No matter what you call it or how you eat it, learning how to make Thanksgiving dressing is an easy and delicious way to make your culinary contribution without breaking a sweat. When it comes to dressing you'll find many opinions on what makes it Thanksgiving dressing and what makes it stuffing. The answer usually will vary depending on what part of the country you hail from, but the most obvious and easiest rule to follow is if it's cooked in the bird it's stuffing and if it's cooked outside of the turkey it's considered dressing. In recent years, the safety of stuffing has come into question to the point that some experts advise against stuffing the bird altogether. Cooking dressing outside of the turkey isn't much different from preparing the stuffing that goes into it. In fact, other than the mode of cooking it's the same thing and easily done. With the right ingredients you can make a basic cornbread recipe that can, without question, stand on its own or be tailored to your liking.
What you'll need to make Thanksgiving dressing:
- 3 cups of crumbled toasted french bread (you can substitute with boxed dressing mix)
- 8 ounce Cornbread mix
- ½ cup butter
- 2 cans Chicken broth
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1-1/2 cups diced celery
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Parsley flakes
- 2-3 teaspoons sage (to taste)
- Prepare the cornbread. Follow the instructed on the mix box and prepare the cornbread. Allow it to cool before crumbling thoroughly. Complete this step the night before to save time on Thanksgiving day.
- Saute the onion and celery. Melt the butter in a skillet and saute the onion and celery until the onion is transparent. After you've completed this step in making Thanksgiving dressing, set it aside until you've completed the next step.
- Combine the dry ingredients and vegetables. In a large pan or bowl, combine the crumbled cornbread, croutons or toasted bread, salt, sage, parsley, celery and onion. Mix completely.
- Add the liquids. Stir in both cans of chicken broth. Mix thoroughly so that the breading is completely moist.
- Place in a baking dish and cook. Your oven should be pre-heated to 350 degrees and ready for the dressing. Cook the Thanksgiving dressing for about one hour, uncovering in the final five to ten minutes.
- Substitute turkey broth for the chicken broth. For an even richer flavor, boil turkey giblets or turkey necks in about three cups of water. Add in conjunction with or in place of the chicken broth just until completely moistened.
- If you can't tolerate the idea of meatless dressing, make Thanksgiving dressing with the addition of turkey. If you've boiled the turkey neck for broth, you can easily scrape meat off the bone and add it to the dressing.
- If using the boxed croutons, be careful when adding seasonings. Many boxed mixes will come pre-seasoned and can easily become over-seasoned.
- Keep an extra can of broth handy, in the event that the breading absorbs too much liquid.