Last Thanksgiving was my first since giving up gluten, so to keep things easy, I just skipped eating my favorite part of my favorite meal…the dressing. Boo! I really missed it, as much as I dig turkey and mashed potatoes, which is very, very much.
This year, particularly since I’m hosting, I decided to play around a bit and see if I could come up with a gluten-free dressing. Even though it’s not my family’s tradition, I’m a big fan of cornbread dressing, loaded with sausage and fresh sage; given that cornbread can be made gluten-free quite nicely, it seemed a particularly tasty place to start.
The original recipe is not gluten-free, by the way, so use all-purpose flour and some terrific bread where the gluten-free version is called for and call me jealous. (Sorry.) But if you follow the gluten-free adaptations you’ll be so thrilled! The dressing emerged flavorful, tender in the center, and perfectly buttery-crusty on top. Lovely on its own while clearly open to a spot of gravy, which I did not yet have, but we’ll all have aplenty in just a couple of weeks.
The beauty of this dressing—and all dressing—is that you can add in whatever you like. Apples, nuts, wild rice, cheese, mushrooms, oysters, pork in any form, any herb, and on and on.
Adapted from Southern Living
Begin preparing the dressing one day before you plan to serve it.
1/2 c. butter, divided
1 1/2 c. very fresh cornmeal
1/2 c. all-purpose flour (or gluten-free all-purpose flour)
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
4 eggs, divided
1 1/2 c. buttermilk
1 1/2 c. soft breadcrumbs (gluten-free bread can be substituted)
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
1 c. diced celery
1/4 c. minced fresh sage
1/2 lb. browned, crumbed sausage, as spicy as you like it (optional)
1/2 lb. mushrooms, sauteed in butter (optional)
freshly ground black pepper
2 c. (or more) chicken broth
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Place 1/4 c. of the butter in a pie plate and set it in the oven for a few minutes, until butter is melted.
In a medium bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk in 2 of the eggs and the buttermilk, then whisk in the melted butter from the pie plate. Pour the batter into the pie plate and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool.
Crumble cornbread into a large bowl. Stir in breadcrumbs. Set aside.
In a large skillet, melt remaining 1/4 c. of butter over medium heat. Saute onions and celery until tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in sage and saute for a couple more minutes.
Add vegetables to cornbread mixture. Add sausage and mushrooms (if using). Lightly whisk the remaining 2 eggs and add to the bowl. Grind plenty of black pepper over the mixture. Stir in enough broth to moisten the dressing.
Transfer dressing to a buttered 13×9-inch pan. Cover and chill overnight.
Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes or until crusty and golden brown.