Monday, November 17, 2014

Mom's Chicken & Dressing

Hand-written recipes are the best.
Who's ready for some Thanksgiving dressing??  Dressing is serious business around here.  Brad excitedly waits ALL year for the wonderful day that dressing graces his dinner plate.  In fact, I have to make 2 separate pans of it at the holidays.  One classic recipe, plus one with sausage added.  That way, there's sure to be plenty for leftovers after the hubbub of the big day is over.

This year, we had an extra special treat when my Mom visited us.  She was in the mood for her famous Chicken & Dressing for dinner, and Brad and I weren't ABOUT to complain.  You see, her dressing is the stuff holiday dreams are made of.  She's made it the same for as long as I can remember, and it's simply fabulous.  Try as I might, I've never been able to pull it off like her.  Mine always turns out differently.  But alas, I watched every step while she made it this time, and I think I've got it!  Hooray!

Also, I love hand-written recipes, and my Mama was nice enough to write down some notes for me to remember.  I've tried to translate these notes into a thorough recipe below.  I have to admit though, part of this recipe is simply magic.  The amounts aren't exact.  Perfection comes with years of making this for family and friends.  This is the sort of thing that's made with love...and you can tell.

Since this recipe makes 2 big dishes of dressing, we baked one right away and froze the other.  It was just as delicious after being frozen!  Simply cover the dressing well with aluminum foil and pop into the freezer (without baking).  When ready to cook, simply defrost and bake as instructed.

Bon Appetit and Happy Thanksgiving, my friends!

Mom's Chicken & Dressing
Source:  My Mama :)

1  (3-4 lb) chicken
1 (24 oz) bag Alabama King fine corn meal
1 onion, diced
2-3 hard boiled eggs, diced
1 stick butter, plus 3 Tbsp
Salt & Pepper, to taste
A dash of love :)

Preheat oven to 350 F.  

Wash chicken well.  Place the chicken in a large stock pot, and cover with water.  Generously season with salt, pepper, and 3 Tbsp butter.  Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.  Set the lid at an angle so steam can escape from pot. Lower heat to gentle boil and cook for 1-1 1/2 hours, adding more water as needed.  Once meat is falling off the bone, remove chicken from broth to a cutting board and let cool, reserving the broth.  Discard the skin and remove meat from the bone, shredding as you go.  Discard the bones.

While chicken cooks, pour cornmeal into a large bowl.  Season with salt.  Slowly add warm water, stirring constantly, until you reach a thick, pourable batter consistency.   Pour into a greased 9x11 baking dish, and bake for 1 - 1  1/2 hours, or until golden brown.

Cook's Secret Tip:  While the cornbread is cooling and still in the baking dish, pour about 2 cups of the reserved, hot chicken broth right over the cornbread.  This will make it much easier to remove from the pan later!

Once cornbread has cooled, crumble and pour into a very large bowl.  Begin pouring the hot broth over the crumbled cornbread and knead with your hands.  Continue adding more broth and mixing with your hands until you reach a consistency sort of like mashed potatoes (not too thick).  This is the tricky part - You don't want the dressing to be dry, but don't make it too soupy.

Add onions, eggs and all of the shredded chicken to the bowl, stirring well.  Season with salt & pepper.

Pour mixture into two greased 9x11 baking dishes.  Slice the remaining 1 stick of butter into thin slices, placing all over the top of the dressing.

Bake at 350 F for approximately 1 hour, or until golden brown and bubbling.


NOTE:  This dressing freezes beautifully!  Cover well with aluminum foil before placing in the freezer.  When ready to cook, simply defrost and bake as instructed.

Here's a favorite of me and my mom on my wedding day.

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1 comment:

Notes From ABroad said...

I just copied the recipe and will make it this Thanksgiving . I am having family for dinner and a few do not eat chicken or turkey so this will be perfect. I can make it in a pan with no meat / poultry and serve it on the side with roast salmon :)
Who says you must have turkey/chicken for Thanksgiving ?!