Dressing or Stuffing? Cooked inside the bird or in a baking dish? Soggy or crumbly? Plain or with fruit, sausage, or nuts? There is much debate about what makes good stuffing--or dressing--whatever you call it.
Me? I call it both dressing and stuffing, but more often dressing. I like it cooked in a baking dish resulting in crispy brown edges and moist (but not soggy) stuffing. No fruit or sausage in mine, but I do add some almonds.
This is one of those traditional foods that many people feel passionately about. Lots of us simply like it prepared the way our mothers or grandmothers made it. That's definitely the case in my family. Although the recipe I'm sharing today has been tweaked through the years, this is very close to the way my mom (aka Grammy) has been making cornbread dressing for at least 50 years. She learned it from her Southern-cooking mother. I'm not sure exactly how far back the origins of the recipe go before that. My mom did add her creative touch to the recipe when she began seasoning her cornbread dressing with cumin and coriander, in addition to traditional poultry seasoning. That may sound like an odd combination to you, but in our family it has become the only way to season stuffing. Most newbies who taste it can't quite put their finger on what's different about it, but it consistently gets rave reviews.
Healthified. Unlike most stuffing recipes, my cornbread dressing has zero butter. Two tablespoons of olive oil is the only added fat. I use mostly whole grain breads with equal portions of whole grain cornbread, whole wheat bread, and white bread (a little white bread is needed to lighten up the texture a bit). Chia seeds (or ground flax seeds) completely disappear into the stuffing (no one will know they are there) while adding a nutrition boost. I like to throw in some slivered almonds for crunch, flavor, and nutrition, too. Stuffing is by definition one big carb-fest; but as carbs go, and certainly as stuffing goes, this is a healthy recipe.
Nutritional Information (per serving): 208 calories, 9.0g fat, 24g carbs, 2.6g fiber, 2.1g sugars, 8.1g protein; Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 5
Easy and Make Ahead. This recipe is really easy to make--simple ingredients and not much prep time. I've experimented with assembling it a day ahead. It's every bit as good, if not better. It is such a relief to have the stuffing prepared ahead and ready to pop in the oven as the turkey is finishing up. We always have this with our Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. Those are such busy days, and I try to make ahead as much of the menu as possible so that I can relax and enjoy myself and our family and guests. (My Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy and Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes are both stress relievers, too.)
Step-by-step pictures for making
Whole Grain Cornbread Stuffing
Step 1. Assemble these ingredients:
Step 2. The bread needs to be dried so that it will absorb the broth and other seasonings better and make for a more flavorful stuffing. There are two ways of doing this. Spread out the bread cubes and crumbled cornbread on two large baking sheets.
Step 3. Chop the celery and onion.
Step 4. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, almonds, and seasonings. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until onions and celery are soft and just beginning to brown.
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Oxo silicone spatula (I use this for stirring when I saute)
Step 5. In a large bowl, combine the dried bread cubes and crumbs. Add the sautéed veggies and seasonings along with any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.
Step 6. Pour in 4D cups of broth, stir, and let rest a few minutes for the broth to get absorbed. Continue to stir in more broth, as needed, until dried bread is completely moistened. (The actual amount of broth needed can vary depending on the quantity and dryness of the bread used.) I added a total of 5 cups of broth to this batch.
Step 7. Taste a sample of the mixture to make sure it has enough salt and other seasonings; add more, if needed. (Note: It's important for safety reasons to taste and adjust seasonings before raw eggs are added in the next step.)
Step 8. Whisk the eggs and stir them into the stuffing mixture. The eggs serve as a binder to hold the stuffing together. If you prefer a more crumbly stuffing, omit the eggs or use 1 egg instead of 2.
Step 9. Transfer the stuffing mixture to a 9x13 baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray. I like to use a glass baking dish so I can check the edges and bottom for brownness to determine when to take it out of the oven when it's baked.
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Step 10. Bake it uncovered at 350 degrees for approx. 1 hour, until the edges and bottom are browned. The combination of the browned edges and moist center are so good!
You can serve the stuffing directly from the baking dish or spoon it into a serving bowl. Fresh sage or parsley makes a pretty garnish.
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Gravy is a must! It's a rule that stuffing should be smothered in gravy. I make turkey gravy in advance, too, so that I'm not scurrying around trying to get it made after the turkey comes out the oven. Here's my recipe:
I love the flavor and texture of this old family stuffing recipe. What kind of stuffing do you like?
Make it a Yummy day!