I guess everyone thinks THEIR mama's cooking is the best, and I am no different, especially when it comes to her cornbread dressing. This is dressing "southern style" that we all love for Christmas and Thanksgiving. Sometimes we even talk her into making it in the summer when we all get together. Although Mama used to make her own unsweetened cornbread from scratch, now even she uses packaged unsweetened cornbread mix to save time. I stress unsweetened because that is what I grew up with and prefer, but it is all according to taste preference.
1Place hen in a large stock pot and cover with water. Slice one yellow onion into the water along with 2 stalks celery cut into smaller chunks. Sprinkle salt and black pepper into the water. Boil the chicken until it is done adding water if necessary. Remove chicken from water, cool and debone. Shred the meat into bite size pieces and set aside. Remove the celery and onion from the broth and save for later.
2Bake (according to directions on pkg)2 skillets of cornbread using two pkgs per skillet. Let cool and then crumble.
3Soak 5 slices of white bread in a bowl with about 1/2 cup milk. After they are soaked, press together to form a mush and add to cornbread.
4Saute' chopped yellow and green onions and chopped celery in 1 stick of butter until soft. Add to the cornbread mixture.
5Spray the dish or pan that you will cook the dressing in with non-stick spray and put everything together into that pan. Add the eggs and enough of the broth to make the mixture really thin (almost "soupy"). Season according to taste.*
6*I use seasoned salt, pepper, garlic powder, and anything else I see at the time. Because I don't have an aversion to raw eggs, I literally season this final product by tasting it, so I really don't know how much of each I use.
7**My mama and grandmother didn't use sage in their dressing. However, my husband LOVES sage so now I add fresh chopped sage to mine. Some people use the sage you find in the seasoning section of the grocery store instead of going to the trouble of chopping the fresh, but that is too strong for my liking.
8The pan or dish you bake it in and the length of time you bake it depends upon how dry or moist you want you dressing. Some people like it dry, like cornbread, so they use a shallow dish like a 9 or 10x13 and bake it until it is golden on top like cornbread and a knife inserted comes out relatively clean. I prefer a moister dressing so I bake it in a deep dish casserole or dutch oven. Because the dressing bakes quicker on the outside, I stir every so often and scrape down the food on the sides. After scraping the sides a time or two, it then let it get more golden on top. The time I bake mine this way is probably 45 - 55 minutes.