I know for many people turkey is probably the star of the Thanksgiving show. Or maybe the pie? But for me, it has always been my mom’s cornbread sage dressing. She makes it once a year and it is always the best. And for a kid who grew up with a giant sweet tooth, the fact that I got more excited about the dressing than the pies says a lot.
Top this cornbread sage dressing off with a little giblet gravy and you have the perfect side dish/star of the Thanksgiving show. OK, now I have taken my mom’s recipe and tweaked it – just a bit (sorry Mom!).
But I promise it is all for the
butter I mean, ‘better’.
But it’s OK because the holidays are a time to break out the butter and cream. And especially the holidays this year, right? I mean, if there has ever been a year to splurge a little more on the fat in our foods its 2020. So take a deep breath and I’ll give you the list of ingredients…
First, some recipe notes:
- The cornbread recipe calls for buttermilk, but you can make your own buttermilk by mixing together 2 cups of regular milk and 2 T of lemon juice or white vinegar and letting it sit for 5 minutes. It’s not a perfect substitution – real buttermilk is soooooo much better – but it’ll do if you don’t have any/don’t want to buy any.
- The cornbread recipe also calls for bacon grease to cook the cornbread in. This is a delicious and amazing and wonderful and perfect way to cook all your cornbread ever. But, if you don’t have any/don’t want to make any/want to make this dressing vegetarian, then you can sub in EVOO.
- I really find that this dressing tastes better after its been able to sit for a day so if you can, make it ahead of time, cover, and pop it in the fridge.
- Getting the right amount of liquid in your dressing can be tricky – too much and won’t cook and is mushy, too little and it’s dry and brittle. My mom always taught me to check the liquid by pressing the raw dressing lightly with the back of a wooden spoon. If a little bit of liquid pools around the spoon then you are good. No liquid means it will be too dry (just add more broth) and too much liquid means its too wet (toss out the pan and start over 🤦🏻♀️).
- This recipe makes a 9×13 pan and is difficult to halve (it calls for 5 eggs) – but you can always set some aside after baking, wrap in foil, and freeze to eat later, so go ahead and make a giant pan. You will be glad you did.
Cornbread Sage Dressing
- 4 T bacon grease or EVOO
- 4 c buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- 3 1/2 c cornmeal
- 1 1/2 t baking powder
- 1 t baking soda
- 1 t salt
Cornbread Sage Dressing
- 1 batch cornbread recipe above
- 1/2 c butter
- 1 c chopped celery
- 1 small onion chopped
- 4 T fresh sage 2 T of dried sage
- 1 t dried thyme
- 2 t pepper
- 2 t salt
- 1 loaf French bread cut into 1/2" cubes
- 5 eggs lightly beaten
- 5 c chicken broth or vegetarian broth
To Make the Cornbread
- Preheat the oven to 450. Spoon half of the bacon grease or EVOO in to a round 9 inch pan (cast iron is my favorite) and the other half into a second round 9 inch pan. Place pans in the oven so the grease can heat up.
- In a large bowl mix together the buttermilk, eggs, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt – whisking just until all ingredients are combined.
- Once oven has reached 450, carefully remove the pans and split the batter between the pans, pouring it into the hot oil. Immediately return pans to the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until done. Remove and allow cornbread to cool.
To Make the Cornbread Sage Dressing
- Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 9×13 pan – set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the celery and onion and sautee for 5 minutes or until soft and tender. Scrap into a large mixing bowl. Crumble in the cornbread, add the sage, thyme, pepper, salt, and cubed french bread.
- In a smaller bowl beat the eggs and add in to the cornbread mixture. Add 3 cups of the chicken broth and mix until combined. Add in remaining 2 cups of broth, 1/2 a cup of broth at a time until mixture is wet enough to pool a little liquid when pressed lightly with the back of a wooden spoon (I usually have to use all the broth).
- Spoon dressing mixture into the 9×13 pan and bake for 1 hour, or until done, uncovered.Alternatively: Prepare dressing but do not bake – cover with plastic wrap and then heavy foil. Freeze for up to 3 months and then thaw in the fridge for 24 hours. Allow dressing to sit at room temp for 45 minutes and then bake.
- NOTE: To make a vegetarian version of the dressing, sub in veggie broth and EVOO for the bacon grease.
What is your favorite Thanksgiving side dish?
If you make this Cornbread Sage Dressing…
Please share your results – leave a comment below and post a photo on Instagram with #braisedinakitch for a chance to be featured in my Instagram stories!