Which recipe do you pull out every year for Thanksgiving that has been passed down to you from someone else? Mine is always my mother-in-law’s cornbread dressing recipe. I never ate dressing the way my mother made it. But Mrs. Paulk won me over quickly with hers! I still have the recipe card in her handwriting — well worn and fading.
All cornbread dressing recipes must start with excellent cornbread. Since we have vegetarians and vegans in our family, I always make sure the cornbread is made with a milk substitute. And I always make two batches — one to use in the dressing and one to eat now! And, of course, cornbread must be made in a cast iron skillet.
Mise en place — everything finely chopped and crumbled. Then mixed together and poured into a well-greased pan. Use a larger pan for thinner dressing.
4 cups crumbled cornbread (cornbread made without milk ingredients)
2 cups dry bread crumbs (without milk in ingredients)
3 1/2 cups chicken stock (vegetable stock)
3 eggs (free range)
1 cup milk (unsweetened soymilk)
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 – 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning or sage
Mix cornbread with crumbs and add stock. Beat eggs slightly. Add milk, salt, and pepper. Add to bread mixture. Then add chopped celery, sage, chopped onions and bake in a well-greased pan (375 degrees) 30-40 minutes or use for stuffing bird.
A few things I’ve learned about the recipe over the years: the mixture is far too soupy for stuffing, so we always call it dressing and cook and serve it as such; it takes longer than 30-40 minutes before it’s cooked in the center.
DiAnna Paulk is an award-winning Certified Professional Photographer specializing in weddings and portraiture in Montgomery, Alabama and the River Region (Montgomery, Prattville, Wetumpka, Millbrook).
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