Did you know that there is no historical evidence that stuffing was served at the first Thanksgiving? The term first appeared in the English language around 1530. However, after 1880 the term didn’t appeal to the Victorian upper crust and they began to refer to it as “dressing.” Now days, the terms stuffing and dressing are used interchangeably.
Every Thanksgiving, there is a great divide in my house. It is the issue over stuffing – or dressing – whatever you prefer to call it. I grew up eating stuffing of the cubed bread variety. I love the taste of sage, the little bite of crispiness on the top and the warm gooeyness underneath. My husband refers to my brand of stuffing as “soggy bread dressing.” He swears by his mom’s recipe for cornbread dressing, passed down by his grandmother. It has a permanent place in the buffet lineup every Thanksgiving, Christmas, and any other family get-together in between.
Health buffs, take note. I am aware the first ingredient is an entire stick of butter. I don’t need you pointing it out in the comments section or chastising me with an email. It’s Southern cooking. We like butter. And isn’t it Thanksgiving? You’re going to be consuming mass quantities of calories anyway. At least make them count.
Southern Cornbread Dressing
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 2 cups chopped celery
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 6 - 8 cups crumbled cornbread
- 2 slices day old bread torn
- 2 cups chicken broth plus more as needed
- 2 raw eggs slightly beaten
- 2 hardboiled eggs chopped
- 1 cup shredded cooked chicken
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add celery and onion and sauté for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Combine cornbread with torn bread in a large bowl. Pour in chicken broth. Using a potato masher, begin mashing the bread – adding additional broth as needed – until the mixture is slightly soupy. Mix in raw eggs. Add hardboiled eggs, sautéed vegetables, and shredded chicken. Stir until all ingredients are well combined. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour cornbread mixture into a 9 x 13 x 2 inch casserole dish coated with nonstick cooking spray. Place dish on the middle rack of the oven and cook for 1 hour. Broil for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes before serving.