Experimentation in the kitchen is the spice of life. In this case I mean that literally. Cornbread dressing....one of my favorite things for Thanksgiving. I was musing about this while gazing into my pantry.
Visions of turkey stock running thru my head. When what do I spy from the corner of my eye?!......Sun dried tomatoes and Sriracha sauce, tis no lie! Down from the pantry shelf these items now fly. Into the mix, they must go and they will! Onion, celery and cilantro all chopped. Lovely little slices of French Juliette dried tomato into the pot bring to a boil and turn the heat off. While eight little eggs get beaten and the stock is a heatin'. (insert small shake of head here) Veg is sauteed and stock is fixed, cornbread is crumbled and everything mixed. While Ma' (that'd be me) is in her Crocs and long apron I turn on the Viking and set the fan to low. The Sriracha is poised into mix it must go. When what do I hear....it's a car....in a ditch. No one is hurt triple A on the way. I dash back to the kitchen to see what is aflame. Just my imagination not a thing out of place.
Sun dried tomato and Sriracha Cornbread dressing is mixed and into the pan, baked at 350 for 50. Crunchy on top and moist and tender beneath we take the first bite and let out a sigh. Heaven has been created today, a James Beard masterpiece I declare! With joy and hysteria I dance around the room knowing in my heart I look a buffoon. I am alone and no one to see I dance more and shout to the top of the house......Tis done!!! A Masterpiece I have here, come and taste!!! Julia and James nod from above their approval I've won and a place by their sides in culinary heaven I will abide.
I need a better ending.
Here is the recipe for the cornbread.
2 ½ cups cornmeal mix
1-2 Tbs. cornmeal mix
2 cups buttermilk (use low-fat not non-fat)
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 Tbs. shortening (or lard) J
1-2 Tbs. shortening (to grease skillet)
1 10 or 12 inch iron skillet
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
Generously grease your iron skillet with 1-2 tablespoons of shortening and dust with cornmeal until the surface is well coated. DO NOT HEAT THE SKILLET.
In a large mixing bowl cut 3 tablespoons of shortening into the 2 ½ cups of cornmeal. Add the egg and buttermilk and mix well.
Pour into skillet and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and crusty.Serve immediately with butter and a cold glass of milk!
Now For the Sun dried Tomato, Sriracha Dressing.....
Let the cornbread dry out of a day or bake ahead and freeze up to a month.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Butter 13 x 9 inch, 3 qt. casserole
1 Lg Onion chopped 1/4 " dice
4 Stalks Celery chopped 1/4" dice
2 Tbs Chopped Cilantro or Italian Parsley
1/4 cup of Sun dried Tomato, rehydrate in 1 cup of boiling water, retain water
4 Lg Eggs, beaten
2 Qts of Turkey or Chicken Stock
3-4 Tbs Sriracha Sauce
4 Tbs Butter
Crumble cornbread into a LARGE mixing bowl. In a large nonstick saute pan sweat/cook ( I dislike that term, sweat) onion and celery in butter salt and pepper. Cook until onions are translucent, 4-5 mins and add the rehydrated tomatoes. Turn off heat and let cool.
In the bowl with cornbread add the sauteed vegetables, tomato water, stock, beaten eggs, cilantro or parsley and sriracha sauce mix well. The mix should have some larger pieces of crunchy bits of the cornbread but overall it should be wetly pourable.
Pour into the buttered casserole and bake for 40-50 minutes or until done to your taste and the right 'crunch' factor has been reached. Personally I like my dressing to have bits of overly dark (some would say burned) bits along the edges and the 'tall' bits but remain moist inside. Sometimes I will run it under the broiler to achieve the perfect balance between crunch and moist. You do as your family would like. But I ALWAYS use the cook's prerogative....I cook it and I cook it to MY taste. I think everyone should cook with this in mind.
Except birthdays or if someone is paying you. Then, damn it, they get to tell us how to do it.
BTW....Us southern girls never sweat....we glisten.