Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Grandmama's Stuffing

In my online poll I asked ya'll what your favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal was. Here is how you voted:
Turkey 18%
Stuffing/Dressing 47%
All the Veggies 11%
Cranberry Sauce 9%
Pumpkin and Pecan Pie 13%

I knew I liked you guys! The Stuffing is hands down my favorite food at Thanksgiving too. My grandmother has this recipe that she's been using since I can remember and I've been wanted to try it. Thanks for giving me that chance!

Last year when I asked her for the recipe she pulled out an old cutting from a newspaper. I wrote down the recipe and have been holding on to it ever since. Here is how you make my favorite cornbread stuffing.

3 Pouches crumbled cornbread
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley (left this out because it didn't make it in my shopping cart)
1 1/2 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
1 teaspoon pepper (to taste)
1/2 cup melted butter (one stick)

3 eggs
3 slices of day old bread (whole wheat here)
3 cups chicken broth

This is a funny beginning. I was so excited when I started this recipe, but I wanted to do it right so I called my grandmother to talk through the recipe one more time before I began. She explained that she uses three pouches of corn bread mix. Makes one as the package directs (adds egg and milk to mix) and bakes in a 10 inch cast iron skillet. THEN, she mixes the other two pouches together (with appropriate eggs and milk) and bakes in a 10 inch skillet. The reason is so you have just the right amount of cornbread crust and insides. I don't have a skillet (yet) so I asked if I could mix all three of my cornbread mix together and bake in a large brownie pan. She advised against that.

Hmm... Okay, so I was going to take her advice and as I started to make the first batch of Jiffy cornbread mix I realized we were out of milk. Uggg! I called my mom to see if she thought I could get away with substituting buttermilk in place of milk. She has been eating this stuffing longer than I have and her advice was NO. Jim agreed to go to the store for me. I only needed two cups of milk to make the three boxes of Jiffy so he brought back one little single serving of milk.

I finished mixing the batter of my first box of Jiffy and LUCKILY I decided to taste the batter before I baked it. OH MY GOD it was awful. It was so bad that I called Jim into the kitchen to taste it also. It tasted like an old gym bag. Jim asked if I just bought the cornbread mix and I thought about it. Well, I bought that cornbread mix at least eight years ago - it's been sitting in the back of my pantry for that long. I actually moved this box of cornbread down from Abilene! I didn't know dry cornbread mix could go bad like that. Eww, and it was B-A-D.

Plan B. I have a bag of ground cornmeal (that I recently purchased) in the pantry, I will just use that to make my cornbread. Guess what.... I need more milk if I'm making cornbread from scratch. Yup, Jim went back to the store for me.

Here is the disaster zone on my counter. I didn't take a picture of every step in making cornbread from scratch, but here is the recipe I used.

1 cup Lamb's Stone Ground Corn Meal
1 cup flour (unbleached wheat)
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs (egg beaters)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup milk

I use the above recipe to make one batch. Then I doubled the recipe for my second batch.

The first batch went into an 8x8 glass baking pan and as you can see filled the dish halfway up the sides.

The double batch nearly filled the 8x8 pan completely. I sprayed both 8x8 glass dishes with non-stick spray first, the kind with flour in it. These both baked in a 400 degree oven for 35-45 minutes. The bigger one took 15 minutes longer.

While the cornbread is cooking, I start prepping all my veggies. Because the recipe called for "a cup of chopped..." I didn't know how many vegetables to purchase. I ended up buying two green bell peppers to make sure I had one cup chopped. Now I know you only need one bell pepper.

I also bought two sweet yellow onions, but now know I only need one small or just the half of one large onion to get a cup of chopped onions.

I used three stalks of green onions to get my 1/4 cup. Use white and green parts.

I used three stalks of celery to get my one cup of chopped celery. After you break off three stalks, rinse under the sink first then chop off the top and bottom part and discard. Then chop the middle for the recipe.

Melt one stick of butter in a skillet over medium heat. One whole stick ya'll. Like Paula says, "butter makes it better!"

Add one cup of chopped onion.

Add one cup chopped celery, one cup chopped bell pepper and 1/4 cup chopped green onion.

What? No garlic?!?! I added two teaspoons of chopped garlic even though my grandmother does not do this step. I cooked this over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring often.
I thought this was weird. The recipe calls for three slices of day old bread crumbled. I don't know why this is important. As you will see in just a moment the three batches of cornbread (baked in two batches) makes a ton of bread crumbs. I would leave out this step in the future.

Here is my 1 1/2 teaspoons of sage.
You would add chopped parsley here if you had it. I added my salt and pepper to the day old bread.
Here is the double recipe corn bread. It's HOT and crusty.

If I would have planned ahead better I would have made the cornbread the morning of or the day before even so I could crumble this with my hands and leave my fingerprints intact. This stuff was HOT and I needed to crumble all of it finely.

It was like the loaves and fishes - just kept multiplying as I crumbled it. I was pulling out my mixing bowls, baking dishes, whatever I could find to contain all the breadcrumbs.

My largest mixing bowl was already getting too full and I still had a ton of cornbread left to crumble into the bowl.

I managed to get both batches of cornbread crumbled except for these few pieces.

Now in my bowl I have three slices of crumbled day old bread, nearly two pans of crumbled cornbread, I added the softened vegetables in butter and all my seasoning. Now add three cans of chicken stock. Mix this really well by hand. My grandmother suggest using a potato masher but I would have to make this in my sink next time in order to have room to mix it any other way than by hand. You may have to add more or use less chicken stock - depends on your cornbread. My grandmother says that it should be the consistency of cake mix before baking. She warned me "DO NOT let it be too thick because it will bake to be very dry." Dry stuffing is the worst. I used all three cans of chicken broth and poured the mixed stuffing into my largest stoneware baker (from Pampered Chef.)

Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes. My grandmother bakes for exactly 30 minutes, mine baked for the entire 45 minutes and I thought it was a little underdone when I pulled it from the oven because it was so moist.

Oh, it was just perfect! This is a wonderful savory stuffing and will remain my favorite part of Thanksgiving and Christmas meals at my grandmothers house. I may even try to talk her into adding some minced garlic to her recipe too.


  1. Wow, what an awesome recipe! I'll have to try this one next year, it will blow my boxed mix out of the water for sure!

  2. That stuffing turned out perfect. It is my favorite food and favorite dish at Thanksgiving. I can eat it till i get a belly ache. LOL. I found you blog through Adventures of Heather I think. I love it and will be back.


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