Sheet Pan

What We Call Dressing - Cornbread, Bacon, Onion & Apple

November  3, 2009
1 Ratings
  • Serves 8, at least
Author Notes

When I was a little girl, a friend of my mother’s reminisced about her childhood in Kansas. She said the week before Thanksgiving, there was homemade bread on every kitchen counter, sitting out, getting stale for the stuffing. That image stayed with me, and was a technique I incorporated when I created my dressing and my stuffing.

This cornmeal, bacon and onion dressing is very moist, satisfying and a rich, smoky counterpoint to turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy. While I’ve been making it for at least 15 years, as is often the case, it changes a little every time. This is the latest incarnation.

I make the cornbread on Monday of Thanksgiving week. It’s great to have that step out of the way so far in advance. —MrsWheelbarrow

What You'll Need
  • Cornbread
  • 2 cups fine cornmeal, stone ground
  • 1 cup coarse cornmeal, stone ground
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 large eggs
  • The Dressing
  • 1 pound applewood smoked bacon, cut into lardons
  • 2 cups onions, cut into a 1/2" dice
  • 2 cups firm, crisp apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2" dice
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons rubbed sage
  • 1 teaspoon savory
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 2 cups rich chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 egg whites
  1. Preheat the oven to 425. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and brush the paper with oil or butter.
  2. Make the cornbread: Whisk the dry ingredients together.
  3. Whisk the eggs, buttermilk and melted butter and incorporate into the dry ingredients just until combined.
  4. Using an offset spatula, spread the cornbread across the parchment paper.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool. Once cooled, cut into croutons and leave on the sheet pan to get a little stale, at least overnight.
  6. Make the dressing: Cook the bacon in a roomy saute pan until crispy. Allow to drain on paper towels.
  7. Add the onions to the bacon fat in the pan, add the seasonings and cook slowly until the onions are wilted.
  8. Add the apples and cook until the onions and apples are well caramelized.
  9. Pour in the chicken stock to deglaze the pan then turn off the heat and allow the stock to cool a bit.
  10. Heat the cream until small bubbles appear at the edges of the pan.
  11. Whip the eggwhites until stiff.
  12. Assemble the dressing: In a large bowl, combine the cornbread croutons with the bacon, apples, onion and chicken stock, and cream.
  13. Fold in the eggwhites.
  14. Press the dressing into a buttered large gratin or baking dish.
  15. Bake for 55 minutes at 350. For a really fantastic finish, drizzle turkey drippings - any not used for gravy making - across the top. Raise the oven temperature to 425 and bake for 10 more minutes until crispy and a little blistered on the surface.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • lastnightsdinner
  • Loves Food Loves to Eat
    Loves Food Loves to Eat
  • Oui, Chef
    Oui, Chef
  • sweet enough
    sweet enough
  • Cathy Barrow
    Cathy Barrow
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8 Reviews

5SHWPG November 23, 2013
Approximately how many cups does the cornbread yield? I already made cornbread by the time I found this recipe and think I have more than I need. Probably have about 16 cups or more. I'm thinking 12 cups?
Cathy B. November 24, 2013
Yes, about 12 cups is right! Happy Thanksgiving!
Lori November 16, 2009
Thanksgiving hasn't been the same for my southern hubby since his mom stopped cooking her cornbread dressing. Her recipe (now long lost) was similar to this one and I can't wait to try it! Thanks so much for posting!
lastnightsdinner November 6, 2009
I'm such a huge fan of cornbread stuffings, but I seem to have no luck with them. My grandma's has a cornbread base, and I've tried for years to get it right to no avail. I will definitely have to try this.
Loves F. November 6, 2009
This sounds great! I wish you had a picture, but I guess I'll just have to make it myself to see how awesome looks!! =)
MrsWheelbarrow November 14, 2009
I promise to add a photo after Thanksgiving!
Oui, C. November 4, 2009
I've always wanted to try a cornbread dressing, and now I finally have a recipe that inspires me to take the plunge.
sweet E. November 3, 2009
this sounds wonderful. I can't wait to try it!