Nana's Thanksgiving and Christmas Pan Dressing

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“This stuff is custom for Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinner. It also makes a great main dish all by itself. I was at DH's Mother's home for Christmas and she made this pan dressing. Just suffice to say...this aint "jusstuffing and by God's grace we will never have another Christmas or Thanksgiving without a big pan of this! I am also posting the giblet gravy which we like on top of this dressing! It takes some time and effort, but completely worth it. His mother is such a wonderful cook, and with her recipes I can carry on the tradition! In addition to the following ingredients, you will need 2 disposable pans (1-13x9 and 1-11x7)(or use glass lined with foil) and nonstick spray. Since I use store bought roasted chicken and stock it shortens the prep time but Nana would just boil a whole chicken in 12 cups of water, cool and de-bone. I make the cornbread the night before...”
2hrs 45mins

Ingredients Nutrition

  • For the cornbread base
  • 2 cups self-rising cornmeal, mix
  • 1 34 cups buttermilk
  • 14 cup vegetable oil or 14 cup vegetable shortening, melted
  • For the sauteed celery and onion
  • 4 -8 tablespoons stock
  • 1 tablespoon turkey drippings or 1 tablespoon other fat
  • 2 12-3 cups chopped celery
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped small (at least 1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon (for the salt)
  • 12 teaspoon rubbed sage (you can omit or reduce if preferred)
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 12 teaspoon pepper
  • 14 teaspoon white pepper
  • For the dressing
  • 3 -5 lbs roasted chicken
  • 12 cups chicken stock
  • 6 eggs, beaten until frothy
  • May need the following
  • 5 slices of stale whole wheat bread


  1. First, prepare your cornbread which is the base of this dish:
  2. Heat oven to 450°F; grease 9-inch cast iron skillet or 9-inch square pan.
  3. Put it in the oven to heat. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Pour the batter into greased pan, scraping sides and bottom of bowl. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
  4. Set prepared cornbread aside to cool. When cool, remove from pan and in a large 4 quart mixing bowl, cube into 1 inch cubes or you can just crumble it with your hand (which is what Nana would do).
  5. Carefully de-bone the chicken and shred/chunk. You want to end up with at least 3 cups of chicken. More is fine too.
  6. Finely chop celery and small chunk the onion. In a heavy bottom skillet, combine drippings or cooking fat and 4 TB of stock . Add onions and saute on medium heat, stirring and scraping bottom of pan often until onions are beginning to become clear but not yet limp (about 3-4 minutes). Add more broth at any time you feel you need it- to prevent burning. Add celery and cook about 3 minutes longer until celery is crisp tender and onion is clear and limp and perhaps beginning to caramelize. Remove from heat, stir in all seasonings and set mixture aside for now.
  7. Grease (or spray with nonstick) your disposable pans. You can use glass and line with foil too. Set aside.
  8. Combine the cubed or crumbled cornbread and cut/shredded chicken in the same big 4 qt or larger bowl. Add reserved celery and onion mixture.
  9. In a small bowl, beat the 6 eggs until frothy. Then, add to cornbread, shredded chicken,and cooked celery mixture. Stir minimally. Add 6-8 cups of chicken stock 1 cup at a time until the texture is still bready yet pourable. Take your time because the cornbread will absorb liquid over the course of a few minutes. If you overdo the liquid, add some of your torn whole wheat bread. Nana says: "You want it more moist than dry, ok?" Don't mix until you've let it sit for a few minutes.
  10. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  11. After allowing the cornbread to set for 2 minutes, mix to combine, but don't over-handle.
  12. Pour (if you can't pour you need more liquid)into your greased and disposable or foil lined glass dishes and bake for 45 minutes or until set and browned on top. If edges are done to a couple of inches in, then the center is probably done enough too.

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