Every Thanksgiving and Christmas my sweet Granny would make chicken and cornbread dressing from scratch. Like make the cornbread and crumble it, chop the celery and onions by hand, boil and shred the chicken by hand, boil and cut up the eggs, hours of work and love pouring into it kind of from scratch. It wasn’t until she passed on and my mom and I assumed the duty of making the holiday meals including the all important cornbread dressing that I truly appreciated the effort she put into making our holiday meals special.
Now, don’t get me wrong I always said thank you and appreciated the delicious meal but I never really got how much work she put in from her heart year after year in these labor intensive, time consuming dishes and never complained. I have her recipe and treasure it and have made it once myself. That was all it took for me to realize that as much as I love cooking and I love feeding my family I am not the sort of cook to spend 3 hours making dressing.
I came up with this recipe that takes an hour from start to finish and put my own stamp on it by using sausage and bacon instead of chicken and added some fire roasted chiles to wake up those cornbread crumbs.
- 1 16oz package of Jimmie Dean Sage Pork Sausage
- 1½ cups Celery Chopped
- 1 Medium White Onion Chopped
- 1 small can fire roasted diced chiles, drained
- 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
- 3 strips hickory bacon cooked into bacon bits (divided)
- 4 cups toasted cornbread crumbs
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon Tony Chachere
- ¼ cup fresh parsley (divided)
- Preheat oven to 325°.
- Brown sausage in large skillet and then add onions, celery, and garlic.
- Cook sausage and vegetables for about 8-10 minutes then drain.
- Add mixture to a large bowl, then add cornbread, Tony Chachere, parsley, and bacon bits (saving enough parsley and bacon bits for garnish).
- Add the egg and broth and stir to combine.
- Grease a casserole dish and add dressing.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Baked uncovered for the last ten minutes.
- Garnish with remaining parsley and bacon bits.
The smell of the sage sausage and hickory bacon when you’re making this cornbread dressing will have your mouth watering- then add in those onions and the chiles with the garlic…oh my! The chiles are optional but if you omit them I would add additional seasoning- more Tony Chachere, plain old S&P, something to replace the flavor of the chiles.
This is a drier stuffing and would pair well with your gravy. I can eat it just by itself (two bowls, y’all!), but did want to point out the texture for those who like the more “wet” casserole style dressing.
If you want to spend three hours making cornbread dressing, you have my utmost respect. It is becoming a lost art. However, if you want to just spend an hour and use the rest of the time to make other things, or hey, put your feet up with a hot chocolate or cocktail, then this recipe fits the bill. I don’t think my Granny would mind- she would know it’s still made with love.
This recipe was modified from this one by Jimmy Dean.
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