Every family has its own favorite stuffing. This is ours. It's simple and Southern and hardly seems to qualify as a "recipe," but a niece who was moving to another state wanted to be able to make Thanksgiving Dinner exactly like the one she had always had, and so my mother went to the effort to measure ingredients and record "the recipe" for our family favorite. I'm so glad she did. Otherwise, it might have been forgotten.
1In a large skillet, melt 1/2 cup of shortening and cook chopped onion and celery until tender. The onion should be soft and clear-looking (about 20 minutes).
2Crumble the cornbread into a large bowl (I use a dishpan that I keep just for this!) Add torn-up or crumbled white bread. Add the contents of the skillet, eggs, 2 tablespoons of sage, and some salt and pepper. You can add more spices later if it's too bland.
3Now add 2 cups of turkey broth to the bread mixture in the bowl. I use the broth from cooking the giblets. I like to make my stuffing ahead and cook it in the Crock-Pot, so I cook the giblets the night before if I can get them out of the turkey. I cook them in plenty of water so there will be lots of broth! In a pinch, you can use canned chicken broth. It won't be quite as good, but it will pass inspection.
4NOW comes the fun part. Take off your rings. Scrub your hands and mix the contents of the bowl (Yes, with your hands! It's the best way to do it!) Mix it thoroughly. The mixture should be very moist but not runny. I usually add most of that third cup of broth gradually during this step, and sometimes as much as a total of 5-6 cups of broth. Stop just short of “soupy.” Remember, nobody likes dry stuffing!
5At this point, I do a "taste test." Yes, I know all about salmonella, but I say a little prayer and take my chances. I don't know any other way to be sure it has enough sage, salt and pepper. I usually end up with about 4 tablespoons of sage and probably 1-2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. But this is a matter of individual taste.
6Now you have some choices. I cook my dressing in a Crock-Pot all day while I prepare the rest of my meal. It comes out moist and perfect, and it doesn't take up oven space. I can keep it hot all through the meal and just take small serving bowls to the table as they're needed. It's a great way to cook the dressing!
But if you're a traditionalist, you can pack the dressing inside your turkey to cook with the bird. However, authorities are telling us that's pretty risky these days. You can bake it in a casserole in the oven. If you do it that way, seal it with aluminum foil so it doesn't dry out. I don't bake mine, so I can't say for sure how long, but I'd estimate about 1-2 hours at 350 degrees. It should be very hot in the middle before you take it out.