My grandmother’s Southern Cornbread Dressing is the one thing the whole family scrambles to get on Thanksgiving Day. This moist dressing is chocked full of cornbread, turkey drippings, seasoning vegetables, and herbs!
Two to three days in advance, bake cornbread, cool, crumble and let sit at room temperature, covered loosely with a clean kitchen towel, to dry out.
Season the turkey wings and thighs generously on all sides and place on a foil-lined baking sheet.
Roast at 450 degrees for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 and continue baking for an additional hour.
Cool completely. Pour off drippings and reserve. Remove the meat from the bones and discard skin and bones. Coarsely chop meat and set aside.
In a large skillet, melt the butter and saute onions, celery, and bell pepper until tender.
Once tender, stir in garlic and saute for about 30 seconds; do not brown.
In a very large bowl, combine crumbled cornbread, sauteed vegetables, parsely, crushed saltine crackers, cream of chicken soup, 2 cups of drippings and chopped meat. (If you are short on drippings, add chicken broth.)
Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
Pour dressing into 2 large greased baking dishes.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Bake uncovered for about 45 minutes, or until golden brown on top and heated through. If browning too much, cover loosely with foil.
I like to make my dressing 2 to 3 days in advance so that the flavors marry. I mix everything and place it all in baking dishes. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until you're ready to bake.