Sunday, November 20, 2011

My Take on Grannie’s Cornbread Dressing

Dressing is a family-specific food—you love the kind your grandmother made. That is certainly true in my case! Every year we look forward to celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas at Grannie’s because of the family time and her dressing. She doesn’t have a recipe, of course; it’s made the way her mom made it.

A few years ago, it was time for me to learn to make this oral-tradition recipe. Grannie willingly shared her technique with me, and the dressing tasted like it was supposed to. Once I had the basics down, I decided to make some tweaks (nothing to change the flavor and texture, just make it more mine). The first change: Sauté the onions and celery to soften them a bit before mixing them with the cornbread (Grannie likes the crunch of the raw veggies). The second change: Make a classic véloute sauce as a substitute for the cream of celery and cream of chicken condensed soups. Don’t let the fancy name scare you—it’s simple! All you do is make a flour-and-butter paste and stir in chicken broth until the mixture thickens.

Now, my family probably wouldn’t like my version (if I was brave enough to serve it to them), but whenever I’ve made it for nonrelatives, as I did for church today, it is pretty well received. Andy likes my version and thinks it tastes like Grannie’s, which is high praise. However he’s anticipating enjoying the real thing on Saturday when we get together with my family. Enjoy!

Cornbread Dressing
2 onions, chopped
4 celery ribs, chopped
1 cup butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
10 cups chicken broth, divided
Salt and pepper
1 pan cornbread
1 1/2 cups toasted fresh breadcrumbs
2 tsp. dried sage
2 tsp. poultry seasoning
5 eggs

1. Sauté onions and celery in butter for 10 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Whisk in 1 cup flour, and cook for 1 minute. Gradually add in 6 cups chicken broth, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove pan from heat, and allow to cool slightly.
2. Crumble cornbread, and combine with breadcrumbs and next 2 ingredients. Stir a small amount of onion mixture into lightly beaten eggs to temper them. Stir remaining onion mixture and egg mixture into cornbread mixture until combined. Pour into buttered 13- x 9-inch and 8-inch square baking dishes.
3. Bake at 350° for 1 hour.
Grannie and Mad, the oldest of the great-grandchildren

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I do have to say that loving one's grandmother's dressing is not a given. When your grandmother experiments with new recipes every few years...
I'm looking forward to trying J's version of Grannie's dressing though.