I first tasted this stuffing 20 years ago when my husband brought me to the U.S. to meet his parents.
I found out that this is one of my husband’s favorite dishes.
His dad makes it every time he comes home. I mean every time. I guess this is one of the few ways he showed how much he loved his son. Since he wasn’t very good at demonstrating it any other time.
So of course… upon seeing how much my husband loved this dish, I made sure that I learned how to make it.
I watched my father-in-law made this cornbread stuffing several times. And each time he made it, he seemed to have spent his time all day in the kitchen.
As with most home cooks, he did not measure anything.
My notes consisted of ingredients only.
I had to experiment with the amount of ingredients and seasonings. Several times. Before I finally perfected the recipe.
Each time I make this cornbread stuffing. There is one key indicator whether it came out great or not. If the cornbread stuffing is great – my husband will eat nothing but cornbread stuffing all day. And the next day. Until all the cornbread stuffing is gone. Finished. Consumed. Gone.
It means I’ve done a great job!
It means I have prepared the cornbread stuffing just like his Daddy did.
And if ever I deviate from the perfected recipe. If I accidentally forget a seasoning or an herb… my husband will know. His palate knows. After eating a bowl or two. He won’t eat it again. He will simply stop eating it. He won’t say a word.
He will simply let a whole pan of cornbread stuffing set. And get stale. And collect mold if I don’t throw them away sooner.
A whole day’s of work wasted. Down the drain. And it’s nobody’s fault but mine.
So I’ve learned my lessons well. Very well. And many times.
So whenever I make cornbread. My mind better be focus. I cannot be thinking about other things. I think only of cornbread stuffing. Think only of cornbread stuffing. Cornbread stuffing.
I admit that this cornbread stuffing entails a bit of work. Not hard. Just work. That little extra time and efforts.
And extra concentration on my part.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the cliché “labor of love.”
Well this stuffing is truly a labor of love.
I only make this twice a year: on Thanksgiving and two days before Christmas. Because that’s Willie’s birthday.
Any other time. He’ll have to ask for it.
The dish requires four (4) different processes:
Process #1: Cook chicken and make chicken stock. It’s better to do this one day prior. So that the chicken stock has a chance to cool and the fat will solidify on top which will be easier to remove and discard.
Process #2: Bake the cornbread
Process #3: Making the stuffing: caramelized mushrooms; sautéed garlic and onions; and using products from processes number 1 and 2
Process #4: Baking the cornbread stuffing. At this stage my job is almost done. So I celebrate. I play Jesse Cook and dance. In my cramped kitchen.
I think process #1 requires most of the work. But once the chicken is cooked and the cornbread is baked, half of the work is done.
First, I just want to alert you that you will these gadgets, pots and pan to prepare this delectable “Cornbread Stuffing – Southern Style.”
Kitchen tools or equipment needed:
12 – 16 quarts stock pot
9 ”x 13” glass baking pan (Pyrex or anchor)
9”x 13” glass baking pan or all purpose aluminum pan
8”x 8” square glass pan or aluminum pan
Large container or bowl – 8 quarts capacity
And the ingredients…
And remember our processes…
Process #1: Cook chicken and make chicken stock
I know someone who won’t touch any part of raw chicken. He eats it once its cooked. He just won’t have any part of it while it’s raw. He won’t even look at it.
But this is where it all starts.
Whole chicken cut-up.
Chicken gizzards and livers.
I bought this when we were in Okinawa, Japan.
I’ve seen one this big at Sam’s Club. Not as sturdy. I don’t think. But as big.
Vegetables. Chopped. Onion and garlic chopped. Bay leaves and black pepper corns in a cheese cloth. Tied into a pouch. Italian parsley and coarse sea salt.
And just before the pot starts to boil… skim off foam and impurities that surfaces to the top.
Once boiling… reduce heat to low. Simmer for 40 minutes.
Once boiling. Reduce heat to low and simmer again for 20 minutes or until the chicken livers are cooked.
or slotted spatula and tong. Place them in a large bowl or colander.
Refrigerate until cold. And fat has solidify on top.
You can then easily remove or skim the fat off the chicken stock.
And the chicken. Don’t forget the chicken. The gizzards and livers…
Remove the skins and bones from the chicken pieces and discard. Tear the chicken meat into small chunks. Finely chop the gizzards and livers.
Now you’re ready for Process #2: Baking the Cornbread
I am just now realizing that this blog is getting way too long.
Far too long.
So I’m just gonna have to continue with Baking the Cornbread in another blog.
Sorry to have to do this to you.
But I promise to continue with Process #2 and the rest of the processes on my next blog or blogs.
At least you learn something here: How to make a homemade chicken stock.
Enjoy and Happy Cooking!