Oh. My. God. Did I just create the best Thanksgiving dressing ever? Why yes, yes I did. You’re welcome. I got all the flavors of classic dressing (that’s stuffing to you Northerners)—onion, celery, sage—and suspended them in a creamy one-pan cornbread. With this recipe, I’ve saved you the step of baking a whole loaf of cornbread just to crumble into a side dish. Anything I can do to make your home cooking easier and tastier, I’ll do. This just saved you a whole lotta time on Thanksgiving and it’s gonna get you a whole lotta praise.
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 onion, finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon Poultry Seasoning (see recipe below) or store-bought salt-free poultry seasoning
2 cups whole milk 1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup fine yellow stone- ground cornmeal
1 (11-ounce) can sweet corn niblets, drained
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Use 1 tablespoon of the butter to generously grease a shallow 3-quart casserole, Dutch oven, or baking dish.
Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and just tender, about 4 minutes. Add the poultry seasoning and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Add the milk, sugar, and 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Continuously whisk the mixture while you pour in the cornmeal in a slow, steady stream. Keep whisking while the mixture bubbles rapidly until the cornmeal has absorbed all the liquid and is thick and smooth, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the corn and baking powder. Cool, stirring often, until lukewarm. Don’t let the mixture clump.
Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until pale yellow and very foamy with no liquid remaining. Add one third of the beaten eggs to the cornmeal mixture and stir to loosen the cornmeal mixture. Add half of the remaining eggs and fold gently until incorporated, then repeat with the remaining eggs. Spread evenly in the prepared dish.
Bake until golden brown and set without any jiggling, about 25 minutes. When you press the top, it should spring back. Serve hot or warm.
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pulse all the ingredients in a spice grinder until ﬁnely ground. Use immediately or seal in a jar for up to 1 month.
Of course, you can sprinkle this over poultry before roasting, grilling, or pan frying. But it really works its magic in Spoonbread Dressing or any stuffing or dressing. It makes the dish taste meaty even when it’s meatless!
Excerpted from Carla Hall's Soul Food by Carla Hall. Copyright Harper Wave, 2018.
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