3 tablespoons bacon drippings
1½ cups coarse stoneground cornmeal
½ cup flour or more cornmeal
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg
1½ cups well-shaken buttermilk
8 tablespoons butter
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped (2 cups)
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced (1 cup)
1 sweet apple, cored and cut into ½-inch dice (1 cup)
1 tart apple, cored and cut into ½-inch dice (1 cup)
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 cup toasted pecan pieces
4 cups 1-inch cubes crusty, dense, country-style bread
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
½ teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1½-2 cups turkey stock or chicken stock, warmed
Make the cornbread:
- Put drippings in a 9-inch cast-iron skillet and place it in oven as it preheats to 450 degrees.
- Whisk together cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together egg and buttermilk.
- Make a well in center of cornmeal mixture and pour in egg mixture.
- Stir only until blended. Remove skillet from oven and scrape in batter. It will sizzle and pop, so be careful.
- Bake until cornbread is firm in middle and golden brown on top, about 25 minutes.
- Turn out onto cutting board or wire rack to cool, then crumble and store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Make the dressing:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Generously butter a 9×13-inch baking dish and set aside.
- Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring often, until they begin to soften, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in apples and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in thyme, sage, parsley, and pecans and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes.
- Pour into a large bowl.
- Stir in bread and 4 cups of cornbread.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Whisk eggs in a small bowl until whites and yolks are blended and then stir into bread mixture.
- Stir in enough warm stock to make dressing quite moist, but not so much that there is standing liquid in bottom of bowl.
- Spoon dressing into prepared baking dish.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove foil and bake until dressing is hot and lightly browned on top, about 25 minutes longer.
- Serve warm.
To make ahead:
- Cornbread can be baked up to a day in advance.
- Prepare the dressing through step 2 up to 2 days ahead.
- Cover with foil and refrigerate.
- Increase the covered baking time by about 10 minutes.
- Recipe by Sheri Castle