Old-Fashioned Dressing Recipe Great- Grandma's Southern Recipe

A special post... This is a 5th generation recipe. It has been a tradition in our family for many years...and I'm sure it will be for many more years to come. Now Great-Grandma never had an official recipe that she  followed, she just had it in her mind and knew what to do from watching it made over the years by her mama, but as the years went by, my Grandma T. wanted her children and grandchildren to be able to make this recipe in the years to come, when she could no longer make it for us anymore, so she managed to come up with a written recipe for us to follow. I'm so glad she took the time to do this!

I know at first glace of this post and recipe, It may seem like a lot of trouble to make, but it is well worth the effort. If you don't have a traditional recipe to cook every single holiday that everyone loves, I encourage you to find one, and start one and  let a tradition begin with you. I love tradition...there's something about it that warms the heart and soul. Maybe my Great-grandma's recipe might become yours, if you don't already have a favorite. 

Special Note: Please read the entire recipe before you begin, there are things you can do ahead of time to save you time later. Make sure to plan on several hours for this recipe.... way before your guests are expected to arrive, because it does take some extra time, not because it is hard, but  because there are several steps that take additional time...like the boiling of the chicken for the broth and boiling your eggs, and making the egg bread for the dressing. If you want to you can make some preparations (like the egg bread) ahead of time, you can make it the night before, and refrigerate it. I usually don't do this,  but that's what some of my family members do who fix this recipe.  That saves you time  the next day... when other foods are needing to be cooked in the oven and made in the kitchen. Especially if you are having a lunch gathering and are pressed for time. I usually have an evening gathering so I do all of my work the same day. Well, I think I've rambled on long enough and I have thought of everything I can to help you with this recipe. Now on with the fun... 

**First you will need to cook (boil) a chicken, or hen in order to get some good broth to cook in the dressing.

What you will need to do first is wash chicken pieces. In a large dutch oven pot put a whole chicken, hen or cut up chicken pieces and cover with water, salt and pepper and bring to a boil, reduce heat and slow boil it on medium heat until it is done, about 30 minutes to an hour depending on the size of the chicken or pieces. It's done when it's poked with a fork and the juices run clear. Remove the chicken from broth and SAVE THE BROTH, you will need the broth for the dressing recipe. You can cut up the chicken meat and save it to eat with the dressing or just save it and use the it for a different chicken recipe, that's what I do when I am cooking a holiday ham or turkey, it's up to you, you will need the broth for sure so be sure not pour it out.  

Now it's time to  "Make the Egg Bread" 
For this you will need:

  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 eggs beaten well
  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • White cornmeal such as Hoover's Fine milled.  Note: I wouldn't substitute yellow cornmeal for white, because I'm sure it will not taste the same.Note:You will not be using the entire bag of cornmeal, you will just use a portion of it, you will be add it in the bowl until you get  the right consistency which I'll explain more later.  
First melt butter in a skillet add chopped onion and celery, cook on med low heat until tender stirring occasionally.

Note: Divide the cooked celery and onion mixture in half and set it aside... save this other half  for the second part of the recipe.

In a mixing bowl hand mix buttermilk, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and oil and beaten eggs.  Mix well and now add enough corn meal, a little at the time, to make this as thick as when you are making muffins, then add half of the cooked onion celery mixture. Now, Pour in a greased iron skillet or 8 inch by 8 inch baking pan. Bake in a preheated 450 degree oven around 15 minutes, or until golden brown, keep an eye on it.   

It will look like this when it's done. Let it cool and then crumble this up into a large mixing bowl so you can stir in the other ingredients that follows:

  • 2 slices of white bread crumbled
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • salt and pepper generously sprinkled
  • 1/2 stick of melted butter
  • 2 chopped boiled eggs
  • other half of cooked celery and onion mixture
  •  chicken broth that you saved,slowly pour in enough broth to make the mix soupy, if you don't end up with enough broth to make it soupy, water can be added.
Pour it in a greased 13 inch by 9 inch baking pan or casserole dish and bake it in a preheated 450 degree oven about 15- 20 minutes or until golden brown.

It will look like this before it goes in the oven...and

It will look like this when it's done

Serve with chilled cranberry sauce and your favorite meat and side veggie..... this time mine so happens to be roasted chicken legs and green beans....but during the holidays it will be turkey and ham and every other side veggie you can think of.
I hope that you enjoy this old-fashioned southern dressing recipe! If you should have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment and I will reply back to you.

Before I close, I wanted to add a scanned picture of my Great-Grandma (on the left), with her daughter, My "Grandma T." (on the right), the baby is my uncle. This picture was taken I think in the mid 1940's. It's the only one I have of them together.  I'm so honored to have it and so proud to be able to post it with the recipe.  

  Homemade dressing cooked in my kitchen always takes me back in time and it brings back wonderful times spent with family.  This post is a tribute to all the grandma's out there... For YOU are so  special, more special  than you know.  God Bless you all..... for you have done great things. You've passed down your cooking skills and so so much more.  Thank you :)

Note to Self ... 
 No matter how many times you make this recipe, it will never be as good as grandma's was. It just won't. Don't know why.  On her written copy, surely she left out a secret ingredient.  Or did she?  The world may never know, but no matter how many times you are told this tastes just like grandma's tasted, never mind it.... you know better, hers will always be the best in the world to you. Yep, grandma's  and their cooking... are just that special.