Mama’s Famous Southern Cornbread Dressing

There are some recipes that are more than merely delicious food.  These recipes represent love and memories and family and friends.  Special holiday dishes, especially, have the power to transport you through their taste and aroma to memorably happy times.

My Grandma Suvon’s famous cornbread dressing recipe is one such treasure. It is a scrumptious addition to any Thanksgiving or Christmas feast.

It is the epitome of southern comfort food…It is essentially a hug in a 9×13 pan. 

Humility and Doxology Recipe

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My “mama” (pronounced “MawMaw”) is one of the most selfless and generous people I know.  She loves Jesus, her family, and her community.  A huge way she shows love to people is by feeding them: biscuits, pear cake, homemade pickles, southern-style collards…this lady has got major skills in the kitchen.  My cousins, brother, and I decided as children that perhaps the reason her food was so much better than our mothers’ (sorry, Auntie/Mom) was because Mama cooked and stirred the ingredients with her left hand.

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Happy 80th birthday celebration to my lovely, godly, amazing Mama (grandma). 💕 I praise the Lord for her hospitality, the way she selflessly has always served others and worked hard without complaint, her faithfulness in prayer, the wonderful biscuits she makes. Today I learned new things about her as a room full of people gathered to celebrate: she was voted friendliest by her highschool graduating class! She wrote a hysterical "senior prophecy" for said highschool class. If she were a superhero, she'd like to be able to fly. And her favorite hymn is It Is Well With My Soul. We sang it in gorgeous harmony today, and then she read aloud her favorite stanza: 💕 My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought! My sin, not in part but the whole, is nailed to the cross and I'll bear it no more. Praise the Lord, praise the Lord oh my soul! 💕 Missing my grandpa today dreadfully, but truly, it is well with our souls.

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I remember eating Mama’s cornbread dressing at every holiday meal we shared with my grandparents.  Several years ago, Mama wrote out her recipe for me, and I’ve made it a few times when we’ve hosted holiday meals at our own home, but it was just a few weeks ago that I heard the story behind this deliciousness.  Apparently, Mama took her favorite elements from her mother’s dressing and her mother-in-law’s dressing and combined them into the scrumptious recipe we enjoy as a family.  So this is not just a side dish; this is a part of my family heritage and culture!

Mama graciously told me I could share the recipe with anyone I chose.  If you’re trying to finalize your holiday food plans, consider adding Mama’s Famous Southern Cornbread Chicken Dressing to your menu!

Mama’s Famous Southern Cornbread Dressing

6 chicken thighs
4 boiled eggs, chopped
2-3 celery stalks, sautéed
1 medium onion, sautéed
3 cups self-rising cornmeal mix
2-3 slices bread, chopped (perfect time to use up the heels of the loaf!)
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Boil the chicken thighs until fully cooked and tender. Make sure you cook them in plenty of water, because you’ll use that broth later in the recipe. You can boil the thighs in a pot on the stove, or cook them in the crockpot on low for 6 hours.  Remove the cooked chicken from the bones and chop coarsely.  Reserve the broth for later. (I use ~6 cups broth)
     

  2. Mix the 3 cups self-rising cornmeal mix with ~2.5 cups water (until soupy in consistency). Pour into a greased 9×13 pan and bake at 400 for 25 minutes, or until cooked through.
    Mama's Cornbread Dressing Humility and Doxology
  3. Mix the cornbread, bread, chopped chicken, chopped egg, celery, and onions in a bowl. Pour the broth you reserved in step 1 over the dressing, and mix well until it is extremely moist and juicy (almost soupy).  Make sure all the bread is well mixed in and not in lumps.  Let me reiterate: the value of this dressing is in how juicy it turns out, so don’t be afraid to have a very wet mixture. Salt and Pepper to taste.  All of the ingredients are cooked at this point, so I generally taste a tiny bit of the wet mixture to make sure I’ve put in enough salt.
     

  4. Bake at 350 for ~1 hour, until lightly browned.  Serve with love and share with friends and family.Mama's Cornbread Dressing Humility and Doxology

Here is the handwritten recipe Mama gave me several years ago.  Notice her sweet note at the end: “Call if you need me.”  I love you, Mama.  Thank you for teaching me about good food and what it means to be a godly woman.

 

Is there a particular food or recipe that holds a special place in your heart?  I’d love to hear about it!  You can email me through the contact page if it’s private, or share with the community on Facebook!

A printable copy of Mama’s recipe is available for my email subscribers.  Sign up in the sidebar for access to all sorts of subscriber-exclusive goodies!

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