My father made the Chicken & Dressing for every Thanksgiving & Christmas There was no set recipe. He had a list of ingredients that always went into the mix, but it required tasting and adjusting of the seasonings to get it “just right.”
I watched him make this many times, but never really participated until an accident caused the loss of a hand when I was 18. Thankfully, Daddy was ambidextrous, but with only one hand, stirring was difficult for him. I was glad to be his right hand girl.
Daddy would instruct as I crumbled the cornbread into a huge bowl. Leftover biscuits, broken up, were added, along with a sleeve or 2 of saltine crackers. A few pieces of loaf bread torn bite-size were added to the mix.
The finished dish gives no hint that 4 types of bread were necessary. A fat hen was cooked on the stovetop a day in advance. Daddy would supervise as I added the broth, cut up chicken, along with celery, onions, & herbs. He would taste & adjust the seasonings until it was just right. Eggs beaten & carefully folded in made for a lighter dressing. It was one of his “secrets” to the dish.
Now, Daddy could have explained his recipe to me, BUT it was in SHOWING me the way, beginning to end that helped me most.
Our life of Faith in Christ is more effective if we walk the walk, rather than just talking the talk. Sharing our successes & failures encourages others that we don’t have to be perfect…just faithful!!!
CHICKEN AND CORNBREAD DRESSING
1 hen,stewed, reserving broth 5-6 c. chicken broth
celery, carrots and onions
1/2 c. milk
chicken soup base
2-1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
2-1/2 tsp. sage
recipe cornbread (7 c.crumbled)
3 slices white bread (cut in cubes)
1/2 c. butter melted+ 1/4 c sliced for top of dish
2 c. cubed bread (leftover biscuits, rolls or saltines, crushed)
2 c. cut up chicken
4 stalks celery (2 c. chopped)
3 eggs, beaten well
1 med. onion, chopped (about 1 c.)
Place hen in deep pot and cover with water. Add some celery, chopped carrots and chopped onion (any amount) and heat to a boil. Simmer until chicken is tender, adding enough soup base to make a flavorful stock. Remove chicken, and strain broth. Set aside. Pick off all the meat from the chicken and set aside.
Bake the cornbread and allow to cool. This may be done the day before or even made ahead and frozen. In a very large bowl, crumble the cornbread. Add the other breads, biscuits or crackers. Stale breads are great for this. Add celery and onion.
Add 5 cups well seasoned broth, the milk, and melted margarine. Stir together. This should be a very moist, almost soupy mixture.
Start with 2 tsp. each of the poultry seasoning and sage. Season
heavily with black pepper, but salt to taste. Add the extra sage and poultry seasoning if you think the mixture needs it. (There is no set amount with this recipe-it’s what you like that counts) Add the chicken. Beat 3 eggs and fold into the dressing. Grease or spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place dressing into the pan and dot with the 1/4 c. margarine.
Preheat oven to 400° and bake dressing for 1 hour or until top is golden brown. Serve with cranberry relish or sauce.