Meats and Main Dishes
Top of the Hill Chicken and Dressing
The first part of the recipe is cooked on top of the stove and then it goes into the oven for one hour.
This big pan in the picture below covers two eyes on my stove and I have them both turned on. It stays on the stove top while cook your onion and celery, and remains there while you add all the other ingredients, one by one. You cook that mixture a little bit, stirring constantly until everything looks mixed thoroughly and has become nice and thick. Then you place it the oven for at least 1 hour. I usually bake mine for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
The recipe calls for a 'large pone' of cornbread. I bake my cornbread in a big old iron skillet and bake until it has a fairly dark crust. The dark crusty part of the corn bread is a must for this recipe. It ads a new level of flavor and the dressing wouldn't be the same unless you let you cornbread get really done.
Don't be shy with the eggs. It really does take the entire dozen.
Chicken and Dressing
1 lg. batch southern cornbread
1/2 loaf white bread, cut or torn into small pieces( I use whole wheat bread)
1 Tbsp. sage (just to taste, a little sage goes a long way and I don't use it, but many people like sage in their dressing)
1 Tbsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. salt (add salt little by little and then taste, your chicken broth may have salt in it if you use canned broth and therefore not as much salt will be needed. Taste before adding more salt)
2 sticks unsalted butter
4 c. celery, chopped (1 c. for the broth and 3 c. for the dressing
4 c. onion, chopped (1 c. for the broth and 3 c. for the dressing
12 eggs, slightly beaten
2 c. milk
8-10 cups chicken broth (liquid from cooking your chicken breast)
8 boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 large onions (1 for the dressing and 1 for your broth
Making Your Broth:
These ingredients are all listed above in the main ingredient list.
8 chicken breast (each breast cut into thirds)
1 c. onion (in large dices)
1 c. celery
Enough water to cover chicken
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Bring water to a boil, add your salt, pepper, and chicken breast. Cook until chicken is completely done.
Make a simple batch of southern cornbread without sugar and containing at least two cups of cornmeal. Make sure you let the cornbread cook long enough to develope a dark brown crust. Let cornbread cool enough to handle, then crumble it into large pieces. Toss crumbled cornbread with you bread cubes.
Lightly beat your eggs, add milk and mix. Set this aside as you cook your onions and celery.
After cooking your chicken, making your broth, and cooking your cornbread, having onions and celery diced, eggs and milk mixed together, you can now begin the dressing.
Place a large deep roasting pan on top of stove, it will cover two eyes. Turn both eyes on medium high heat. Place in the pan 2 sticks butter, 1 c. onions and 1 cup celery. Cook until onions are clear. About 5 min.
Add your cornbread and bread cubes.
Temper your egg/milk mixture with a little of your hot chicken broth, add this to your pan. Add to your large pan, stir to combine thoroughly and cook on top of stove until mixture begins to thicken, add chicken breast mix well.
Add more chicken broth if needed making sure the mixture is moist, but not soupy, you want it fairly thick . Taste for seasonings. Add additional salt and pepper to your taste.
Place roasting pan into a 350 F. oven and bake for at least bake 1 hour. I usually cook mine 1 hr and 15 min.
Both of these are very standard cornbread recipes. I see them printed all the time and they are in many of the old cookbooks I have. I don't measure when I make my cornbread, I do it the way they did as I was growing up. I have made it so many times and when you do you just know what the batter should look like and that is the way I cook most of the time. But these are the recipes that I gauge what I make around. The first one is the best I think. I don't like using flour in cornbread, but some people prefer it so I have given you both recipes. Some southern recipes use sugar in their cornbread, but we never did around our house.
This is the cornbread recipe used in the above Chicken and Dressing Recipe.
4 Tbsp. bacon drippings
1 1/2 c. corn meal
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/4 c. buttermilk
This cornbread is best baked in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet but if you don't have one, a Pyrex dish will do just fine. If you halve this recipe, use an 8-inch square dish; if not, use a 9x13-inch dish or pan.
Preheat oven to 400F.
Put the bacon drippings in your baking dish or skillet and let them melt while the oven is preheating and you're mixing up the batter.
Beat the eggs in a medium bowl until frothy. Add the corn meal, salt and baking soda, and stir to thoroughly combine. Add the buttermilk and stir well. Remove the hot pan from the oven. Swirl the pan to make sure it is coated with melted bacon drippings, and pour the bacon drippings into the batter. Stir well to combine.
