Cajun Cornbread Dressing: A Perfect Complement to Fried Turkey

Several years ago a Cajun restaurant near my home began offering fried turkeys for the holidays versus the traditional oven-baked turkey. Since that time, many have discovered that this cooking method results in a moist tender turkey that many people prefer over roasted turkey.  In fact, many people have begun frying their own turkeys at home. If you’re looking for a dressing recipe with a Cajun twist, the below recipe may be just the one for you.

I certainly understand if your grandmother’s cornbread dressing is one of your sacred holiday recipes. However, one of the great things about traditional recipes is that there are ways to still add your own touch. Many Southerners wouldn’t dream of having dressing made with anything other than cornbread, mixed with some biscuits or bread and seasoned with celery, onions and broth. Without straying too far from the original recipe, try adding cured meat like sausage, bacon or ham and a touch of something sweet like apples or dried fruit.

cajun cornbread dressing

This Cajun Cornbread Dressing recipe is an embellished version of the traditional recipe by adding smoked or Andouille sausage, red bell pepper, garlic and a hint of heat with red pepper flakes. It may just be the perfect complement to your fried turkey feast.

Do you ever alter your traditional dressing or is that recipe strictly off limits?

Dressing or Stuffing?

When I was young, I remember my sister saying that cornbread dressing was her favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner. Back then, I thought it was an unusual dish to pick as a favorite, but now I have a much greater appreciation for this beloved side dish and tend to agree that it is one of the best parts of the meal. Like many traditional recipes, cornbread dressing is a tribute to resourceful Southern cooks who created wonderful recipes with only the ingredients they had on hand. We love cornbread down here, so I guess it’s not surprising that we would add it to our dressing.

What does your family call this traditional dish – dressing or stuffing? They are basically the same thing, but in the South we usually bake it in a separate dish rather than stuffing the bread mixture in the bird – and call it dressing. I do not know exactly why we bake it in a pan, but my theory is that the bird just doesn’t hold enough to go around and we love that crisp buttery crust.

Dressing is a pretty simple dish. It is basically a seasoned mixture of crumbled cornbread and biscuits or white bread moistened with broth and baked. As easy as that seems, there are countless variations for such a simple dish.

Do you use white bread or biscuits with the cornbread? What about texture, seasonings and extra ingredients? Are onions, celery and sage your seasonings of choice? Do you ever add meat, fruit or nuts? If you want to add a special twist to your Thanksgiving dressing, try this recipe that I love.

Cornbread Sausage Dressing with Apples and Pecans

Ingredients

Southern Cornbread
Martha White “Hot Rize” Biscuits
Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
1 pound bulk pork sausage
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
2 cups chopped unpeeled Granny Smith apples
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons dried sage leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 cups chicken broth

Preparation Directions

1. PREPARED cornbread and biscuits as directed. Cool 15 minutes. Crumble enough cornbread to make 5 cups; crumble enough biscuits to make 5 cups. Set aside.
2. HEAT oven to 375°F. Spray a 13 x 9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish or pan with no-stick cooking spray. Cook sausage, onions and celery in large skillet over medium-high heat until sausage is browned and vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.
3. COMBINE sausage and vegetable mixture with crumbled cornbread and biscuits in large bowl; add all remaining ingredients; mix well. Spoon into prepared baking dish.
4. BAKE 45 to 50 minutes or until golden brown.