Thursday, August 19, 2010

Chicken and Herb Dressing Casserole

Chicken and dressing made with a whole cooked chicken, a homemade herb dressing and homemade gravy.

Chicken and Herb Dressing

Okay. Fair warning. This chicken and dressing is a bread dressing and it has a butter roux - puh-lenty of butter. Like 1 full stick of Paula Deen worthy butter. And this one is made with a combination of chicken and herb dressing, meaning bread dressing and not cornbread, so don't go balking at me. If you're counting calories or fat grams, well you're probably lost to begin with, but you can factor in your own slenderizing, though I do offer an alternative in the recipe. Let's just say this is not the kind of dish that you'd probably want to serve every day - maybe more of an occasional, company's coming, Sunday dinner, or special weekend, potluck, party or holiday kind of dish.

And yes, before y'all start hollering at me, I also know that chicken and dressing, a very beloved dish in the south, is more traditionally made with a cornbread base, but... I had a bunch of tail end pieces of bread to use up, and that's what southern cooking is really all about anyway. Using things up. Plus, I didn't feel like making a skillet of cornbread, and I thought it'd be a good time to get a bread and herb based version of chicken and dressing up anyway. Just substitute a pan or skillet of cornbread or a couple boxes of Jiffy for the toasted bread, if you prefer cornbread dressing.

Instead of mixing all of the ingredients together, I thought I'd try something a bit different by layering it instead, sort of like the Trisha Yearwood Chicken Broccoli Casserole I posted not too long ago. Then I topped it with a homemade gravy made from a light (as in color y'all, not calories) butter based roux. Butter.

For most of my dressing recipes, I like to use a blend of herbs and seasonings that is a copycat version of Bell's seasoning. I learned about Bell's on The Martha Stewart Show, but have never been able to find it locally, so I had to resort to a copycat recipe, because I can never remember to order it online in time for when I need it. It's just a nice blend to me and not too overly heavy on the sage. Of course if you have access to Bell's use the real deal, otherwise I've included the mix at the bottom. If you'd rather not make the mix, just include some of those elements in the dressing instead.

This makes a full sized casserole and should make 8 to 10 servings, or more, with a salad and vegetable on the plate. Unless, of course, you are The Cajun.

Be sure to check out my 7 Top Tips to Perfect Your Holiday Stuffing.

If you think this sounds yummy, I'd sure it if you'd click to pin it, tweet it, stumble it, or share it on Facebook to help spread the word - thanks!


Recipe: Chicken and Herb Dressing

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 20 min |Cook time: 45 min | Yield: About 8 to 10 servings


For the Cooked Chicken and Broth:
  • 1 (3-4 pound) whole chicken, or equal white, dark or mixed pieces (about 4 cups of shredded cooked chicken)
  • 1/2 onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 carrot, cut into chunks
  • 1 stalk of celery, with leaves, cut into chunks
  • 2 large pinches of kosher salt for the pot
For the Dressing:
  • 4 cups of toasted, torn bread
  • 1 sleeve of saltine crackers, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1 cup of chopped sweet or yellow onion
  • 1 stalk of celery, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons of Bell's seasoning (or copycat recipe below)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
  • 4 large eggs, divided
  • About 6 cups of the reserved broth or commercial chicken broth, divided
  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
  • Additional salt and pepper, for the roux, to taste
  • 2 large eggs

Completely cover chicken over with water, add the onion, carrot and celery and generously salt; bring to a boil and simmer just until cooked through, without overcooking. Remove the chicken, reserving the broth; set both aside to cool. Shred the chicken. Butter an oblong, 9 x 13 inch baking dish or spray with non-stick spray; set aside. Add the toasted, torn bread and crushed saltines to a large bowl; set aside.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet and saute the one cup of chopped onion and the stalk of chopped celery until softened, but not browned. Add the seasoning mix, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Transfer contents to the shredded bread. Beat 2 of the eggs with 2 cups of the cooled broth and add to the bread mixture, tossing to coat. Use additional broth if needed to make more moist.

In a large skillet, make a roux with the butter and flour, cooking and stirring for about 4 minutes. Slowly add in the remaining 4 cups of broth until fully incorporated. Add salt and pepper, taste and adjust. Beat the remaining two eggs in a small bowl. Remove about 1/2 cup of the gravy from the skillet and slowly beat it into the eggs, adding additional gravy until eggs are tempered in.  Stir the egg mixture into the gravy mixture until blended, remove from the heat.

To the buttered baking dish add 1/2 of the dressing mixture. Top that with all of the chicken and then sprinkle the remaining dressing on top of the chicken. Pour the gravy mixture all over the top. Bake at 325 degrees F for about 45 minutes. Let settle for 5 minutes before serving.

Cook's Notes: If you prefer to forgo the buttery roux, you can substitute a family sized can of condensed cream of chicken soup and mix that with enough milk until you have a nice, fairly thick "gravy." Season with salt and pepper and pour that on top, in place of the roux based gravy. You can substitute the lower fat soup if you like. You can also substitute a pan or skillet of cornbread for the bread to make cornbread dressing.


Be sure to check out my 7 Top Tips to Perfect Your Holiday Stuffing.

*Bell's Seasoning Copycat
From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish

4-1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary
4 teaspoons dried oregano
3-3/4 teaspoons dried sage
3-1/2 teaspoons ground dried ginger
3 teaspoons dried marjoram
2-3/4 teaspoons dried thyme
3/4 teaspoons ground black pepper

Mix together and grind to fine powder using a coffee or spice grinder.

You can forgo the seasoning mix in the dressing and simply include some of the ingredients if you prefer, however, Bell's seasoning is great as a seasoning for meats and is excellent in meatloaf and burgers also!

Makes about 1/2 cup


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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on August 19, 2010
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