Family Recipes: Mama’s Southern Dressing

Family Recipes: Mama’s Southern Dressing

Growing up in the South, I never heard the word “stuffing”…. it was probably a taboo word amongst Southerners. Mama only knew of one bread dish that went with the holiday meat and that was “dressing.” Today when I mention stuffing, she still wrinkles her nose and tells me, “I don’t want no stuffing.” Then she’ll rattle off what she does want, “some good old fashion dressing like my mama made along with the pink stuff I like and some potato salad, now that would make me happy.”

dressing

A page from a cookbook I created with a mixture of recipes of my Southern heritage and my husband’s Italian foods!

Dressing Recipe

  • 1 chicken (save stock for dressing)
  • 3 cups cornbread (crumbled) about 4-5 cornbread muffins
  • 3 cups biscuits (crumbled) about 4-5 biscuits
  • 2-3 large eggs (depends on how much you’re making; I use 3)
  • 1-2 eggs (boil for gravy and dressing)
  • 3 cups chicken stock (may need more: I used 4-5)
  • 2 small onions or 1 med. (chopped small: I use 1 med.)
  • salt and pepper to taste (I used more pepper than salt)

In mama’s words… “when I make Chicken and Dressing, I boil two fryers and then I pluck all the meat off and put in a covered dish. The small pieces I use in the dressing. Now to make the dressing, I use half cornbread and half biscuits. I put salt and pepper, add 2 or  3 eggs (beaten), add the chopped onions, and then I pour the broth over it that I cooked the chicken in and stir it up real good. Put the small pieces of chicken in too. I save some of the broth to make a gravy with.” (I added onions in written directions as she had forgotten)

I usually use a medium onion in my dressing, but it depends on what size pan you are baking in. Remember I learned this from someone that never went by a recipe – and never had any recipes. After the dressing is mixed well, pour into a greased pan and bake 350 until it’s lightly golden brown on top. Then it’s done! I baked mine abt. 45-50 minutes.

Now about the eggs, I use in the gravy, I boil and chop them up small to put in my gravy. Mama says, “if you like, you can use a little milk in your gravy, it will make it taste better. I even used to cut up the chicken livers and some of the small pieces of chicken too. I use some flour mixed up good in a small amount of water to make it creamy.”

Mama wrote this recipe for me a long time ago – I still have the actual yellow notepad paper she wrote it on.

Turkey was never served at our holidays, as it was just the three of us. Mama told me later that she never really liked turkey so it was just a big chicken that she served. I never thought too much about it, as it was what I was used to.

mama-making-biscuits
Mama cooking a rare breakfast for us in Georgia – and her famous biscuits. Note they are upside down – mama says  “as soon as they come out of the oven, flip them over and the tops stay softer”… and it works! There was never any leftover biscuits… we usually fought for the last one!

A few photo additions after baking Mama’s “Dressing” today.

cornbread-and-biscuits

Cornbread and Biscuits are the main bread of “Dressing”

dressing-mixed-up

The two breads crumbled with other ingredients added – it’s ready to bake!

dresssing

The “dressing” is ready – sweet potato souffle in the background!

I followed mama’s directions for the most part; think I added more chicken stock then she told me but she was guessing her judgments for the most part. I added 4-5 cups of stock, letting it sit in between the 4th and 5th, and maybe not all of the last one; it’s a judge thing! The batter should be thick and soupy but not too loose. This recipe made two dishes in my 8×8 pans. Next time I’ll cut this recipe in half and make just one pan, but now I have extra’s to freeze. Sure wish I could blink some down to mama! She’s waiting for me to call her back and tell her how it came; next year I’ll make a pan to bring.

Happy Thanksgiving Mama – hope you get your “pink stuff” – Stay tuned for a recipe!

Want to read more…. Family Recipes and Memories

© 2016, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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5 Responses to Family Recipes: Mama’s Southern Dressing

  1. Lyn Smith says:

    I just may have to try Helen’s dressing one day. I wish I could remember how my grandmother, Grace, made her cornbread dressing. Maybe my sister remembers. I’ll have to ask. I do know it was so good. I seem to remember Mother use to make some kind of pink stuff but I never paid much attention. I think it was a gelatin mold or something.
    I like your Donald Duck Orange Juice.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Like

    • After thinking about Dressing all night, I’ve decided to forgo the stuffing this year and bake Stuffing instead – I’m excited to make it. I would think you would just use all cornbread for how your mama made. Prob someone on the Greene Co Group that might know. Keep me posted if you find a recipe. Happy Thanksgiving 🦃!

      Like

    • P.S. I noticed that Donald Duck carton and wondered who would notice! 😂 this was when mama cooked us breakfast. Guess I’ll be baking biscuits and cornbread today!!!

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  2. generationsgoneby says:

    I never was good at homemade bisquits. Thank God you can now buy frozen ones that taste almost as good and I can cook one at a time if need be. Never heard to turn them over. Smart lady.

    Like

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