Dressing is something that defines a family. A simple comfort food made from leftover bread to stretch an expensive meal (typically using what type of bread you had available so in the south- cornbread, in the north- wheat bread.) You can almost guess where someone’s grandma hails from by what type they serve you. (Dressing, stuffing, cornbread, white bread, fruits, nuts, oysters, chicken, chestnuts…)
My maternal grandmother was Canadian. She moved to the deep south in the 1940’s, marrying into a family of Scarborough’s where her mother-in-law had been a true southern debutante and did NOT appreciate her son marrying a “Yankee.”So my southern mother learned to make a white bread stuffing (not dressing) usually studded with fresh pecans.
My husband’s grandmother was from the south and made a traditional cornbread dressing.
When we started hosting our family holidays we had an unexpected conflict on what we would serve- an all white bread dressing with nuts like my Canadian grandma made or a total traditional cornbread dressing like my husband’s grandmother made? Everyone wanted their personal favorite and so a compromise was needed. Thus, I came up with a yin-yang combination dressing that seems to please everyone!
16" branchfresh Rosemarytake leaves off of stem and finely mince
1Tablespoonfresh Thymefinely minced
4cupsvegetable, chicken, or turkey stockHomemade is best but even bouillon will do!
1 cupmilk or Half & Half
Salt & Pepperto taste
Nuts, raisins, or chopped apricots (Optional additions)
Put bread and cornbread in a large bowl and mix.
In a medium skillet over medium high heat, saute onions and celery in olive oil or butter until translucent.
Add fresh herbs and cook 1 or 2 minutes more.
Add about 1/2 cup of stock to the pan to deglaze the juices and remove from heat.
Add stock and melted butter to bowl with breads.
Mix and slowly add remaining stock and milk (or half & half) NOTE: The total amount of liquid may vary depending on how dry the breads are and humidity in air. You want the mixture to stick together and be fairly moist (so it won't dry out too much when baked.)
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Butter a large baking pan (12 x 24)and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour. (Or until golden brown on top.)
Time Saving Tip: I make my cornbread a day or two before the holidays. I also saute onions, herbs, and celery and add them to the cornbread before baking. This allows you to skip steps and have all your burners free for other dishes!
1-In a large bowl put bread and cornbread and mix together.
Yin & Yang of Bread waiting to be mixed!
2-In a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, saute onions and celery in olive oil or butter until translucent. Add fresh herbs and cook approximately 1-2 minutes more.
Time-saving tip: I make my cornbread a day or two before the holidays. I like to saute the onions, celery, and herbs then add to the cornbread before baking. Then when I go to make the dressing I can skip step 2 all together. This is especially helpful when you have all the burners cooking for other dishes!
3- Add about ½ cup stock to the pan with vegetables to deglaze the juices and add all of this to the bowl with bread. Add your melted butter also at this point.
4- Mix and slowly add the rest of the stock and milk. The amount needed may vary depending on how dry ingredients are, humidity etc. You want the mixture to be sticking together and pretty wet (not total mush, but til it’s VERY wet so it doesn’t dry out too much when baking.) Taste the mixture and add salt and pepper to taste and more herbs if necessary.
5- Put in a large buttered baking pan (12×24) and bakeat 375 for 45 minutes to an hour. You want it to be golden brown on top and edges.
Ready to bake
Remember that dressing is something that you can easily give your own family touch by simply adding local ingredients or that mean something special to you!
My mother and I always go to the Arkansas Flower & Garden Show together for her birthday. It’s a fun time to plan and dream about gardens we want to build in the spring. This year however we won’t be able to go because my daughter is participating in the Youth America Gran Prix (ballet competition) and I’ll be out of town. (Ironically the theme for this year’s show is “That’s Entertainment!”)
So, you know I was overjoyed when my friends at Arkansas Women Bloggers asked if I would come to a preview party for the show! Meaning I wouldn’t miss everything, and would get to visit with some lovely people! (By the way, if you are a blogger getting with a group like ARWB is something you WANT to do. I’ve made some great friends, learned so much, and been able to participate in things I would never have known about otherwise!)
The hosts, Clark Trim and Chef Hendrik Thostrup, are the owners of Colonial Wine & Spirits. They had wine/food pairings which were very educational and delicious (even if I couldn’t partake of everything in my quite pregnant state.) I took notes so I know what to buy for my next party!
Centerpiece Idea with a Shallow Bowl and Cut Flowers
Gorgeous Quartz Bowl (You can Make) with Succulents
The Arkansas Flower & Garden Show is a non-profit organization that’s mission is to promote gardening and beautification of Arkansas, promote local horticultural businesses, and educate the public about gardening, landscaping, and floral design. The proceeds from the show go to support college scholarships in horticultural related fields in Arkansas and to fund “The Greening of Arkansas” grant program which gives communities throughout Arkansas funds for beautification.
For the most fun of all I was given tickets to give you for the show!
If you’d like to go please leave a comment below. Make sure to tell me how many you’d like.
I have several to give away and will go down the list of winners until they are gone!
*If you can’t wait to see if you’ve won you can pre-buy tickets HERE.
Adults are $8
3 day pass is $12
Kids under 16 are FREE!
Also free parking at Dickey Stephens Park in NLR. Walk or take the shuttle for $1!
Disclosure- the Arkansas Flower & Garden show did give me tickets but all opinions are strictly my own.