I’ve stated before that I come from a family of great cooks. While Mama did all the cooking on a daily basis, my daddy is an awesome cook, too. One of the things he is famous for – and, yes, I mean famous! – is his chicken and dressing.
Now I hear people all the time squabbling about whether it’s “stuffing” or “dressing.” Here’s what I say:
If you cook it in a pan, it’s dressing. If you cook in a bird, it’s stuffing (Because you stuff it inside the bird!).
My daddy makes dressing. Here in the South, people are passionate about chicken and dressing. There are little blue-haired ladies all over the place just waiting for a Sunday dinner-on-the-grounds so they can break out their dressing pans.
Now, everybody’s dressing recipe is different. We all change and create recipes according to our family’s tastes. The common thread is that, in the South – at least where I live – the base of the dressing is cornbread. Not that sweet, sugary cornbread, but a more savory cornbread. And there is almost always a prevalent flavor of onions.
Most of the dressings I’ve eaten outside of my childhood home are made pretty much the same way. The cornbread is cooked and crumbled into a big bowl. Onions, seasonings and chicken are added. And then enough chicken stock is added to make a soupy batter which is then poured into a pan and baked. I don’t mind this kind of dressing. I’ve eaten plenty of it.
But it’s wrong.
Daddy’s dressing is moist and delicious, but he never makes that soupy stuff. He adds enough stock to make it clump together, but it is just a different texture. It doesn’t bake into a solid “cake” of dressing.
It’s impossible to describe adequately. You’re just going to have to come to Thanksgiving dinner at the Whitman’s house. Bring a side dish. We’ll add some chairs.
(Please don’t do that. My mother would kill me!)
I am planning to watch Daddy make his dressing this year so that I can learn to do it the way he does.
Until then, I have to settle for stuffing made from a box. I know some people turn up their noses at this stuff, but I actually enjoy the flavor! Every now and then, I make it, and although everybody says, “I wish we had some of Pappaw’s dressing” – and I completely agree with them! – every bite is eaten!
This is a new recipe I’m trying that combines three things I really like: chicken breasts, stuffing mix, and a slow cooker! Give it a try!
Crock Pot Chicken and Stuffing
- 1 3-pound bag of frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 bag of frozen chopped onion (OR 1 medium onion, chopped)
- 2 boxes of stuffing mix
- 2 10.75-ounce cans of cream of chicken soup
- 1 pint of sour cream
Lay chicken breasts (still frozen) in the bottom of your crock pot. Layer onions on top. Sprinkle both boxes of stuffing mix over onions. In a bowl, whisk together the soup and sour cream and pour evenly over the stuffing mix. Cook on low heat all day (6-8 hours).
Well Duh #1: I used my big crock pot for this one. It has an 8-quart capacity. If you don’t have a crock pot that big, divide the recipe in half, because I totally needed all 8 quarts for this one!
Well Duh #2: I used 98% fat-free soup and light sour cream. You totally couldn’t tell the difference!
Well Duh #3: I cooked this all day long – which ended up being almost 10 hours! – so the chicken breasts pretty much fell apart. If you want your chicken to stay together, just cook it for 6-8.