|Chicken and cornbread dressing in a casserole form and served with homemade gravy is pure comfort food anytime of the year. It's a perfect dish to carry to a potluck or church social too!|
Southern Chicken and Cornbread DressingI have shared several dressing recipes along the way and I've even had my hissy fit rant about my feelings on the dressing vs. stuffing debate to which, I will reiterate, once again... whatever you grew up with, and what you do in your Southern kitchen, is right, bottom line. It's all good folks, so let's just eat, okay?
I know. I am such a rebel.
So here's the more classically known Southern chicken and cornbread dressing because, yes we also do indeed love our cornbread - though you can get in a big ole argument with some Southerners about that too. But guess what? I use both cornbread and bread in my chicken and cornbread dressing, cuz that's how we rebels roll.
This style of chicken and dressing is typically made with, well - chicken - rather than turkey, simply because it's either a potluck or holiday dish that, unless you are making your turkey well ahead of time (which most of us don't do) and you're also willing to sacrifice several cups of said turkey for a dressing side, or you're willing to add a whole other (not so cheap) turkey breast to your (already outrageously expensive) holiday grocery list (which most of us aren't), well... it's just usually made with inexpensive chicken. Wanna use turkey? By all means, certainly do!
You can use any kind of leftover chicken, boil a chicken, or grab one of those rotisserie chickens from the deli and let them do the work (just be mindful of sodium because those babies are salty!) Here I used about 3 pounds of chicken thighs that I roasted in a 425 degrees F oven for about 35 minutes or so. Use homemade chicken stock if you've got that, otherwise, a commercial turkey or chicken stock/broth is fine, just be mindful about the overall salt there too, unless you're using a reduced sodium version.
Consistency is one of those areas that can take a few times of making for dressing. Too much liquid and it's far too gooey. Not enough and it's way too dry. Over time, experience is the teacher. I used 4 cups of broth this time - here's the consistency. A little soupy, but not too much. I always say it should look a little like a cooked oatmeal, though that's for me. Your mileage may vary.
This produces a nice dressing that, once you let it rest a bit, will hold together in squares as in the top picture, yet still be moist, as hopefully shown in the picture below where I pushed it apart with a fork.
Before turning it out into the casserole dish, you can mix the chicken and dressing all together if you like, but I'm kinda into this concept of layering with the chicken sandwiched between layers of dressing. Since you're working with already cooked chicken, I feel that the layering helps to keep the chicken more moist. Neither way is right or wrong, so do what you prefer. I do dressing first on the bottom layer, then top that with the cooked chicken.
And then top that with the rest of the dressing. Remember, never pack down dressing!
Bake it uncovered at 350 degrees F until bubbly and golden brown, about 45 minutes or so.
For more help with your dressing, be sure to check out my 7 Top Tips to Perfect Your Holiday Stuffing and see my gravy tips for additional information.
Recipe: Southern Chicken and Cornbread Dressing with Homemade Chicken Gravy©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 45 min | Yield: About 10 to 12 servings
For the Gravy:
- 3 cups of cooked, shredded chicken
- 1 pan of cornbread, cooked and crumbled (about 6 cups)
- 4 slices of sandwich bread, toasted and crumbled
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 cup of chopped celery
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste, optional
- 1/4 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon of sage, Bell's seasoning, or homemade copycat, optional
- 1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning
- 4 to 6 cups of chicken broth
- 3 eggs, beaten
- Additional butter, sliced, optional
- Homemade Gravy, recipe below
- 1/2 cup of fat (bacon drippings, cooking oil, butter, or a combination)
- 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
- 2 cups (more or less) of room temperature chicken stock or broth
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 13 inch oblong baking dish and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the cornbread and bread. In a separate skillet, saute veggies in butter; let cool. Add to cornbread mix. Add 4 cups of the broth and let stand 5 mins. Add the beaten eggs; gently toss.
Spoon half of the dressing in the prepared baking dish, top with the shredded chicken and top with the remaining dressing; spread out, but do not pack down. Dot the top with slices of butter, and bake at 350 degrees F, uncovered, for about 40-45 minutes, or until light golden brown on top. Cook longer for a crunchy consistency on top. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
For the gravy, heat the fat in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Stir in flour, cooking and stirring with a wooden spoon until fully incorporated. Continue cooking, stirring constantly until mixture turns a very light brown color. Turn heat to medium and slowly begin adding in at least half of the stock, stirring constantly until fully incorporated, adding more stock as needed to reach the desired consistency. Taste, season with salt and pepper as desired. Drizzle over individual servings of the chicken and dressing.
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