Is it coke or pop? Y’all or you all? Po boy or hoagie? When it comes to stuffing or dressing, some may argue that the difference has less to do with varying techniques and ingredients but more to do with where you come from. I’m not one of those people. Yes, more people in the South are going to serve “dressing” at the dinner table, but to me, there are two clear distinctions that define dressing.
First, dressing must have a cornbread base as opposed to white bread. Second, dressing should be closely packed in a casserole dish forming a cohesive, homogenized block of delicious aromatic bread. At least, that’s what dressing looks like in my house. But as long as the kitchen is filled with the smell of sage and turkey gravy, I’m happy to add a hunk of whatever bread-like dish to my plate.
1½ cups self-rising cornmeal
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup milk
2 cups bread crumbs (5 slices of toasted white bread)
2 cups chopped onion (1 medium onion)
1 cup chopped celery (small dices)
¼ cup butter
3 large eggs
3 cups turkey stock (or chicken stock)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
Make the cornbread.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Add the cornmeal to a medium mixing bowl. In a smaller mixing bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the cornmeal. Stir to combine. Pour the mixture into a greased cast iron skillet or 8-inch square pan.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes. Let the cornbread completely cool. In a large mixing bowl, crumble the cornbread by hand (or food processor) into small pieces. It’s okay if there are a few larger pieces. Add the 2 cups bread crumbs to the bowl.
Prepare the remaining ingredients.
- Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and celery to the skillet and sauté for 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and sauté for another 5 minutes until onion mixture is soft. Stir in the herbs and turn heat off. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes before adding it to the mixing bowl of breadcrumbs.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the eggs and turkey stock to the large mixing bowl of breadcrumbs. Stir to combine. Pour the mixture into a greased 10×7 casserole dish. Bake for 30-40 minutes.