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Memaw's Thanksgiving Dressing

Every holiday my grandmother, "Memaw," is in the starring role. Growing up we always spent holidays at my grandparents house with alllll the family. Parents and siblings, uncles, great-uncles, aunts, great-aunts, cousins, their families, any friends we wanted to bring - it was open house for holidays.

Thanksgiving, circa 1986


All our family members contribute to holiday meals but my Memaw's dressing is the main Thanksgiving attraction. Don't be fooled...that is not her only contribution. My favorites, cranberry salad and pumpkin pie, are always there along with mac and cheese for the little kids. We always find plain (but yummy) veggies for the picky eaters. She would tell you "this is just what I've always done," but we all know holidays are special because of her. What a fortunate bunch of people we are!


This is THE family recipe that everyone loves. It's one of those where - if it isn't on the table - it isn't Thanksgiving. My grandmother, Joyce Osborne, has made this for years. I'm so lucky that she let me measure what she threw into the pan one year. She's made this so many times that she needs no measurements. I truly hope you try this one and love it as much as our family does.


Ingredients

1 10” Round skillet of Cornbread, cooked, cooled and crumbled

5 Slices White Bread, toasted and crumbled

2 Stalks Celery, minced

2 Teaspoons each: Salt, Black Pepper, Rubbed Sage

2 Eggs, lightly beaten

1 Onion, minced

3 Tablespoons Minced Parsley (NOT original-I added this)

42 Ounces Chicken Stock or Broth

½ Can Cream of Chicken Soup

1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup

2 to 3 Chicken or Turkey Breasts cooked and torn into chunks

*I use Bone-in/Skin-on and roast at 400° for 30-45 minutes /160° internal temp – cool and remove skin / tear into chunks

*Memaw boils a whole chicken instead of breasts and uses the strained broth from cooking that chicken in place of purchased broth/stock.


Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.

  2. Mix all above ingredients in a large bowl except for chicken stock, cream soups and chicken/turkey. Add chicken stock until the mixture has the consistency of uncooked cornbread.

  3. Spray or grease a 9x11 inch casserole dish with oil or butter.

  4. Spread the undiluted cream soups over the bottom of the pan.

  5. Top the soup with chicken/turkey pieces and then pour over the cornbread mixture.

  6. Bake for 40 minutes to an hour. The center should be set (no longer jiggly) and the top will turn golden brown. You will see the soup bubbling around the edges once the dish is ready to be removed from the oven.

*This dish can be frozen, uncooked and thawed/cooked later. Please allow 48 hours to thaw in refrigerator if using a full batch/9x11 pan. I once needed to thaw it sooner and placed the [frozen] dish on top of a simmering pan of water. I'm not sure how proper this was...but it worked and then I baked it when it thawed.


Enjoy with family and friends!

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