Monday, November 14, 2011

Southern Style Cornbread Dressing - Gluten Free

My father was from Virginia and loved Cornbread Oyster Dressing. I love it too but I never did convince my kids to like it, so in order for them to eat Cornbread Dressing at Thanksgiving, I had to use Pork Sausage instead. And, I have to admit that it is really good too. I love the smell of the onions and celery cooking together and then when you add the Poultry Seasoning or sage, well, it just smells like Thanksgiving to me. One of the benefits of this authentic Southern recipe (from my grandmother) is that it is gluten free, which has made my friends who are Celiac very happy. And since I just found out that I am definitely Gluten Sensitive, I am going to have a much better Thanksgiving if I eat more Dressing and no rolls! And, you can certainly make it Vegetarian by taking out hte Sausage and using Vegetable Broth instead. So, here is our family recipe in time for you to use. It is also really good as a side for roast chicken or pork or as a stuffing for pork chops (but make it less wet). I hope you enjoy our family recipe this Thanksgiving.

Southern Style Corn Bread Dressing (Gluten Free)

1 pan stale cornbread crumbled (see recipe below)
1 onion minced fine (about 1 cup)
2 large or 3 medium celery stalks, minced fine (about 1 cup)
4 Tablespoons Butter
1 Tablespoon Poultry Seasoning Mix or more (can also use ground Sage)
From 1 1/2 - 2 cups Chicken Broth (or you can substitute clam broth if using oysters or vegetable broth if you are vegetarian)

Optional: 1 lb package of pork sausage – breakfast style, lightly cooked
Optional:  1 lb bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
Optional: 1 small jar of oysters – each oyster cut in half and 6 pieces of cooked bacon broken into small pieces
Optional:  1 - 2 beaten Eggs

Heat the oven to 350 degrees (can also cook this at 325 degrees with the turkey for the last hour). Grease a 9” Pyrex baking dish with butter (can also use a cast iron skillet if you want to be really authentic or a casserole dish)

In a large frying pan, melt butter and add in onions and celery. Cook until onion and celery gets soft and translucent. Add in sausage (if using) and cook until it is no longer pink or if using bacon, cook until crisp. Put crumbled cornbread in a large bowl and add in onion, celery mixture with the Poultry Seasoning (or Sage). 

Add oysters or bacon or the sausage in now if using any of them. Add in enough chicken broth (or clam broth or vegetable broth) to make it moist. Add eggs, if using. Put into prepared pan and pour in more broth and let it absorb until you have enough broth so that the liquid is just floating above the cornbread mixture and it is soupy. Put into the oven and bake for about 45 minutes up to 1 hour or until top is browned and dressing is set.

Southern Style Cornbread (Gluten Free)

2 cups cornmeal
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 eggs lightly beaten
1 ½ cups milk
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
2 Tablespoons melted butter – plus extra for greasing the pan.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, grease an 8” or 9” glass baking dish (or cast iron skillet) with butter. In a large bowl, mix together cornmeal, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together milk, vinegar and then add in egg and butter – stir to mix. Put egg and milk mixture into cornmeal mixture and stir just until moistened. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 20 – 25 minutes or the edges are brown cornbread has pulled away from the side. Serve warm with butter if eating right away and cool for several hours or overnight if using for dressing.

Five Element Analysis

Corn is most definitely an Earth food, so that element is covered in this dish. The onions and Poultry Seasoning or Sage add the Metal Element, the celery adds the Wood Element and the Sausage or Oysters and Bacon add the Water Element. The chicken broth brings in the Wood Element and so does the turkey you usually serve this dressing with. The only element missing is the Fire Element so be sure to serve it with Cranberry Sauce for a balanced Five Element meal – Happy Thanksgiving!

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