Southern Living dishes on holiday staple

Published 1:37 pm Friday, November 8, 2013

Dressing is a staple on the table during the holiday season.

Dressing is a staple on the table during the holiday season.


I attended the 25th Southern Garden Symposium in St. Francisville, La., last week.  I had never attended before because my husband is primarily the gardener, but I decided to attend and had a great two days and got lots of ideas.

I spent two hours learning about flower arranging from John Grady Burns, who has worked at the White House and has a design shop in Atlanta. He said the work in arranging these days is “organic.” I guess organic is not just for food! He means using anything in nature such as interesting branches, fig vines, banana stalks and logs with resurrection ferns growing on them. In other words, you do not have to have anything perfect to make an interesting arrangement! This lecture was outdoors in the fabulous Afton Villa Gardens, a restored plantation garden augmented with plantings in the ruins of the old villa. Mrs. Trimble, the owner, noted in her welcome that her gardener, Ivy, came to help them for two weeks and has remained for 40 years.

The highlight was the afternoon speaker, James Farmer, whose talk was farm to table. He has the perfect name, doesn’t he? He is one of the three editors-at-large for Southern Living along with Jenna Bush Hagar and Kimberly Whitman. He has written five books and has a design studio in Perry, Ga., where he was born. He is an Auburn graduate and there he got his interest in farming and food. When I got my November issue of Southern Living, there was an article on a Georgia Christmas by James Farmer. He talked at the symposium and in the article about his grandmother, Mimi, and the influence she had on his life. She passed away this year. He gives the recipes for his Thanksgiving meal in honor of Mimi. I did her cornbread dressing in preparation for my Thanksgiving feast. I wanted to do a trial run and I wanted a picture for my readers. It was very good and easy and actually reminded me of my grandmother’s dressing which was always done with simply cornbread (which she baked from scratch) and vegetables. And it’s dressing here in the South, not stuffing.

Get the November 2013 issue of Southern Living. It not only has an article on a Georgia Thanksgiving, but an Alabama one as well.

From the November 2013 issue of Southern Living magazine:


Makes 8-10 servings

2 Tbsp. canola oil, divided

2 cups self-rising white cornmeal mix

1 1/3 cups buttermilk

1 cup self-rising flour

2 large eggs, slightly beaten

5 to 6 cups reduced sodium chicken broth

¾ cup butter, divided

3 cups chopped sweet onion (about 1 large)

2 cups chopped celery

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

2/3 cups chopped fresh flat-leafed parsley

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage

2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

1 ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

½ tsp. kosher salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat bottom and sides of a 10-inch cast iron skilled with 1 Tbsp. oil; heat on oven 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir together cornmeal mix, next three ingredients, and remaining 1 Tbsp. oil. Pour batter into hot skillet.

Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven to a wire rack; cool 15 minutes. Crumble cornbread into a large bowl. Stir 5 cups broth into crumbled cornbread until moistened, adding more broth, 1 Tbsp. at a time, if necessary. (Mixture should resemble wet sand.)

Melt ¼ cup butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add onion and celery and sauté eight to 10 minutes or until tender. Add onion mixture to cornbread mixture.

Microwave remaining ½ cup butter in a small microwave safe bowl at high for one minute or until melted. Stir melted butter, eggs, and remaining ingredients into cornbread mixture; spoon into a lightly greased 13-x9-inch baking dish.

Bake at 400 degrees for 50 minutes to an hour or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

We had this for lunch served over a slice of turkey and added a little Tabasco.