I’m talking about my mother-in-law’s chicken dressing. It’s simple, requires no great skill, no fancy technique and it definitely a case where the Whole is Greater Than The Sum Of It’s Parts. Make it way ahead of time and freeze it, then bake it the day you want it. Take my word for it, it’s delicious.
1- 9 inch pan of cornbread (I use a 9 inch cast iron skillet because I have decided that the crust is part of the dressing’s charm)
Use your favorite cornbread mix or recipe, only I don’t recommend Jiffy because it’s kind of sweet. Just make it by the recipe.
1- recipe of biscuits, as per on the box of biscuit/baking mix. I use Jiffy Baking mix but Bisquick is fine. Use the recipe that calls for
2 cups of mix, to make about a dozen big biscuits. Make drop biscuits because they’re crustier.
Make these breads up, you can cook them at the same time in the oven. If the instructions on the box says cook them at different temperatures, don’t sweat it. Cook them both at 400F degrees and you’ll be fine. Cook them a little bit longer so they’re a touch browner than you may like, this is good because you want them CRUSTY. When the breads are done (20-25 minutes) take them out and let them cool.
While the breads are cooking, do this:
1 whole chicken, cut up (I actually found an already “country style” cut up chicken cheaper than a whole one)
1 tablespoon dried onion bits
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons coarse ground black pepper
All this in a pot and filled with water. Boil the chicken and seasonings until the chicken is completely done. Take the chicken out of the water and let it cool. DO NOT DUMP OUT THE CHICKEN BROTH! You’ll need it in a bit.
Into the boiling broth you just took the chicken out of, put in
10 eggs. (in the shell. You’re making boiled eggs here)
Boil the eggs for 10 minutes, then fish them out of the broth and let them cool.
While the eggs and everything else are cooling:
Chop up one medium sized yellow onion and saute it in a little vegetable oil. I use the skillet the cornbread was cooked i, to keep from having to wash yet another pan. Cook until it’s starting to brown.
Now you’re ready to assemble the dressing.
Get the biggest bowl or pot existing. A turkey roaster is a good size for this.
Crumble up the breads into the bowl. Small bits, and mix them together.
Pick all the meat off the chicken and chop it up small. Throw that into the bowl with the breads.
Add the cooked onions to the bowl.
Peel and chop up the eggs kind of coarsely. I have one of those fancy egg slicers and use it, but however you do it is fine. Add them to the mix.
about 1 tsp salt
1 tablespoon coarse black pepper
1 tablespoon dried rubbed sage
Mix it all together until everthing is well blended.
Start pouring in the broth. It will take about 6 cups of broth, maybe more. You want to add and stir in the broth until the whole thing is a wet soppy mess. Wetter is better here. It might take all the broth, maybe less, but you want it good and wet and soggy. Not damp. Soggy. Sloppy and like something out of an Army movie where they glop something unidentifiable onto the recruit’s plates. *SPLAT* like that.
When it’s all mixed together and kind of gross looking, put it over into 2- 9×13 casseroles. Cover with foil and freeze until you need it, or go ahead and bake it at 350 degrees (or whatever the temp is of the oven because you’re probably baking other things right now as well). Whe you take it out of the freezer, bake it covered with the foil for an hour or so, then take the foil off to let it finish and get a nice crust on top. Frozen it will take about an hour and a half to get hot (at 350 degrees). Unfrozen (I guess if you have the space you can let it thaw overnight in the fridge. I never have the room)
I’m telling you, this stuff with a blob of cranberry relish is heaven in a bowl. Throw some high quality home-made turkey gravy on top. It’s the bet thing about Thanksgiving, in my opinion.
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