If you know Bekah and I (creators of That’s Normal) than you know we love food, we love finding recipes, we love making it, we love going to restaurants and trying new stuff, we love it all. We’ve been wanting to start a reoccurring food column here on That’s Normal and I thought what better way to jump into the fray than by preparing a generations old recipe that takes multiple hours of preparation! Nothing like jumping in the deep end of stupidity, right? I mean I’ve watched my great grandma and my grandma and my aunties and my mom make this, how hard could it be? I’ll just throw it together! Famous last words.
I know all the “Yankees” are probably looking at this title wondering: DRESSING?? What the turkey is that?! For all our friends from the north and most other places, the easiest way to explain dressing is that it is the southern version of stuffing, however, it contains ALL THE CARBS, cornbread and is baked outside the bird usually in a casserole baker. And it is deeeeeeelicious.
My recipe comes straight from my mom’s family cookbook. Yes, they have their own cookbook. Shiz is THAT real with them. They are good southern women, who like big hats and growing tomatoes in the dirt to paraphrase Ouiser Boudreaux from Steel Magnolias. I, however, grew up in Arizona and now live in Los Angeles, so just go with me on this one.
After seeing the ladies in my family do this for years, I thought of I can whip this together real quick, cue me reading the first two ingredients: two quarts of white bread (torn) and two quarts of cornbread (crumbled). The good news is this “freezes beautifully” can be baked ahead of time, frozen, and then eaten in the middle of January when you want a warm hug from your grandma.
This is what an hour plus of bread tearing looks like. Two quarts worth. Though I never expected it to take that long I found myself thinking about my grandma and great grandma and how they tore bread for hundreds of Thanksgivings before me. I also thought about how the times they lived in looked compared to what we’re going through right now. Somehow the bread tearing connected us through decades of Thanksgivings past, births, deaths, Vietnams, family reunions, weddings, Fergusons and whatever next year brings. I may have underestimated how long tearing two quarts of bread would take but I came away with a deeper appreciation and gratefulness for the women in my family.
Pro tip: The dressing is best if the bread is dry when you begin tearing. While you prep other stuff (or sleep) leave the bread out on trays covered with tea towels to dry out a bit. You don’t want it toasted but you don’t want it squishy and sandwich bread-like.
Pro Tip: Also, because I live in an apartment now and don’t have the storage space for the bowl it would take to mix all this together my mom (who uses the oldest, biggest, YELLOW tupperware bowl, like 3 feet across, to mix hers) suggested I buy one of those cheap throw-away aluminum roasting pans for mixing. So instead of beautiful food blog worthy photos of my ingredients in an earthenware vessel you now know why this is in an ugly aluminum pan I got at Target for two bucks. You’re welcome for less dishes to clean! Sorry earth.
You can make this in LARGE casserole pans (it makes a lot) or you can do like me and make it in greased/sprayed muffin tins. Cause A. who doesn’t like a cupcake shaped puck of dressing? And B. You can call them Stuffin’ Muffins (though it’s called dressing but WHATEVER) Whatever it takes to get kids and/or skeptical boyfriends to eat it, right?!
Southern Cornbread Dressing
Serves: a ton. Can be halved for normal sized families
2 Quarts White bread (dry, torn into small bits)
2 Quarts Corn bread (crumbled)
2 Cups Onion (finely chopped)
2 Cups Celery (finely chopped)
1 TBSP. Salt (I used sea salt)
1 TBSP. Sugar
3 TBSP. Poultry Seasoning (DIY recipe here!)
1/4 Lb. Butter (one stick), melted
1 Pint Milk (I used unsweetened Almond Milk, FYI)
1 Quart Broth (I used Vegetable. Because: vegetarian)
I also included a few turns of fresh cracked black pepper
- Turn on this “Home for the Holidays” Spotify playlist
- Mix all ingredients together, you can use your hands (ew!) or a big old wooden spoon or spatula, but make sure it’s mixed well!
- Pour milk, broth and butter over the mixture
- Let stand covered for ONE WHOLE HOUR!
- After mixture sits, mix well and pour into baking pans (or tins)
- Cover with foil and bake slowly at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. For cupcake tins bake covered 30 minutes, then uncover and bake an additional 10ish minutes to brown the tops until done
- Test the middle with a toothpick to make sure the inside is done
- Throw some gravy on that ish or maybe some Pierce Family Noodles (another recipe for another day) and eat that dressing up!
- Consider moving to the south with your other Normal friends to become just like Ouiser and Truvy and M’Lynn and Clariee and Shelby. Now drink your juice.