What are your family’s signature recipes? Celebrity chef Carla Hall swears by a classic spoonbread dressing (or stuffing). “The lightness of a spoonbread with the flavors of a dressing makes this dish perfect for the holidays. It’s a timesaver, too, since the baking dish goes right from the oven to the table,” she says. Here’s how to make it…
From Carla Hall’s Soul Food
Oh. My. God. Did I just create the best dressing ever? (That’s ‘stuffing’ to you Northerners.) Why yes, yes, I did. You’re welcome. I got all the flavors of classic dressing — onion, celery, sage — and suspended them in a creamy one-pan cornbread. With this recipe, I’ve saved you the step of baking a whole loaf of cornbread just to crumble into a side dish. Anything I can do to make your home cooking easier and tastier, I’ll do. This just saved you a whole lotta time during the holidays and it’s gonna get you a whole lotta praise.
Recipe: Spoonbread Dressing
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 onion, finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon salt-free poultry seasoning
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup fine yellow stone-ground cornmeal
1 can sweet corn niblets, drained
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 350F. Use 1 tablespoon of the butter to generously grease a shallow 3-quart casserole, Dutch oven or baking dish. Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and 1-1/2 teaspoons salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and just tender, about 4 minutes. Add the poultry seasoning and cook, stirring for 1 minute.
Add the milk, sugar and 1 cup water, and bring to a boil. Continuously whisk the mixture while you pour in the cornmeal in a slow, steady stream. Keep whisking while the mixture bubbles rapidly until the cornmeal has absorbed all the liquid and is thick and smooth, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the corn and baking powder. Cool, stirring often, until lukewarm. Don’t let the mixture clump.
Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until pale yellow and very foamy with no liquid remaining. Add one third of the beaten eggs to the cornmeal mixture and stir to loosen the cornmeal mixture. Add half of the remaining eggs and fold gently until incorporated, then repeat with the remaining eggs. Spread evenly in the prepared dish.
Bake until golden brown and set without any jiggling, about 25 minutes. When you press the top, it should spring back. Serve hot or warm.
(From the book Carla Hall’s Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration by Carla Hall and Genevieve Ko. Copyright © 2018 by Carla Hall. Published on October 23, 2018 by HarperWave, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission. Thanks to Franny Eremin for helping with this series.)