Don't forget the cornmeal browning process (See my notes below) before you add your batter to your pan.
You sprinkle a small amount of cornmeal in your hot skillet and let it brown just a little, then pour your cornmeal batter in on top of that. This adds flavor and you have crispier bottom to the bread. We love this.
After you have browned your corn meal in your skillet, pour the batter into the pan and bake 25 to 30 minutes. Cornbread will begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.
If you want a finer cornbread, use this recipe, it has flour in it. I switch around and use both. The first recipe makes the best dressing to me, but I have made it using both cornbread recipes.
Buttermilk Cornbread (with Flour)
2 c. corn meal (white or yellow)
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 c. buttermilk
2 Tbsp. melted shortening or vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 450F. Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside. Combine beaten egg, buttermilk and vegetable oil. Combine cornmeal mixture with buttermilk mixture, stirring just enough to moisten. Pour into hot, well-greased 9- or 10-inch skillet or pan, muffin tins or corn stick molds. Bake about 15 minutes for muffins or corn sticks, and 20-25 minutes for pan or skillet. Cornbread will begin to pull away from sides.
Even though in some of the pictures it look a bit over done, it isn't. See the picture below.
I took a close up of it so you can see on top how moist the top is and it is that way all the way through, just not runny. We like a firm but moist dressing and that is exactly what you get with this recipe. It is also so very flavorful. YUM!!!!!!
The browning of the cornbread adds a wonderful flavor to the dressing. I also do this to all my cornbread, since we light the darker, crispier crust. A lightly browned, the color most people have on their cornbread is pretty and great tasting, but it just won't add the additional flavor that is so great tasting in dressing or even a cornbread salad. The crust needs to be dark brown, don't burn it, but the darkest brown you can achieve.
Cornmeal browning process: Before you add your batter to your pan, hopefully you are using a cast iron skillet to make your cornbread. you get your skillet very hot in the oven, never pour cornmeal batter into a cold skillet. Into your hot skillet, place your bacon drippings, oil, butter, Crisco, or a combination of two of them. I use bacon grease and butter. You want enough of these added so that when you pour in your batter it comes up over the top of the batter just a little.( This gives you a beautiful crust for the bottom and sides, with it being a little lighter in color on the top. ) To the bacon grease and butter, which has gotten hot, you sprinkle a small amount of cornmeal all over the top. Let it brown just a little, and all come to a very bubbly, almost boiling point, then pour your cornmeal batter in on top of that. This adds flavor and produces a beautiful color to the finished crust and also gives you have crispier bottom to your corn bread. Bake the cornbread as directed. When done it will feel firm to the touch and begin to pull away from the sides of the pan or skillet.
Grits and Magnolias Chicken 'N' Dumpflakes"
4 chicken breasts ( I use skinless and deboned )
1 can chicken broth (large cans)
1 onion (rough cut)
2 sticks of celery or 1 c. (chopped)
1 can of pet evaporated milk
2 carrots ( sliced diagonaaly)
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper
Place your chicken into dutch oven pot. Add enough water in pot to cover chicken. Add onions, carrots, bay leaf, salt, pepper and celery and cook for 30 min on medium high (sorta a medium rolling boil). Remove chicken breast and cut into very large pieces, removing any bones and skin, if you didn't before you began to cook them. Place them back into the pot.
To the liquid alread there, add 1 can pet milk and 1 can chicken broth to your pot.
Time to make your dumplins:
1 1/2 c. self rising flour
1/8 c. cooking oil or 2 Tblsp. crisco
enough pet milk to make a fairly stiff dough
1/4 c. chives
pinch of cinnamon
wee bit, (very small pinch) of freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
more salt if needed, add it to your taste
Mix until combined. Your dough will be rather stiff.
Drop dough by tablespoon fulls into your pot. Use all the dough. Your pot will be full of dumplins. Lay a piece of aluminum foil loosely over the top of your pot and turn down on very low and simmer 20 min. Now your dumplins are done and steamed.
Here is the "flake" part of the dumplins. Add 1/2 cup of instant potato flakes. Mix in well and cook for 3 min. If not thick enough, add an additional 1/2 c. of potato flakes and cook for 5 more minutes, until your broth for you dumplins is a fairly thick consistency. The flakes work so great to thicken up your dumplins and while adding another layer of flavor.
***Be sure to remove bay leaves before serving.
This really is a great dish. Enjoy.