A very special Domesticated Friday.

It's special because 1) it's basically my Thanksgiving post, and 2) it involves actual cooking. O_O

So today, let's talk dressing.

Although Stove Top dressing really is good, it obviously pales compared to dressing made from scratch. And, I think it's important for younger generations - not just old folks - to know how to make staples such as this, because tradition is crucial and knowing how to do something yourself is becoming an increasingly lost art. I'm not a cook by any means, but I understand the importance of the skill. (The real skill. Not just microwaving Hot Pockets. Which I just did)

Please note: the recipe is for Thanksgiving, and presumes that you will be feeding at least 10 hungry people; there will be enough left over to freeze and use for Christmas, too! You're welcome. =)

P.S. You also may want to have an assistant.

So, here's what you'll need:

6 eggs
1 1/3 cup milk
4 tbsp butter
1 bottle of sage
3 loaves white bread
4 boxes Jiffy cornbread
1 full stalk of celery
2 onions
1 jar chicken bouillion cubes
2 packages Italian sausage (five links/pckg)
Salt, pepper
1 mixing bowl
1 large bowl
1 ginormous roast pan


(We ended up only using 3 loaves, so disregard that fourth one in the picture; there's only one onion in the picture because my mom had already started on the other one; and we decided against dipping into a second sage bottle based on how the finished product "smelled," so yeah, taking pictures of this whole process was not easy!)

First, prepare the cornbread according to the instructions on the box. It will require four of the eggs and all of the milk. Typically one box of cornbread cooks for twenty minutes; four boxes won't take an hour, and you can just keep an eye on it; when it is solid and showing very light hints of brown, put a knife in the middle and test; if anything comes out a little creamy, leave it in a bit longer.

While doing this, begin toasting the bread slices. Gather them in the large bowl for ease of later access.


While the cornbread is cooking, cut up the onions and celery. Always make sure to wash your veggies first! Set them aside when finished.


Open the sausage packages. Cut the skin off of the links. Place them in a skillet and brown them as you would hamburger, keeping in mind that sausage is a bit thicker than beef so you will want to continuously split them into smaller and smaller pieces with the spatula as they're browning.


By this time, the cornbread will probably be done and all of the bread should be toasted. You can set the sausage aside on the stove for a bit later.

Get a medium saucepan and the bouillion cubes. You'll want to use two cubes per cup of water to start. You can always add a few more later depending on how you like your chicken broth. I think my mom used about eight cups of water; so, sixteen cubes. Warm the water and cubes in the saucepan until the cubes are dissolved; you don't need to bring it to a boil, but if you do, make sure to let it cool because you don't want to pour hot broth on the bread.


Next, you're going to sautee the veggies. Melt the four tablespoons of butter in another skillet. Put the chopped onions and celery in the skillet and stir them in the butter until they are no longer crisp, but also not yet browning. Set them aside.


Now for something that's a bit gross, but ya gotta do it. Take a mixing bowl and fill it about a quarter of the way with water. Take the toasted bread and dip it, two to three slices at a time, in the water till submerged (don't linger), and then squeeze and tear them into smaller pieces in the roast pan. Then, add two eggs and stir them in. When finished, scoop the cornbread out of the pan and put it, without soaking it, into the roast pan.


Stir the breads together to mix them thoroughly. Then add half of the bottle of sage and stir again.


Next, add the sausage and vegetables; stir!


You're almost done! At some point you will add salt and pepper, but since as we all know, the "old recipes" aren't always exact, I can't really tell you how much. Neither can my mom, who goes on "feeling." I would say, for the salt, shake evenly (and not very quickly) over the dressing for about ten seconds.

Pour half of the pan of broth into the dressing and stir. When it is fully absorbed (you don't see any standing broth), add the other half of the bottle of sage; stir again. Add the other half of the pan of broth and stir WELL. There may be sausage or cornbread hiding along the bottom that you can't see because the roast pan is so big, so really get along the bottom and sides to make sure everything is evenly distributed.


I would describe the consistency of uncooked dressing as...kind of juicy. But that's the way it should be. Even with the broth all absorbed, it's still...kind of juicy. So now, you can separate it into smaller pans that will be easier to cook it in; only fill the larger pans about halfway to ensure that it cooks all the way through.


When you're ready to cook the dressing, whether it's right then or the next day, cook for 1 hour on 350 degrees. That's all it takes!

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.


Epoem said...

Good to hear from you again. Awesome step by step - I'm drooling here. Can you tell? Sausage? You really put sausage in your dressing? Ooo I know some folks that would like that.

Rebel Mel said...

Finally sitting down and reading this now! Thanks for posting a domesticated Friday!

I'll have to bookmark this recipe - maybe use it for Christmas?