"Anyone that doesn't agree with leggings as pants can physically fight me.
And I'm going to win because I have a full range of motion due to the fact that I am wearing leggings as pants."

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Granny's Cornbread Stuffing

Just like Angeleen, I've inherited a cherished recipe from my Granny. As far as I know, though, Iva Hester Stembridge never actually wrote it down. She rarely worked from a recipe. Getting one from her usually involved hovering around with a notepad, while she worked in the kitchen.

The word processed version that I have came to me via my Aunt Alice, pictured below with Granny in one of my favorite pictures ever. This picture captures the essence of how it felt to be around her.

Gram has been gone for many years now, but her Cornbread Stuffing is a Thanksgiving staple in all of our houses.


Here it is, with thanks to Alice (and the control C function).

Granny’s Cornbread Stuffing (this is enough to feed like 30 people)

2 batches cornbread (see recipe below)
At least two loaves of bread (white or wheat)
1 bunch of celery, diced
2 medium onions, diced
Chicken broth, heated (2 large, at least)
1 t. Celery salt
1 t. celery seed
2 t. Poultry seasoning
1 & 1/2 t. Rubbed sage, not the leaf
4 eggs

You use a ratio of ½ cornbread and ½ bread. Double the cornbread recipe and use at least a couple of loaves of bread. A day or two before you need to make the stuffing, set the bread and cornbread out to dry or dry it out in the oven. It doesn’t have to be hard and crunchy like the store-bought stuffing, but it does need to be dry.

Once it’s dry, in a very large pan, tear up the bread and cornbread into chunks and mix it up. Heat the broth, not to boiling, just very warm. Add the spices to the broth and taste. It should taste fairly strong, stronger than you'd want for the finished stuffing because they mellow after cooking. Adjust seasoning as necessary. Pour most of the seasoned broth over the breads until they’re soggy, reserving about a cup or so and mixing as you go. Mix the cooled, reserved broth with the eggs and then add those, along with the diced onion and celery, to the stuffing.

Then, stuff the turkey (if that's where you cook your stuffing). The remaining stuffing can be put in a casserole dish (pile it lightly and don't smooth; this leaves more surface area to get crunchy). So that it doesn’t get too dry, you can add more chicken broth to the stuffing you’re cooking in the casserole dish. We cooked it at about 350 for an hour or two. It will take much less time if you halve the recipe.

Now, I must admit to monkeying around with my Granny's Cornbread recipe a bit. I have not changed the ingredients, but instead of cooking many little cornbread 'pancakes' on a hot griddle, I do an entire batch in the cast iron skillet. I don't have the patience for the pancakes, especially when I'm making 2 batches to tear up in stuffing. And if you're not into stuffing, this recipe is wonderful (and super quick) to make as a side for a batch of beans and ham. Jenny and Jeff like their cornbread sweet and if you do too, go ahead and add a couple of tablespoons of sugar to the dry ingredients. It's great either way.

Granny's Cornbread
1 cup cornmeal
½ cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 egg
¼ cup oil

Butter for oiling

Mix all of the dry ingredients together. Then add the milk, egg and oil and mix well. Heat the griddle and cook the batter like pancakes.

Or for the skillet version... before you mix wet and dry ingredients, bring oven to 400 degrees and put a cast iron skillet on the stove on medium heat.

When the skillet is hot, mix wet and dry ingredients, add a tablespoon or two of butter to the skillet and pour the batter in. The more butter you add, the crunchier the bottom is. Cook on the stovetop for about 5 minutes. Then put in the oven for 5 or 10 minutes, until it's brown on top.

If you plan to use it in the stuffing, go ahead and let it cook longer (maybe turn off the oven) to dry it out. I always do this because I have never once planned ahead well enough to start this more than a day ahead of Thanksgiving.

This year, I had Joey to help.
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Geo said...

That photo is profoundly beautiful to me.

Kim Carney said...

that is so precious, to remember and to see and to pass on that recipe!

Melissa said...

I love love LOVE that picture. Definitely needs to stay with the recipe as a family heirloom. And the recipe looks yummy too. :)