One of the things that nearby Johns Creek resident Janet Kelley and her husband Tom enjoy doing together is preparing their traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Kelley, an accomplished cook, does most of the cooking at their house, but at Thanksgiving the couple divides the labor and both work on the big meal.
The few days before Thanksgiving are filled with lots of busyness and subsequent good smells coming from the Kelleys' kitchen. One of their favorite things to prepare is this homemade dressing based on a recipe from Janet’s mom. One good thing about it is that it can be made a couple of days ahead of time and refrigerated until it’s time to cook it on Thanksgiving Day.
The Kelleys have lived in the same house in Johns Creek for the past 22 years. For most of those years they’ve celebrated Thanksgiving there at home with both of their extended families. This past year the Kelleys decided to break with tradition and make a trip to the beach. A change a pace is always refreshing. They had a great time at the shore but this Thanksgiving they will once again be at home cooking the traditional meal. I can already smell something good.
- 1 cup plain unbleached flour
- 2 cups cornmeal (Use old-fashioned, stone-ground meal; we used Logan Turnpike Mill.)
- 1 T baking powder
- ¼ t. baking soda
- 1 t salt
- 4 T melted butter
- 2 eggs beaten
- 2 cups buttermilk
other dressing ingredients:
- 1 cup celery, finely chopped
- 1-2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
- Morton Nature Seasoning Blend (to taste); or can substitute salt and pepper
- saltine crackers, one sleeve
- 3-4 cups chicken broth – homemade or canned broth – Janet uses homemade
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt, stirring well to combine.
In separate bowl, beat together eggs and buttermilk.
Stir together egg mixture and dry ingredients.
Add melted butter and stir until fairly smooth. Don’t worry if a little bit lumpy.
Preheat 9-10” iron skillet in hot oven for 5 min. Grease skillet with cooking oil and pour batter into skillet. May use 10” baking dish instead of iron skillet.
Bake 25 to 30 min or until lightly browned.
Cool and crumble cornbread into large bowl.
Saute the chopped celery and the chopped onions until just beginning to brown.
Add cooked celery and onions, and the jalapeno pepper to cornbread.
Crush the saltines with your hands and add to the mixture.
Add ground pepper and salt to your taste, or Morton’s Nature Seasoning Blend.
Add enough chicken broth to make the mixture VERY moist.
Mix well and spoon the mixture into an 11x7x11/2 glass baking dish coated with cooking spray.
Bake at 350 for 20 min. or so until lightly browned.
You can also make ahead and refrigerate covered for a day or so, and bake when you’re ready to serve.
Recipe for homemade broth of you’d like to use that.
- 1 Whole Chicken
- 1 large onion, quartered
- 3 stalks celery with leaves, coarsely chopped
- 6 to 8 whole peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 sprigs fresh parsley
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
Place ingredients in large pot and cover with water.
Cook 1 hour or more until chicken is done and falling apart.
Strain broth for use in dressing recipe.
Save cooked chicken for other uses.