Thanksgiving-type food is delicious year round, so there's no reason to regulate it to just November. This must be why chicken and dressing is so popular in the South. Instead of stuffing cooked inside the bird, it's a Southern tradition to cook the cornbread-based dressing in a pan, usually with added chicken. I took the traditional chicken and dressing recipe, and added dried cranberries, pecans and bacon for more of that autumn feel that can be eaten any time of year.
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes
Yield: 6 Servings
- 5 slices bacon
- 2 onions, chopped
- 4 to 5 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons ground sage
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 5 cups crumbled cornbread
- 10 crackers (whatever you have on hand, from Saltines to Wheat Thins), crumbled
- 4 pieces of bread, toasted and cut into bite-sized pieces
- ½ cup dried cranberries, rehydrated in warm water
- ½ cup pecans
- 1 whole rotisserie chicken, chicken meat removed and cut into bite-sized pieces
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 to 3 cups chicken stock, as needed
- Butter, to coat Pyrex dish
1. Preheat oven to 400° degrees. In saucepan, cook bacon until crispy. Remove bacon and excess bacon fat, leaving a remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of bacon fat in the pan. Add onions and celery. Cook slowly over medium heat until softened, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add thyme, sage and poultry seasoning.
2. In large bowl, add the onion and celery mixture, along with cornbread, crackers and toasted bread pieces. Stir, and then add reserved bacon, toasted pecans, cranberries, cooked chicken, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings. Mix ingredients well. Add the beaten egg and incorporate. Add the chicken stock 1/2 cup at a time until the consistency is well-mixed but not soupy.
3. Place dressing in buttered Pyrex dish. Cover with foil and cook 30 minutes. Remove foil and cook 15 to 20 minutes until toasted on top. When reheating, add more chicken stock to dressing to prevent it from drying out.