Southern Eats


In the South, we usually don't stuff our turkey but cook dressing separately to serve with it instead. This recipe makes a big pan that will feed at least 12 people, probably a bit more with all the other stuff you serve at Thanksgiving. Measurements are not exact as I learned this one from observation so it is more an art than a science.

First, bake a double recipe of corn bread. I generally do it as muffins for this (makes 12) since it is quicker to cool and easier to crumble. If you want to use corn bread mix, try Martha White sweet yellow corn muffins and you will need 2 pouches.

While the muffins cool, you can do all your other ingredient prep work. You will need to chop up at least a cup of celery and one or two large onions, adjust the amounts depending on how much you like them but both are needed to give it the right taste. You will need chicken broth/stock which can be homemade or canned. If you use canned broth, get two of the 12oz size cans (I prefer Swanson brand). You will also need some chicken or turkey chopped up. I usually just use the canned kind and you will need either one big Costco/Sams Club size can or 2-3 of the little ones they sell at the supermarkets, you can't put too much. If you prefer to go all homemade, you can stew a ckicken for the broth and take all the meat off to use, but canned works just as well and is much easier.

Now you can start assembling the dressing. You will need a LARGE mixing bowl as it gets pretty big and messy. Crumble up all the muffins into the bowl and add in the onions and celery. Pour over all the broth and mix well. Now add in the chicken and mix some more. You will need 4 eggs for one this big, so crack them in another bowl and beat them a bit before you add them. Also add about a cup of milk. Now comes the spicing which is very much up to individual taste. It will need some salt, but not a lot since many of the ingredients were cooked with it. The most important things are poultry seasoning and sage. Poultry seasoning contains sage too along with pepper, thyme, and a few other things depending on the brand you use. You will need at least a tablespoon of that and then an additional teaspoon of rubbed sage, probably more so add, stir and see when it looks right. Mix well. At this point it should be smelling quite nice and you should see the spices in the mixture. You are now ready to pour it all in a well greased (I use butter for extra flavor) rectangular pan. Now is the secret that many people don't know, pour some milk on top of it going around the edges but not the center. There should be a thin layer of milk over the outer half of the whole pan. This keeps the edges moist while the center cooks through.

You will have to cook it for at least an hour at 350 degrees. Check it then and see if it is all golden on top with browning around the edges. It should be firm all the way through and not jiggly or wet in the middle, but still moist throughout the whole pan. Serve by cutting into squares, best with turkey gravy on the top and turkey and cranberry sauce on the side.

If you aren't serving the whole clan, either cut the recipe in half or you can wrap half in foil and freeze as it freezes very well and can be a meal in itself (it does contain bread, meat, and veggies) warmed up in the microwave with a bit of gravy on the top.

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