Adventures in Gluten (and Sugar) Freedom from a southern blogger chick!

Friday, October 19, 2007

A recipe! Southern GF Cornbread Dressing

stolen with love from Jeff Houck's Blog, The Stew

Today at the store, I caught an enormous sale on Butterball Fresh Turkey Breast, and that got me thinking about this recipe. I posted it a while back on the Celiac Listserv and never got it on here.

This is my family's recipe, adapted for GF. My Grandma Rudeseal from Alto, Georgia, taught my Connecticut Yankee Mama how to make this in about 1955, and Mama taught me in 1982 during a long-distance call from Germany, where my ex was stationed with the Army. No printed recipe for this exists in my family.

I have actually taught this recipe to others who don't know how to make dressing, so in a sense it's TNT -- the procedure is, at least. But this will be my first try with GF breads. I trust they will be fine. You need to know two things before you begin. 1. You have to know how dressing is supposed to taste (like Stovetop, only better). and 2. You have to know what thick oatmeal looks like.

If you don't have a cornbread recipe, my Southern GF Cornbread recipe is in my Recipes and Resources guide to the right. To make a smaller batch, halve everything -- just make sure it's 2 to 1 cornbread to table bread. And you non GF people -- use plain cornbread and plain bread, and drop the Xanthan gum. It's still a great recipe.
Makes: A LOT about 7-8 cups of dressing total, which will serve about 10 people with leftovers.


For the crumbs:
4 cups of cornbread crumbs, made FROM A NON-SWEET CORNBREAD RECIPE If your favorite recipe calls for sugar, leave it out. (This is roughly two recipes of my cornbread, which I make in an iron skillet. It is very crusty, so I use mostly the innards. Crumble it up into crumbs but do not dry it. Can actually be made way ahead and frozen, just thaw before mixing.)

2 cups stale GF bread or rolls, torn into little pieces, but not toasted into crumbs or croutons. A not-too-sweet bread, again, is better. I am saving some Bob's Red Mill bread for Thanksgiving right now in my freezer.)

MIX these in a large bowl and let stand to continue to dry slightly. I often do this the day before, cover the pan with plastic wrap, and put in the oven (no heat) over night as a "storing place."

2. Aromatics
Saute the following in a large skillet until crisp tender.
2 large onions diced or 8 large shallots, chopped (I prefer onions, but my husband won't eat them, so I also use shallots with equal success).
1-2 cups celery, finely chopped (depends on how much you like celery).
(Optional, and not southern: One package mushrooms, sliced)
2 sticks melted margarine -- can use light margarine for this.

when cooked, add this Seasoning to the pan til warm and dissolved:

GENEROUS amount of Poultry Seasoning, at least 2 tablespooons
1 T. each Salt and Pepper (or to taste, see below)
2 T. Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb (again, optional: not southern, but good)
1 T. Onion Powder (not salt)

Dump the skillet contents on the cornbread and mix.
Add enough low sodium GF chicken stock or broth to make the dressing the consistency of thick mushy oatmeal. (If you have GIBLETS and like them and aren't using them for gravy, add them here). *Note: In my family, we always have homemade stock with chicken bits in it. Warm it up and add it in. There is nothing wrong with some chicken bits in the dressing.) ADD STOCK A CUP AT A TIME, mixing in between. You don't want cornbread soup, and depending on the crumbs, it might take more or less stock. Usually it takes me about 4 - 5 cups for this amount of dressing. (so have one of those aseptic quarts handy for starters, but I've added chicken boullion cubes in water in a pinch).

MIX Thoroughly: Taste it. Here is where I adjust seasonings -- very important to do now, because the last few add-ins will make it taste weird and are unhealthy. IF you like a sage-flavored dressing, add dried ground sage here to taste. I almost ALWAYS have to add more poultry seasoning here, but I don't like sage so I don't add that. If you DO like sage, add it in addition to the poultry seasoning.

NOW, when it tastes good to you, add:

Four eggs beaten (or the equivalent in egg replacer of any kin)
2 T. Baking Powder
1 T. Xanthan Gum (just to make it rise lighter)

to the bowl and stir. It should still be like mushy oatmal.

Pour into a greased baking pan. Top with slivers of sliced margarine.

Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. During baking, feel free to baste with your turkey drippings or a little more chicken broth or stock.

It will rise up slightly, and you know it is done when the crust on the top is golden brown and the casserole is firm. It holds well and reheats beautifully by just basting it with broth/stock. You could easily make it ahead, freeze and thaw it, then reheat.

Serves ME :-) with leftovers, and I often share with my guests.

Questions you might have:

Why no sugar? It's a southern thing. You can use cornbread with sugar, just don't taunt me about it :-)

Can I do all cornbread? It's not as good that way to me, but sure. I'd keep at least 1 cup bread pieces. But the cornbread is more porous and not as light when made into dressing by itself.

Can I add other veggies? Sure, shredded carrots are great in this and add moisture. A lot of people want corn in there, and that's fine. Just remember -- mushy oatmeal.

Can I leave out the onions all together? Sure, but it just won't taste right. If you add any more celery, you won't be able to taste anything else. If you prefer leeks or green onions, they'll work.

Can I leave out the salt? Sure, but it will need some light salt or something. Add it to taste if you want to instead as prescribed. And you don't have to use low sodium broth -- just DON'T ADD SALT til after you put that in there. Salt to taste.

Do I have to use that much margarine? Well, no, not really. You can cook the veggies in broth with a little margarine. But use a little for taste, even if it's light.

Can I use butter? Heck yeah. Or half and half. Just don't use oil. It will taste oily.

Can I stuff it in the turkey? Yes

Much love, and I might have to make some thing for next weekend. I'm hungry for it.



Jessica said...

It not only reheats beautifully, I bet it freezes beautifully, too. :) Thank you, Annelle.... Dressing has always been my favorite Thanksgiving dish. My grandmother made it similarly, but there's definitely a lot of sage in her version. Isn't it funny how the recipes that we grew up with define how food should taste for the rest of our lives?

Joyous said...

Yay! I am adding this to my recipe repertoire :) Thanks Carter, you da bomb dot com! (Okay, a little dorky, but hey, you really are...)

Mary Frances said...

This is great! Your recipe sounds very similar to my grandmother's - lots of broth. I've been trying to recreate hers without much success, but after reading your recipe I think I can do it =) Thanks!!

Mary Frances