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photography by Bode Helm

Chris Ward’s Cornbread Dressing



(Serves 6–8)

For the cornbread:
1 cup yellow cornmeal mix
1 cup flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup thick buttermilk
1 whole egg
1/3 cup bacon drippings

Preheat oven to 425°. In a large bowl, mix cornbread, flour, baking powder, and salt. Add milk, egg, and bacon drippings. (You may need a little extra milk to make a smoother batter.) Bake in a preheated, greased, 8-inch cast-iron skillet for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from skillet and cool.

For the dressing:
Turkey or chicken neck, tips of wings, and gizzard
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 ribs of celery, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter

Simmer all ingredients in three quarts of water for one hour, or until meat is tender. Toast three slices of white bread, including crust.

To assemble:
Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine crumbled cornbread and white bread. With a slotted spoon, remove cooked celery and onion from the juice and add to the breads. Add broth until moist.
Add salt, pepper, ground thyme, and ground sage to taste. Add one or two whole eggs to get the desired consistency. Add some finely chopped turkey neck meat and gizzards. Place in buttered casserole and bake until hot all the way through and a bit brown on top.

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