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SND – Holiday Edition

December 6, 2007

Thanksgiving dinner may not be a true MND experience, but there were 7 people involved AND I had access to a working oven, so I’m counting it.  Especially since I’m really behind in posting and “Sunday Night Dinner” appears stalled. I blame the holiday season. And traveling for work. 

Dressing (or stuffing) is one of those things that one tends to cook just once, maybe twice, a year – but it’s for meals that people expect to match their built up expectations, so it better be damn good. About 3 years ago, I decided that I wanted to learn how to make my MawMaw’s stuffing because no holiday family gathering would be the same without it. I think I finally have it down – though I’ve altered it slightly because, well, I think it needed a bit of kick. 

I was always a bit weird about what I would eat for Thanksgiving and Christmas as a kid (expecting, for some reason, that canned pineapple and black olives always be available. These made up a large portion of my meal. No, I can’t really explain it. MawMaw was very nice for indulging me. ) I always ate about a forkful of stuffing because it was expected (much like the black-eyed peas at New Years), but I wasn’t a big fan – it tended to be a bit too dry for me.So, below is the slightly altered family recipe. 

Cornbread Dressing
Adapted from my MawMaw’s recipe.

Ingredients:
3 packages of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
1/2 loaf of country-style sourdough bread, toasted
3 eggs, beaten to blend
4 cups of broth, veggie or chicken
2 large red onions, chopped
2 cups of celery, diced
2 large red peppers, chopped
5 cloves of garlic
1/2 bunch of sage, chopped
2-3 sprigs of rosemary, chopped
4-5 tsp. of dried oregano
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup pine nutspepper to taste

This recipe can really be tweaked to taste. We forgot red peppers this year; still tasted yummy. I like dressing really spiced, so adjust accordingly for your tastes.

Directions:

    Mix corn muffin mix according to package and bake. This can be done a day in advance; just cover and keep away from dogs.
    In a very large bowl, crumble cornbread into pieces.
    Crumble toast into smallish bread crumbs; mix into crumbled cornbread.
    In a medium bowl, put chopped veggies, spices, garlic, raisins, and pine nuts. This can be done in advance; cover and keep cool.
    Just before you put into the oven, add the eggs to your bread mixture and stir.
    Add the veggie mixture. Stir till combined.
    Pour in broth, slowly. Stirring in between cups helps evenly distribute liquid.
    Put into baking dish and slide into the oven.

I tend to cook this with the turkey. Ideally, it would be cooked at 350º to 375º for an hour, but since the turkey is usually cooked at 325ºF, I put the dressing in with it for about 2 hours. Stir every 20 minutes or so, till browned through. If you need to pull it out early (say, 30 minutes before dinner) to make way for other dishes that need the oven, just cover tightly and put on a cooling rack. It should retain its heat for quite a while.

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