with Carrie @ Thoughts, Ponderings, Musings
During my childhood on Christmas morning, after the gifts were opened, examined, and then delegated to my room, the next item on the Christmas Day agenda was the Christmas meal...
Generally, a fresh ham had been slowly baking all night and the whole house smelled like a pork paradise. Most sides and sweets had already been prepared.
My fork was ready for two things...
My Little Grandmother’s cornbread dressing and her red velvet cake...
Like many great Southern cooks, Grandmother made this by sight and taste...not by exact measurements. The large baking pan she used now blesses my kitchen and I always hope I make her proud when I prepare dressing for the family.
This recipe has been adjusted for a 9” x 13” baking pan. The finished product has been known to make grown men weep and delicate southern ladies faint:
1 9-10” skillet of cornbread, cooled and crumbled
4-5 biscuits, cooled and crumbled
half a dozen soda crackers
4-5 eggs, beaten
1-2 onions, chopped, cooked in butter
2-3 stalks of celery, chopped and cooked in butter (adjust the amount according to your personal taste...my DH does not like celery chunks, so I substitute celery seed)
salt and pepper
poultry seasoning – start out with a couple of teaspoons and then add more to taste
sage – start out with 1 teaspoon and add more to taste
a good, rich stock – chicken or turkey, make sure it is hot and flavorful...the amount varies according to the dryness of the bread used, but plan on a quart or two...
Mix everything but the stock in a large bowl. Add stock a few cups at a time, and stir well. The final consistency should be soupy - not dry.
Take out your testing spoons and let the taste test begin. Yes, I know there are raw eggs in it, so you may use an egg substitute if you wish...or add the eggs at the very last after all the seasoning is done.
Add more seasonings as your taster dictates...the flavors intensify after cooking, so if the pre-baked product is not quite as flavorful as you would like, take heart that the finished dish will be perfect.
Bake at 350 for about an hour or until brown and crispy on the outside and moist on the inside.
The only modifications I have done with Grandmother’s recipe is to add a teaspoon or so of dried rosemary leaves, crumbled, and sometimes I add some parsley.
A lesson in not messing with perfection was learned the hard way one Christmas...
I read a magazine tip about adding yellow food coloring to your dressing to make it “buttery looking”...all it did to mine was turn it a pale green!
What is your favorite Christmas meal side?