10 white or whole wheat bread heels (left out overnight)
poultry seasoning (see below)
rubbed sage (see below)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 large stalks celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped (2-1/2 to 3 cups)
1 large green pepper, chopped (optional, I leave this out)
3/4 cup butter (1-1/2 sticks)
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup turkey pan drippings (from cooked turkey -- you are cooking a turkey, aren't you?)
3 large eggs, slightly beaten (these are an option That I leave out, I just make sure my dressing is not too dry or moist when I bake it . Also don't use any leftover bisquits)
Preheat oven to 375°F.
How to make it
Crumble the cornbread and white bread into a very large baking dish or pan (This is the pan you will cook your dressing in, and you need room to stir it while it's cooking).
In a large skillet, sauté the celery, onion and green pepper in butter over medium heat until onion is transparent. Combine the sautéed vegetables with the bread crumbs and mix well. Note: The dressing up to this point can be prepared an hour or so in advance.
When you are ready to bake the dressing, add the beaten eggs, chicken stock and turkey pan drippings, and stir. (You may need a little more chicken stock -- better if it's too moist than too dry; the uncooked dressing should be a little on the slushy side.) Add 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage, black pepper, and mix thoroughly.
After baking for 15 minutes or so, stir dressing down from the sides of the pan so that it cooks uniformly (my mother's term was "rake through it"). Check the seasonings; that is, taste it. If you don't taste enough sage for your liking, add 1/4 teaspoon or so with a little chicken stock, stir it in, and taste again. Careful, a little sage goes a long way.
Total cooking time should be about 30 minutes.
Total Prep time: 45 minutes; Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes; Total time: 2 hoursNote: With dressing of any kind, seasoning and consistency are crucial to the success of the dish. Tastes vary widely, and that is why approximations are given for the poultry seasoning and sage. Start with the amounts given (I don't like my dressing too soggy), and if that's not enough to suit you, add more during the cooking process when you taste it.
As for the consistency, you can always add more stock to moisten it (I like mine nice and moist -- just about the same consistency as mashed potatoes), but I've seen dressing that had to be sliced like a loaf of bread -- too dry for my liking. But you'll probably want to make it the way your mother or Aunt Sally or whoever made it.