When it comes to homemade dressing, my mother is Beyoncé. No, seriously. Everyone who has ever tasted her dressing falls in love. So, when the Cookies asked for a Southern Cornbread Dressing recipe I got nervous instantly! Like come on! How am I gonna top Beyoncé‘s recipe? Like how?? Then, I remembered. Coop is Beyoncé‘s child. I can do this! So, I said a quick prayer then proceeded to try to take my own mother’s crown. All’s fair in family and the kitchen! Let me tell you, there was no greater reward than watching the Beyoncé of Dressings go back for a second helping of MY dressing! *insert praise dance* Cookies, my mama loved my dressing! Look at God!! And since you guys are my homies, I’m sharing the goodness with you!
The flavor turkey necks provide the dressing is unmatched. Chicken is great, don’t get me wrong. But, it’s just something special about well-seasoned turkey neck meat in a dressing! And the stock it leaves? Chile, goooood eating! Beyonce (my mother) adds a little bit of chicken liver or gizzards to hers. That adds even more flavor. If you like that slightly strong taste of chicken liver, try it!
The herb stuffing mix that I use a contains sage. Since, sage can be overpowering if used in excess, I don’t add any additional pinches to this recipe. But, please your own taste buds. Season however you’d like. BUT, do not start seasoning your dressing until the bread has had time to soak until that stock. You don’t make it too salty.
Also, it’s important to not overcrowd your baking pan with the dressing. I try not to allow it to fill the pan over 1 1/2 inches in height. If that happens, it will brown too much on the top and bottom while remaining mushy inside. So, if you have too much dressing for your pan, just put half of the mixture in one pan and the rest in another. Watch it while baking and remove it when it gets as dry as you like.
And the cornbread! DO NOT USE SWEET CORNBREAD! Use the same recipe I used in my Seafood Cornbread Dressing http://www.coopcancook.com/seafood-dressing/ Put that box of Jiffy down! I mean it. My mom adds about 1 cup of cooked rice to her dressing to make it rice dressing. Delicious! If you like rice dressing, just stir it into the bowl before pouring into the baking dish. Make sure you taste everything and get that flavor perfect!
I’ve also included an easy recipe for making Turkey dressing from scratch. I use the same stock I made for the dressing with the turkey necks. Just reserve 2 cups of the stock for the gravy.
- 1 cup self rising flour
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup milk
- 1 large egg
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 1 lb turkey necks or chicken thighs (bone in)
- 1 pan Cornbread (crumbled)
- 1/2 of a 14 oz bag of classic herb stuffing mix (Pepperidge Farm brand)
- 1 onion
- 1 bell pepper
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 T minced garlic
- 1 stick butter
- 6 cups water
- 1 T onion powder
- 1 T garlic powder
- Cajun seasoning (or salt) & black pepper to taste
- 2 cups stock from turkey necks
- 4 TBS butter
- 3 TBS flour
- 1 tsp onion powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven 400 degrees F
- Mix all ingredients together well.
- Pour into a greased 9 inch pan or cast iron skillet
- Bake for 20-25 mins. or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Season turkey necks or chicken thighs with seasoned salt, onion powder, and garlic powder.
- Place them in a stock pot or dutch oven. (Chile, just get a big pot)
- Roughly chop half of the onion, bell pepper, and celery.
- Add it to the pot with the meat and add the water.
- Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until meat is tender and cooked completely.
- Remove the meat. Once it cools, separate the meat from the bone, and set it aside.
- Strain the stock and reserve. Discard the veggies.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Finely chop the remaining onion, bell pepper, garlic, and celery. Use a food processor if you have one available.
- In a pan or skillet, saute veggies the butter until tender.
- In a large bowl, add the crumbled cornbread, herb stuffing mix, veggies, onion & garlic powders, meat, and 4 cups of the stock.
- Mix well, taste, and adjust seasoning if needed.
- Pour mixture into 1 (or 2)* buttered 9x13 casserole dish.
- Bake, uncovered, for 40 mins to an 1 hour or until it's as dry as you'd like.**
- Allow to cool for 10 mins.
- Melt butter in a heavy bottom saucepan
- Whisk in the flour
- Continue whisking on medium high heat until the roux is a light brown color
- Pour in the stock while whisking
- Continue whisking until the gravy thickens
- Remove from heat
- Stir in the onion powder
- Season with salt and pepper to taste
- Drizzle over the dressing
- *If the dressing is thicker than 2 inches in your pan, remove some of it, and bake it in another pan. Use 2 pans instead of one to ensure even baking.
- **Check the dressing after the first 30 mins of baking. If it is browning too fast and still "jiggly" in the center when the pan is shaken, place it on the top rack of the oven and continue baking.