The Powell family’s annual Thanksgiving celebration at their South Carolina farm attracts nearly 100 people each year and there’s always more than enough food to go around. While it is hard to choose one dish from the ever-growing buffet table, this Southern-style cornbread dressing, by Joyce Comfort and Stacy Le, is one of the family’s favorites. Cooked in a Butter Pat cast iron skillet, this cornbread dressing gets better every year.
32 ounces chicken broth
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion (from 1 small [6 oz.] onion)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon Jane’s Krazy Mixed-Up Salt (or seasoned salt)
1 large (8 oz.) green bell pepper, finely chopped (1 cup)
1 large (12 oz.) yellow onion, finely chopped (2 cups)
4 celery stalks, finely chopped (1 1⁄2 cups)
2 teaspoons Jane’s Krazy Mixed-Up Salt (or seasoned salt), divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
6 hard-cooked eggs, finely chopped
1 (12-oz.) can evaporated milk
Fresh sage leaves or flat-leaf parsley leaves
How to Make It
Prepare the Chicken Stock: Place chicken broth, onion, dried parsley, Jane’s Krazy Mixed-Up Salt, salt, and pepper in a large saucepan over medium-high. Bring to a boil; add chicken thighs. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, uncovered, until chicken is very tender, about 1 hour. Remove chicken from stock; set aside until cool enough to handle, about 20 minutes. Cut into small pieces to measure 4 cups. (Reserve remaining chicken for another use.) Strain stock; discard solids.
While Chicken Stock cooks, prepare the Cornbread Dressing. Place a greased 10-inch cast-iron skillet in oven; preheat to 400°F. Whisk together milk and eggs in a large bowl until well blended; let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Gently whisk in corn muffin mix. Carefully remove hot skillet from oven; pour in corn muffin batter. Return skillet to preheated oven; bake until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 23 minutes. Carefully invert cornbread onto a wire rack; cool completely, about 45 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F; place a large cast-iron Dutch oven or a 14-inch cast-iron skillet inside oven. (Or you can bake the dressing in a 15- x 10- x 3-inch baking dish [a lasagna dish] and skip this step.)
Wipe the 10-inch cast-iron skillet clean; add oil and butter, and heat over medium. Add bell pepper, onion, celery, 1 teaspoon of the Jane’s Krazy Mixed-Up Salt, and 1⁄4 teaspoon of the black pepper. Cook, stirring often, until onion is translucent and tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Place cooled cornbread in a large mixing bowl, and crumble using your hands. Add chopped chicken, hard-cooked eggs, bell pepper mixture, evaporated milk, and 2 1⁄2 cups of the Chicken Stock. (Reserve remaining stock for another use.) Add remaining 1 teaspoon Jane’s Krazy Mixed-Up Salt and 1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper to cornbread mixture; stir to thoroughly combine.
Transfer mixture to preheated cast-iron Dutch oven or skillet (or large baking dish). Bake at 350°F until set and lightly browned, 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Garnish dressing with fresh sage or parsley leaves.