 4 large eggs, beaten

Directions :

Melt butter in a skillet; add the onions and celery and saute until tender.
Combine toasted bread and cornbread in a large bowl and mix.
Add onions and celery plus their cooking liquid, the salt, pepper, sage, and poultry seasoning and mix thoroughly.
Using a bulb baster, add just enough turkey giblet broth to make a very moist mixture, then stir in the eggs and scrape the dressing into a large greased baking pan or dish.
Bake in 400 degree F oven until dressing is nicely browned, about 30-40 minutes.

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